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Careers for Women
in the
PHYSICAL
SCIENCES




Women's Bureau Bulletin 270

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
James P. Mitchell, Secretary
WOMEN'S BUREAU
Mrs. Alice K. Leopold, Director
Washington, D.C.

1959

Note
This report and two others, on employment opportunities
for women in engineering and in mathematics and statistics,
replace Women’s Bureau reports on the same subjects in an
earlier series. Additional information on the biological sci­
ences, engineering, the social sciences, and technicians may be
found in the current edition of the Occupational Outlook
Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s
Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington 25, D.C. Price 35 cents




Foreword
The acute need for qualified scientists today makes these fields
attractive as lifetime careers for women. Because of this, the
Women’s Bureau has undertaken to review the kinds of work women
are already doing in the physical sciences, some of their contributions,
and the employment prospects for them. The rapid growth of the
demand for such scientists has resulted in shortages in personnel to
fill many openings in industry, government, and classrooms. As a
result, this is a favorable time for young women with the required
capabilities to prepare for scientific work.
Today women represent a small proportion of scientists. It is
especially important for the woman who wishes to become a successful
scientist to obtain thorough training, including graduate education in
her specialty. This report discusses the basic preparation recom­
mended for a scientific career, the job outlook in a few major scientific
fields of interest to women, the kinds of work for which women
scientists may prepare, and the rewards such work offers. It analyzes
data from the National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel
on the employment, education, types of work, and characteristics of
women scientists.
While the discussion of each of the selected sciences is necessarily
brief and in no sense exhaustive, it is our hope that it will be suffi­
ciently descriptive to provoke further inquiry and to indicate possible
avenues for exploration on the part of counselors, parents and young
women of ability. Women have achieved success and made valuable
contributions to science in the past and—with their own special tal­
ents, the proper training, and increasing public encouragement—will
make greater contributions to the scientific progress of our Nation
in the future.
Alice K. Leopold,
Director. Women's Bureau.




iii

Acknowledgments
This report, which supersedes earlier Women’s Bureau reports on
these fields, was prepared by Mildred S. Barber, Evelyn S. Spiro, and
Agnes W. Mitchell under the general direction of Stella P. Manor,
Chief of the Division of Program Planning, Analysis, and Reports
in the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor.
The National Science Foundation (an agency of the Federal Gov­
ernment), through its National Register of Scientific and Technical
Personnel, made valuable contributions to this publication by pro­
viding detailed tabulations of the characteristics of women scientists
who responded to the 1954-55 Register.
Information collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in con­
nection with the Occupational Outlook program was also very helpful,
particularly with regard to estimates of the number of scientists.
Special acknowledgment is due each of the scientific societies repre­
sented, as well as outstanding individual women members of these
societies, for their review of the manuscript. Valuable suggestions
were made by the American Astronomical Society, American (Chem­
ical Society, American Geological Institute, American Meteorological
Society, and American Institute of Physics, as well as by representa­
tives of the National Science Foundation, and of Sigma Delta Epsilon
(Graduate Women’s Scientific Fraternity).
For the pictures of women scientists, some of which were photo­
graphed especially for this bulletin, the Women’s Bureau is indebted
to the folloAving:
Atomic Energy Commission (pp. 15,30).
Atlantic Research Corp. (p. 21).
Gull Oil Co. (p. 23).
National Bureau of Standards, U.S. Department of Commerce (pp. 10,
26, 31).
Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (p. 37).
U.S. Naval Observatory (pp. vi, 44, 45).
U.S. Navy (p.57).
Weather Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce (p. 50).
Westinghouse Electric Corp. (pp. 6, 7, 20).
IV




Contents
Science and womanpower
The need for women scientists
Degrees in science for women___ ___________________________
Number of women scientists
Preparing for a career
Education ____
Scholarships and other financial aid
13
Extracurricular interests_____________________________
Finding employment___
_.. ______________________ ___________
Earnings and other work factors
17
Chemistry__________________
Specialties in chemistry ___________________________________________
Women in chemistry____
Earnings and other work factors
24
Job possibilities _ _ _
Physics-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Demand for physicists
26
Specialties in physics. . _
Women physicists______
Geology------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Specialties in geology
Women geologists at work _______________
Preparation_ _______
_
Earnings and hours of work
40
Astronomy
________________________
Importance of astronomy_______________________
Observatories
42
Women astronomers at work___ _
Outlook for astronomers. ___ _
Meteorology
51
Importance and uses of meteorology
51
Specialties in meteorology
52
Women in meteorology_____________________________________________
Hours of work.
___________________ _
___________
For prospective women scientists
58
Women have the abilities
58
Training is the key
58
Satisfactions and rewards________
Women scientists on the National Register of Scientific and Technical
Personnel_____________




