Brazilian Women in Physics

Date: 2008
Owner: Academia Brasileira de Ciencias
Source Type: Images

Scientists at an event honoring women in Brazilian science. Female physicists are still uncommon in Brazil and the rest of Latin America despite the fact that women are well represented in many other sciences: about 46% of all Latin American scientists are women while the world average is only 27%. In Brazil, all but a handful of the top physics positions at universities and grant agencies are held by men, making decisions as to who receives promotions and funding reliant on an almost exclusively male point of view. Nevertheless, some female physicists have earned national and international recognition for their work. Belita Koiller, a full professor of physics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, won a 2005 UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science, and Cultural Organization) award for her theoretical research on the behavior of electrons in glass and other disordered materials. Koiller was also the first woman admitted to the Brazilian Academy of Science. Patricia Wieland is a nuclear physicist who served as the Director of Nuclear Installations for the Brazilian Energy commission and Prof. Elisa Baggio-Saitovich is the former president of the Brazilian Physics Society. Yet, despite these successes, only 11% of students in Brazilian postgraduate physics programs today are women.