Summer 1998

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"Science is nothing but perception."
Plato

Letter from the Editor

Only 49,940 to Go!
The May issue of Sky & Telescope, editor Leif Robinson "pontificates" about the number of pages they have published. Over a period of 56 years they have printed over 50,000 pages! That's a lot of trees. My congratulations go out to the folks at S&T for reaching such an auspicious milestone, as well as the wonderful job they do on their fine publication.

With this issue, theWoman Astronomer has published 60 pages in five issues. In order to reach a 50,000 page milestone, that means we have only 49,940 pages, and probably a lot more than 56 years, to go. All I can say to those numbers is, it's good to have goals.

Leif also mentions in his letter the "societal enigma" that astronomy faces, particularly in amateur astronomy. He notes that the number of professional women astronomers has "swelled dramatically," yet the amateur community has not seen a comparable influx of "women, minorities, and underprivileged persons" into its ranks. He also commends the efforts of those trying to make a difference, trying to make a change in a hobby which has been a "fraternity of white, middle-aged males making big bucks."

When solving a problem, the first step is identifying the problem. The next step is coming up with solutions to solve the problem, yet Leif offers nothing but his "sincere hope" that things will be different by 2003." He has the power as editor of a four-color glossy magazine in which to help solve this issue, or at least make a meaningful contribution. Personally, I'd like to read more in the next 50,000 pages of S&T about the softer side of astronomy and how this science/hobby relates to me as a woman.

If astronomy is going to "percolate into new markets," it has to actively target those markets. (Sorry, but a woman in a telescope ad just doesn't cut it.) And if women are to embrace amateur astronomy and feel comfortable at being "intellectually challenged," the mentality of a "fraternity" needs to go away.

We can all do our part, like theWoman Astronomer is trying to do, no matter how small the effort. All of us must do our part as we move into the next century and on to new frontiers. Our success as a society in the new millennium depends on it.

How about it, Leif? What can you do?

Debra L. Davis

 

Updated 01.01.2008
theWoman Astronomer 2001-2008

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