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Science and
womanpower
The Need for Women Scientists
In April 1956, President Eisenhower established a Committee on
Scientists and Engineers to “foster the development of more highly
qualified technological manpower.” In the Committee’s Second
Interim Report to the President on October 4, 1957, the following
statements appear:
. . . Obviously, steps must be taken to break down employment barriers to
women in science, engineering, and the technician fields. Public education
programs of many varieties are needed to encourage young women to under­
take science and engineering studies and to ensure that they receive satis­
factory employment after training. Employment requirements and speci­
fications, job content, employment conditions, and environment need to be
reconsidered. Long established prejudices against women in engineering
and science need to be broken down not only among employers, supervisors,
and co-workers but among the women themselves.
In its publications and public statements, the Committee has pointed out
the advantage and, indeed, the necessity of developing the full potential
of the Nation’s womanpower qualified for scientific and technological
pursuits.

Clearly, the Nation needs qualified women scientists, and those women
who are interested and have the capacity should be encouraged to
consider careers in scientific fields.
In 1959, the American Council on Women in Science was estab­
lished by interested scientists from a variety of scientific organizaIn this modern day race toward the moon and planets, the sci­
ence of astronomy plays a decisive role, and roughly 15 percent
of our astronomers are women.




1

tions. The creation of this council with the objective of encouraging
the more extensive participation of women in science is dramatic
evidence of the urgent need for more scientists.
Many women have personal qualities of special value for scientific
work. Among these are an inquiring mind; imagination; and a pen­
chant for detail, for orderly, logical thinking, for precise description
and measurement, and for critical analysis of facts and theories.
The basic requirements common to all scientific fields are interest
and a mental capacity that can be developed through specialized
training to solve problems and search for a deeper understanding
of the nature of things.
So many different abilities and interests are called for in the vari­
ous sciences and specializations within the sciences that there are
activities for practically everyone who has sufficient motivation and
intelligence. Some scientists choose academic life; others prefer tf>
work for private industry; while still others prefer working for
government. Some desire regular work schedules in an office or
laboratory, and others prefer assignments which require travel.
Some scientists like to do the planning or to work by themselves,
while others offer their best contributions when part of a team. The
need has been pointed out for “the observer, the gatherer of facts,
the experimenter, the statistician, the theorist, the classifier, the
technical expert, the interpreter, the critic, the teacher, the writer. 1
At a meeting of representatives of women’s colleges, industry, gov­
ernment, and educational and medical institutions,2 the persistence of
certain outmoded conceptions (such as the view that it is not feminine
to study science) was cited as one of the greatest hindrances to edu­
cating women in scientific fields. The conference recognized the
cultural values gained by women who study the physical sciences and
held that such disciplines sharpen the student’s logical thinking. It
was further pointed out that this kind of training leads to an under­
standing of the physical world and to a constructive curiosity as to
the cause and effect of the economic, political, and social developments.
The conference observed that young women today may combine
both marriage and career and need not face a choice between them.
Many women work before marriage and often for a period thereafter,
and a large number resume their careers when their children enter
1 Quoted by Russell B. Stevens in Career Opportunities in Biology. Row, Peterson &
Co., Evanston, 111. 1956.
2 Conference on The Role of Women’s Colleges in the Physical Sciences held at Bryn
Mawr, Pa., June 17—18, 1954.

2




school or at some later time. A further point made was that even if
a married woman does not return to work, her previous employment
will have helped her become a more alert citizen, a more understanding
wife, a more capable mother, and a more interesting individual. More­
over, many women marry men in their own fields of endeavor and
undoubtedly enhance the scientific contributions of their husbands.

Degrees in Science for Women
The last 5 years have shown a steady rise in the number of women
receiving degrees in physical sciences, following a year-by-year decline
for at least 5 years prior. Over the entire period 1947-48 through
1957-58, the total number of degrees granted to women was rising
almost steadily. (See tablet.)
The following table provides detailed information on the year-by­
year changes in degrees granted to women since 1948.
Table 1.—Degrees Granted

to

Women, 1947-48 Through 1957-58

[All levels]
All fields
Academic year
Total degrees

1957-58
1956-57______________
1955-56________________
1954-55_____ _
1953-54_____________
1952-53______________
1951-52.__
1950-51 ____
1949-50_____
1948-49.__ .
1947-48.__

145,
139,
132,
124,
124,
124,
125,
124,
121,
118,
110,

126
171
639
089
871
863
605
584
540
537
168

Physical sciences 1

Percent
change
from
previous
year
+4
+5
+7
-1
(2)
-1
+1
+3
+3
+8

Total degrees

2,
1,
1,
1,
1,
1,
1,
1,
2,
2,
2,

006
905
789
641
511
503
613
710
051
344
696

Percent
change
from
previous
year
+5
+6
+9
+9
+1
-7
-6
-17
-13
-13

1 Certain classification changes have been made since 1947-48 when the U.S. Office of Education began
publishing its series of annual reports on earned degrees. Limited data on earned degrees published prior
to that time are not comparable with annual data for the past 10 years. In particular, the 1955-56 survey
expanded the definition of “education” to include science education as well as art, business, and nursing
education. As a result, beginning in 1956, some recipients of degrees previously classified as science majors
were classified as education majors.
2 Less than 1 percent change.
Source: U.S. Department of Health, BMucation, and Welfare, Office of Education. Annual reports
for the academic years 1947-48 through 1957-58, Earned Degrees Conferred by Higher Educational Insti­
tutions.
511603 O—59




