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Why Did You Decide on a PhD in Astronomy and not Physics?

18 Mar 2015, 18:44 UTC
Why Did You Decide on a PhD in Astronomy and not Physics?
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Data from the American Institute of Physics indicate that the fraction of PhDs awarded to women is twiceas high in astronomy as in physics. Similar disparities exist at other levels. Note the difference in scales!When thinking about the participation of women in astronomy, one of the most intriguing questions is why the percentage of women at each level is much higher in astronomy than physics*. Some readers of this blog may feel that there are enormous differences between the culture of astronomy and the culture of physics, and these cultural differences lead to different rates of participation by women. But, from a distant and broad perspective, it would difficult to identify two academic disciplines that share more in common while still, in many cases, having separate departments: Most astronomers (at least those educated in the U.S.) completed an undergraduate degree in physics, or at least have completed many of the same courses as physics majors. The core methodology of the two disciplines are very similar. The requirements for admission to graduate school are nearly identical; for example, nearly all U.S. PhD programs in astronomy require the Physics GRE and advanced coursework in physics and math.Despite this, the fractional participation of ...

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