Summer 1997

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Letter from the Editor

Premier Issue
Beginnings are of great interest to astronomers. Beginnings inspire intriguing answers to seemingly simple questions. Where did "it" all start? Where will "it" end? And, of course, what of the process along the way?

The premier issue you hold in your hands could be considered the beginning of theWoman Astronomer. That, however, is not entirely correct; it's been in the making for quite a while. That's the thing about beginnings, it's sometimes difficult to pinpoint when they start.

Nevertheless, it's the journey, and questions along the way, that makes the process of discovery so exciting. One of the first questions asked on the journey of theWoman Astronomer was, why a publication about women astronomers? The answer to that lies in another question. Why are there so few women astronomers, professional and amateur?

That answer lies in the broader arena of science and math, particularly during the formative years of a girl's life. Experts give five reasons for the low number of girls and women pursuing science and math:

  1. Self-esteem ("I can't do science and math.")
  2. Teaching methods (gender bias)
  3. General perception of math and science ("It's not feminine.")
  4. Unable to apply to their own lives
  5. And lack of role models

In comes theWoman Astronomer, with aspirations of addressing the last two items above. This publication is about the everyday, and not so everyday, lives of women astronomers. It is the aim of this publication to encourage and inspire, to educate and motivate women, men, girls and boys of the wonders of astronomy through the inspirational lives of women astronomers.

And, yes, there is a personal agenda as well __ to do my share of promoting astronomy and the excitement of the journey this promises to be.

So, where does this all lead to? Well, as any astronomer knows, endings are as difficult to pinpoint as beginnings.

Debra L. Davis

 

Updated 01.01.2008
theWoman Astronomer 2001-2008

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