2

3

Beginning in 1953-54, there was a very slight rise in the number of
degrees granted to women in the physical sciences. In every year
since then, however, the rate of increase in degrees granted to women
in the physical sicences has exceeded that for degrees in all fields.
Thus, the number of degrees in physical sciences being granted to
women today is higher than at any time during the past decade, except
for the postwar years. The figures for 1948 through 1950 reflected,
in part, the relatively large numbers of young women who were en­
couraged during the war years to enter scientific, engineering, and
technical fields.
During the school year ending in June 1958, 6,165 women received
degrees in science, of which 2,006 wrere in the physical sciences.
More than 400 were in general science. The majority—3,724—
were in the biological sciences, however, which have traditionally at­
tracted large numbers of women. Less than 5 percent of all women
college graduates majored in science—as compared with 10 percent of
men graduates. In the five fields of physical science covered in this
report, 1,565 women received a bachelor's degree; 215 received a
master’s degree; and 65 received a doctor’s degree.
The following table provides details on degrees in science granted
to women during the school year 1957-58, with each of the fields
covered in this report separately identified. In almost every instance
the number exceeds that for 1956-57.
Table 2.—Science Decrees Granted

Total

Selected sciences

Total

Biological sciences-

Women, 1957-58

Bachelor’s
degree

Master’s
degree

Doctor’s
degree

6, 165
2, 006
13

.

Physical sciences
Astronomy
.
Chemistry
Geology
---Meteorology
Physics___
...
„
Physical sciences 1
__

to

-

______

5, 247

714

204

1, 669

271

66
4

1, 521
128
5
178
161

1,

8
305

167

104
4
144
104

56

1

3, 724
435

3, 182
396

404
39

138

1
21
1
25

49
3
9

1 Not elsewhere classified.
„
.
Includes graduates specializing in the physical and biological sciences but without specific major.
Source: U.S. Department of Health. Education, and Welfare, Office of Education. Earned Degrees
Conferred by Higher Educational Institutions, 1957-58.
2

By far the majority of women physical science graduates majored
in chemistry, and the largest number of women scientists were em­
4




ployed in this field. It would appear that the women who prepare
themselves for careers in science usually find employment in the field
of their choice. With the current emphasis on science and greater
recognition of the Nation’s need to utilize fully all of our scientific
talent, women may find increasing opportunity in a wider variety of
sciences.
Of course, not all women graduates who major in science enter em­
ployment as scientists immediately after graduation. Some marry;
some enter graduate school; and some find employment in fields other
than science. A 1958 survey representing almost 88,000 women re­
ceiving bachelor’s degrees in June 1957 was conducted by the
Women’s Bureau in cooperation with the National Vocational Guid­
ance Association. Employment status was reported for an estimated
1,500 women graduates with a major in the physical sciences. Of
these, 71 percent were employed 6 months after graduation; 21 per­
cent were continuing their schooling; 1 percent were still seeking work;
and 7 percent were neither employed, in school, nor seeking work.
Among the employed, 43 percent were working as chemists; 15 per­
cent were in biology, primarily as biological technicians; 15 percent
were teaching; and the remainder were office workers or engaged
in mathematics or some other professional work.
Recent college enrollment figures show that the prospects for con­
tinued growth in the study of sciences are encouraging. According
to the second annual survey of third-year college students majoring
in science or mathematics, a substantial gain—nearly 25 percent—
was reported by the U.S. Office of Education for women majoring in
a general science program, from November 1957 to November 1958.
More modest advances in this same period were recorded for women
in the physical sciences (8 percent) and in the biological sciences
(5 percent). Assuming that 80 to 90 percent of these third-year
women science students complete their undergraduate studies, more
than 6,500 bachelor’s degrees in science will be granted to women in
1959-60. This estimate compares with about 5,200 bachelor’s degrees
in science granted to women in 1957-58.

Number of Women Scientists
While the actual number of women scientists in each of the five
physical sciences covered in this report is not known, estimates for
1958 indicate that about 14,000 women (of a total of better than
170,000 scientists) are found in these five fields: namely, astronomy,
chemistry, geology, meteorology, and physics.




5

An atomic scientist from a leading industrial laboratory uses a giant
four million volt atom smasher to search for the unknown forces that
hold matter together.

Among the physical scientists (both men and women), chemists
are the most numerous. In the case of women, the vast majority—■
almost 90 percent—are chemists. Nevertheless, some women are
found in all these fields. (See p. 8.)
Precise counts of the number of scientists are very difficult to obtain
for a number of reasons. Among them is the fact that many scientists
hold more than one degree at the same educational level, with a differ­
6




ent field of major for each degree, or hold degrees at advanced levels
in different major fields. For example, a scientist may hold the
bachelor’s degree in biology and also in chemistry; or, she may
hold a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in astron­
omy, and a Ph. D. in physics. As a result, such a person may be em­
ployed in one of these specialties but report herself as a specialist
in another, or may be active in the professional society for one field
and not the other. Furthermore, she may transfer her interest and
employment from one field to another. Thus, some scientists who
are trained in one field of specialization are actively engaged in a
Making millionth-of-an-inch films from aluminum foil for experimental
electronic tubes is one of the many types of laboratory work for women.


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related field, illustrating the interrelationship between several scien­
tific fields and, to some extent, the degree to which mathematics, for
example, is basic to all of these fields.
Employers use a variety of classifications and titles for the same
type of work, and some science teachers (particularly those in second­
ary schools) identify themselves as teachers rather than scientists. •
The estimates provided in the following summary are based pri­
marily on information supplied by professional societies in each of the
fields specified. Some inaccuracies may occur in these figures, also,
because not all scientists are members of a professional association, and
others belong to more than one association. In general, however, with
the possible exception of chemists, these estimates are likely to be
understated rather than overstated, particularly for the women.
Estimated
total

Scientific specialty

Astronomers _
Chemists___
Geologists__
Meteorologists
Physicists---

____

____

___________________

______________________________
__

__

_____________________________

__

__

_

___________________________

___________ ____________________

Estimated
number
of women

500
120,000
14,000

75
12, 000
400

6,000

100

30, 000

000

Note.—Estimates of the total number of scientists in each specialty were provided by

the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Estimates of the number of women scientists have been
derived by applying estimates of the percentage of women in each field to the totals.

Women’s participation in scientific work goes beyond what these
estimates would indicate, of course, as evidenced by the fact that
large numbers of women are found in other specialties which are
very closely allied to science. For example, medical technology, nurs­
ing, dietetics, and medical therapy are fields of applied science in
which many thousands of women are employed. And, as previously
mentioned, there are many women teachers of science in secondary
schools who are not counted among scientists. Thus, women’s interest
in science is illustrated in many of the careers which they pursue.
It is hoped that, with more encouragement and opportunity, a greater
number of women will seek careers in the theoretical or pure sciences.

8




Preparing
for a career
Science is primarily a quest for new knowledge. The scientist is
interested in studying the basic laws which govern the operation of
nature and in learning thereby to assist in increasing the health, com­
fort, security, and enlightenment of mankind.
Today, the rapid accumulation of scientific knowledge is such that
a thorough educational preparation is necessary for a career. Edu­
cation can provide a broad foundation for understanding new de­
velopments, training in the use of scientific methods, and competency
in one or more specializations in the chosen field. Even genius cannot
take the place of these three essentials, which must be acquired through
years of concentrated training.

Education
The bachelor’s degree with a major in a particular field of science
is considered the minimum requirement for entry jobs in the sciences.
Because of the general trend toward higher levels of education in
all the sciences, however, even holders of the bachelor’s degree em­
ployed as computers, data analysts, laboratory workers, assistants
to scientists doing original work, or technicians, may be given routine
duties. As a result, many science graduates who obtain beginning
jobs immediately after receiving the bachelor’s degree continue to
study at night in order to qualify for the master’s or doctor’s degree.
Other arrangements designed to help young scientists obtain advanced
degrees include part-time or full-time jobs that permit the employee
to take daytime courses and to make up lost work hours during
evenings and weekends.
For many positions, especially those in college teaching, advanced
degrees are preferred for entry by beginners and required for ad­
a ancement. In a sense, women scientists are still pioneering in fields
in which men predominate and, therefore, they should be sure that
their training is at least the equivalent of, if not better than, that




9

Here a student trainee is using a device to
measure and record the strength of small
diameter wire.

10




]

i

of their male counterparts. For women, therefore, degrees beyond
the bachelor’s level are especially important. Advanced degrees to­
gether with research experience at the graduate level provide the best
evidence of scientific competency.
IN HIGH SCHOOL

High school students who are attracted to a scientific career should
consult their school counselor to determine college-entrance require­
ments and to make the proper selection of secondary school subjects.
Preparation in high school is important both for college entrance and
as the foundation for further study at undergraduate and graduate
levels.
With the help of the high school counselor and college catalogs,
girls who plan a career in the physical sciences can select subjects
which will prepare them for college work. Good high school prepa­
ration includes two science courses (chemistry, physics, biology), at
least 3 years of mathematics, and a background of study in English,
foreign languages, and social studies. A course in technical drawing
is also desirable. Although certain applicants may be admitted to
college if their secondary education varies from this pattern, basic
mathematics and science courses are essential to the student who in­
tends to major in science.
School counselors can also help in the choice of a college, since they
usually have ready access to information about many different schools.
The individual student wTill probably want to consider a number of dif­
ferent colleges and apply for admission to several of them before
making a final choice. Some colleges recommend that applications for
admission be made before the beginning of the senior year in high
school in order to obtain an early decision about admission. A collegeboard aptitude test may also be given by the college to promising
students. If the results are satisfactory, admission then depends upon
the high school record. Since some colleges limit the number of stu­
dents admitted to the first-year class, only students with better-thanaverage records and recommendations may be accepted.
IN COLLEGE

College programs for the bachelor’s degree in science vary some­
what, depending largely upon the science major selected by the indi­
vidual student. Considerable overlap exists among the various
sciences, and in recent years new fields have developed which combine
branches of two or more sciences, astrophysics, for example, and geo511603 0—59------ 3




11

physics. Because scientists are increasingly using knowledge gained
from scientific fields outside their own specialty, it is generally recom­
mended that undergraduate students obtain the broadest possible
training in all branches of their chosen science and in related sciences.
Common to all physical and biological sciences, however, is the need
for a comprehensive grasp of mathematics and familiarity with labor­
atory routine. Basic courses in chemistry, physics, and biology are
also generally prescribed.
The typical college curriculum in science calls for a total of some
120 semester hours for the 4 years of undergraduate study, of which
one-fourth (about 30 semester hours) are concentrated in the branch
of science chosen by the student as a major. Another fourth of the
work is usually in related sciences and mathematics, while the re­
maining half includes English, foreign languages, history, and the
social sciences.
Courses outside the physical and biological sciences ai‘e important
not only for broadening the individual’s cultural background but for
practical considerations as well. Knowledge of foreign languages
enables scientists to read foreign scientific literature and to work in
other countries and also to fulfill requirements for graduate degrees.
The social sciences are important in preparing them for possible future
advancement to supervisory or administrative positions. Most im­
portant, however, is the mastery of English, which is a basic tool of all
professional and scientific endeavor. Without it, scientists may find
themselves handicapped by inability to communicate effectively.
There is a critical need in most jobs for clear expression, not only in
speaking but for proper preparation of scientific papers and reports.
Therefore the value of a thorough grounding in English usage cannot
be overemphasized.
Students who are preparing to teach science or mathematics in sec­
ondary schools are required to supplement their science studies with
courses in education and with practice teaching in order to qualify for
teaching certificates. With the assistance of a faculty adviser, these
students select a curriculum which will meet teaching requirements in
the particular field of their choice. Advancement for the secondaryschool science teacher generally depends upon the acquisition of a
master’s degree.
The master’s degree is often the minimum requirement for college
or university teaching as well as for many research positions. Al­
though some students succeed in qualifying for it through 1 year of
full-time graduate work, many actually spend 2 years to complete the
requirements.
12




The doctor’s degree, which is preferred for college teaching and
highly desirable if not necessary for advancement, usually requires
at least 3 full years of university study beyond the baccalaureate.
Many scientists take a longer time to obtain the doctorate by com­
bining or alternating employment with formal education.
A clue to the demand and supply situation for new secondaryschool teachers of general science, chemistry, and physics is provided
in a study published by the National Education Association in 1959.
In the areas covered by the study (30 States and the District of
Columbia), the number of new college graduates prepared to teach
physics was 54 percent below the number of new physics teachers
hired by secondary schools in September 1958. The number prepared
to teach general science was 38 percent below the number of new hires
in that subject; the number prepared to teach chemistry was 22
percent below the corresponding demand. The study covered 2,984
new science teachers hired by secondary schools in September 1958.
It showed that in order to fill positions for science teachers the schools
had to find additional teachers from sources other than the new
graduates.

Scholarships and Other Financial Aid
There are many ways in which the young woman interested in a
science degree can obtain financial assistance or help herself by earning
money outside school hours. Scholarships and other monetary aids
are available from both public and private sources.
President Eisenhower in his legislative program for 1958 requested
the Congress to authorize funds for the States for the improvement
of instruction in sciences, mathematics, and foreign languages, for the
identification and encouragement of able students, and for college
fellowships and loans. In response to this request, the Congress passed
the National Defense Education Act of 1958, which was signed by
the President in September 1958.
A 195T survey of business firms revealed that one-third of the
companies employing more than 1,000 workers and one-seventh of
those employing 1,000 or fewer workers award one or more scholar­
ships annually. Fewer than half of the firms restrict the awards to
employees or their children. Awards range from $300 to $1,000
a year, with the largest number at $500. Most of them are renewable
if the student’s grades are satisfactory. A majority of the firms have
tuition-aid programs for employees attending school on their own time.




13

Most of them require that the courses be job-related and that the
student attain a certain grade for the course. Some firms offer
fellowships, and some grant funds for research projects.
Almost every college and university has funds for scholarships or
loans to help the undergraduate student. Financial aid is also ex­
tensively available to graduate students in the sciences, and the best
qualified students usually succeed in defraying the cost of education,
most commonly through teaching assist ant ships.
Many local clubs affiliated with national women’s organizations
provide assistance to promising local students.
The summer months offer an opportunity for some college students
to earn money and to gain work experience. Some universities and
private companies employ promising science students in their labora­
tories and plants during the summer. Such work opportunities permit
students to become familiar with scientific work, to benefit from asso­
ciation with the professional scientists who supervise their work, and
to evaluate their aptitudes and interests in the field, as well as to earn
money to help finance their education. The student may work as a
laboratory assistant, a computer aide, a statistical clerk, an aide in a
museum, a nature counselor at a summer camp, or a helper in a green­
house or on a scientifically operated farm, to mention just a few job
possibilities.
The Federal Government also has inaugurated a program that
permits many of its agencies to hire high school and college students
for successive summers throughout their course of study. These
student assistants or trainees are assigned to jobs in their field of vo­
cational interest, under the guidance of experienced professional and
technical personnel.

Extracurricular Interests
A number of study programs for high school science students are
offered by universities and other organizations during the summer
months. For example, one university runs a 2-week summer session
for 80 high school pupils from the 9th through the 12th grades. Stu­
dents take part in laboratory and field activities in the natural sciences.
Another program provides for a 10-week summer session limited to
25 promising students who have had at least one course in biology.
Research techniques and methods are taught. Cooperative work­
training and apprentice activities for students are provided for by
some local community groups during the summer months.
14




-tj§0

ift ;

A young researcher examines the microscopic structure
of a mounted uranium specimen on the metallograph.

Among other activities of interest to science students are science
clubs, bird or wild-life study, amateur radio stations, scientific jour­
nals 01 books, and visits with scientists. Visits to laboratories, State
extension stations, observatories, weather stations, museums of natural
history and technology, and to scientific departments of all kinds are
another instructive type of activity for prospective scientists.
The high school girl who is interested in science may become a mem­
ber of one of the Science Clubs of America, affiliated with Science
Service, Inc. In 1959, there were nearly 25,000 such clubs. If none




15

is available in the community, a club can be organized by a sponsor
or teacher in any grade who requests material from headquarters. In­
formation about such organizations can be obtained from the Science
Clubs of America, 1719 N Street, NW., Washington 6, T).C. Science
Service, Inc., of the same address, is the parent organization, a non­
profit organization which sponsors science fairs for high school stu­
dents. The students develop science projects which are displayed at
these fairs. Scholarships, prizes, and trips are awarded to the winners.
Outstanding projects are sent on to a national fair. Finalists may
receive additional awards. A Science Talent Search is also open each
year to all high school seniors. Winners are awarded scholarships.
Any high school principal or teacher may request copies of the exam­
ination by writing to Science Talent Search at the address given above.
The program of the Future Scientists of America Foundation (of
the National Science Teachers Association), with headquarters at
1201 16th Street, NW., Washington 6, D.C., is another activity for
high school students interested in science. This organization spon­
sors an annual contest, known as the Science Achievement Awards,
in which science students in junior or senior high schools all over
the country enter their science projects. In 1957, over 30,000 boys
and girls entered the contest, and 2,941 submitted completed projects.
A judging team of science teachers and scientists chose the 140 win­
ners, who were awarded United States savings bonds in denominations
ranging from $25 to $100, paid for by the American Society for
Metals. In addition to those receiving the bonds, some entrants were
awarded honorable-mention certificates. That girls as well as boys
are successful in this program is indicated by the fact that 28 of the
140 winners in 1957 were girls. Of the 20 highest award winners,
who received $100 savings bonds, 7 were girls. The current year’s
program (1959) included 220 such awards, totaling about $14,000.
Reports of the projects, written by the students themselves, are pub­
lished in a magazine entitled “Tomorrow’s Scientists.”

Employment
Many employers send representatives directly to college campuses
to recruit scientific talent. Interviews with prospective graduates,
both men and women, are arranged under the supervision of college
authorities. Frequently, students have positions awaiting them upon
graduation.
Professional societies, college placement bureaus, and individual
faculty members receive many requests for names of science gradu­
16




ates; and, of course, applications for employment may be made di­
rectly to personnel offices of large companies employing scientists.
Those interested in working for the Federal Government may apply
at the nearest office of the U.S. Civil Service Commission. (Any post
office can supply a list of such offices.) The prospective science
teacher may apply directly to the school of her choice.
State Employment Service offices, affiliated with the U.S. Employ­
ment Service, provide placement services for professional and tech­
nical workers without charge to the applicant. Information about
these services may be obtained through local public employment
offices.
Of a sample representing nearly GOO employed women chemists who
had received their bachelor’s degrees in June 1957, surveyed about 6
months later by the Women's Bureau and the National Vocational
Guidance Association (N.V.G.A.), 50 percent reported that they had
found their jobs through their college placement bureau or college
professor; 36 percent, through direct application; 6 percent, through
newspaper advertisements; 5 percent, through private employment
agencies; and 2 percent, through family or friends.

Earnings and Other Work Factors
HOURS

For most scientists in both government and industry, the 40-hour
week is standard. In teaching, although actual classroom hours may
be shorter and vacations longer, preparation for lectures and keeping
up with current scientific developments consume additional time. In
research, field assignments may involve irregular hours and varied
locations.
EARNINGS AND OTHER BENEFITS

Salaries have been advancing rapidly for most scientists, both men
and women. It is expected that earnings, along with prestige, will
continue to rise with the emphasis on the Nation’s need for scientific
progress.
According to the survey of women college graduates mentioned
earlier, the best starting salaries for women graduated in June 1957
were received by those with physical science majors. For a sample
representing 970 women with a bachelor’s degree in a physical science,
the average annual salary 6 months after graduation was $4,509.




17

For the entire study, representing some 64,000 employed women
graduates, the average was $3,739.
The Federal Government has gradually raised entrance salaries
in various science classifications in order to attract more scientists to
Government service. By mid-1958, the entry salary for Federal Gov­
ernment scientists (men and women) without work experience was
$4,490 in grade GS-5 in astronomy, chemistry, geology, meteorology,
and physics. The starting rate of $4,490 was above that for profes­
sional workers in most other fields. Furthermore, the Federal De­
partments are authorized to hire beginning college graduates in
certain fields at almost a thousand dollars more a year (grade GS-7)
if their college records indicate superior qualifications.
In general, the minimum required by the Federal Government for
its beginning scientists is a college degree with a major in the ap­
propriate science; or an equivalent 4 years of progressive, professional
experience; or some combination of both. Higher salaries commen­
surate with higher grades are provided for additional experience
or graduate training. In 1954, the Federal Government paid women
scientists an average of $5,541 in physics, $5,426 in astronomy, $5,067
in chemistry, $4,937 in geology, and $4,749 in meteorology. As a re­
sult of a salary increase of 7.5 percent, put into effect in 1955, and
another increase of 10 percent 214 years later, these average salaries
were about $1,000 higher in 1958.
College science professors and persons with considerable experience
in the Federal Government may attain salary levels of $15,000 or more,
while scientists in high administrative posts in industry may receive
as much as $50,000 a year. Although not many women scientists have
advanced to top executive positions up to the present, it is interesting
to note that a few women have achieved such distinction.
Many companies, especially the larger industrial firms, offer finan­
cial incentives in the form of tuition aid to encourage their employees
to take graduate training if they have not already done so, or to take
special courses on new developments in their field.
In addition to the tangible benefits of relatively high starting
salaries and possible future advancement, careers in the sciences offer
most professionals a personal satisfaction in their work, a chance to
learn and keep up with the latest discoveries in the field, and an op­
portunity to develop their highest capabilities. The scientist’s own
awareness that her work is useful to society is heightened by the recog­
nition and prestige accorded by the community.

18




Chemistry
Chemistry, the largest of all fields in the physical sciences, employs
more women than any other of the scientific fields covered in this
report. It is estimated that in 1958 there were about 120,000 chem­
ists in the country, of whom some 12,000 were women.
Chemistry has been described as the science that deals with the
composition of substances and their physical and chemical transfor­
mation ; the way they react to each other; the chemical processes re­
quired to obtain them from nature or produce them synthetically;
and the ways in which they can be put to practical use.

Specialties in Chemistry
Because of the vast scope of this science, chemists usually spe­
cialize in one of its five main branches; namely, organic, inorganic,
physical, or analytical chemistry; or biochemistry. Furthermore,
they often specialize in a subdivision of one of those branches, such as
spectroscopy, ceramics, detergents, atomic and nuclear structure, food
chemistry, or pharmaceutical chemistry. A brief description of the
specialties in the field of chemistry as summed up in the Occupational
Outlook Handbook follows:
Organic chemists usually deal with carbon compounds—substances
derived chiefly from animal and vegetable matter. Inorganic chem­
ists are concerned chiefly with compounds of minerals and metals, but
they may also work with a few substances containing carbon, such as
carbonates and carbides. Physical chemists study the quantitative
relationships between the chemical and physical properties of both
organic and inorganic substances; for example, how these substances
are affected by electricity, pressure, heat, and light. Analytical chem­
ists determine the exact chemical composition of substances, thereby
providing controls for all types of chemical operations. Biochemists
are concerned with such chemical reactions as occur in plants and
511603 0-59-




4

19

f.... I

This scientist, now studying for a Ph. D. degree in physical nuclear
chemistry, helped in developing the world’s first atomic powered
submarine.

animals (for example, the effects of food or chemicals on plant and
animal tissues) and with the influence of chemicals on life processes.
Some chemists specialize in a particular industry or product, such
as cosmetics or fibers. Such specialization in many instances requires
a knowledge of more than one branch of chemistry.

Women in Chemistry
A large proportion of women chemists are employed in private
industry. Of those who responded to the National Register of Scien­
tific and Technical Personnel, some 40 percent were in private indus­
try; almost as many were employed in the higher education field; and
the remaining 22 percent were divided about equally between govern­
ment and nonprofit foundations. More than one-half of those who
held a Ph. D., however, were in colleges and universities where they
were engaged in both teaching and research.
Nearly half of the women chemists on the 1954—55 Register re­
ported research as their primary activity, and about one-fifth reported
20




■ p 1

Women chemists work in a wide variety of activities. This one
specializes in solid propellant rocketry for a research and development
company.

teaching. Most of the remainder reported either inspection or tech­
nical writing. (Table 5C, page 65.) A 1955 survey by the American
Chemical Society indicated that about half of the women chemists
who were engaged in research were working on the development of
new and improved products and processes, while the remaining half
were working in basic research.
An association of companies in chemical processing reported in 1956
that the proportion of women on their chemical research staffs was
increasing. Almost half of the research staff of a leading cosmetics
company, and one-tenth of the research staff of a large pharmaceutical
firm were women. Women chemists were also reported employed as
chemical analysts, technical writers, and technical librarians in the
chemical-processing industry. Many women chemists have successful
careers in these pursuits.
Government agencies—Federal, State, and local—are large em­
ployers of women chemists, also. In 1954, more than 550 women
chemists worked for the Federal Government, This was 12 percent
of all chemists in the Government, About one-third were employed
in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.




21

A fog of condensed air rises as a woman scientist, studying the reaction
by which gasoline is made from coal, fills a flask with liquid nitrogen.

One Federal agency which employs a large number of chemists,
many of them women, is the Department of Defense, which carries
on scientific research, including research in medicine. Research chem­
ists in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare investi­
gate medical problems connected with the Public Health Service
program or perform functions related to the enforcement of the
pure food and drug laws by the Food and Drug Administration. The
Department of Agriculture employs a number of biochemists for such
projects as the development of techniques for processing foods with­
out the loss of valuable food elements. Other Federal agencies em­
ploying some women chemists include the Department of Interior,
the National Bureau of Standards in the Department of Commerce,
and the Veterans’ Administration.
Women chemists have gained recognition in a wide variety of activ­
ities in private industry, as evidenced by the large number of articles
published in newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. A few
of their stories follow.

►

A woman biochemist with a Ph. D. degree became the head of the nutrition
department of a research institute. She has also taught at various colleges
and has been specializing in amino acids and in B-eomplex and E vitamins.

►

Another outstanding woman biochemist with a Ph. D. degree became vice
president and director of a large flour-milling company in 1947. After
receiving her bachelor’s degree, she entered the employ of the company as a
chemist and advanced to her present level. She has specialized in the
chemistry of wheat and flour and fermentation processes and has been
awarded a number of medals for excellence in her work.

22







'M 'A

'V’wS

itlftSI 4i
•f -«t

%mJL %*/* ;

LA

('■m

23

One young woman chemist working in a leading radiation laboratory
recently developed a smoke from plastic bubbles, which she named “holey
smoke.” It has possible uses as a shield against polluted air from experi­
mental nuclear blasts as well as for smoke screens and sky writing.
While working on antibiotics in a large research laboratory in the Chicago
area, a woman chemist discovered a drug that greatly inhibits bacterial
growth. This woman, holder of a master’s degree, said that her discovery
was the result of 2 years of patient testing.
One of the most outstanding women chemists in the country, a college
teacher, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1947. Born in Prague, she obtained
her degree as a physician there. Later she entered Washington University,
St. Louis, Mo., as a research assistant in the School of Medicine and advanced
to the rank of professor in biochemistry. She became a naturalized citizen
of this country and received many awards and medals for her work on sugar
and lactic acid, the metabolism of tumors, the mechanism of insulin action,
and blood formation in the liver.

Earnings and Other Work Factors
The American Chemical Society has reported that the median entry
salary, countrywide, for inexperienced women chemists with the
bachelor’s degree, surveyed in 1958, was $374 a month—somewhat
lower than the $400 reported in 1957. However, some of the begin­
ning salaries for women chemists were as high as $485 a month in 1958.
An earlier survey (1955) showed that monthly salary rates increased
with length of experience. For example, women chemists with 2
years of experience had a median salary of $367; those with 4 years,
$390; those with 8 years, $416. Half of the women who were in the
field for 15y2 years earned at least $465 a month, and the top 10 per­
cent earned $670 or more.
Salaries for chemists have been rising over the past 15 years, and
it is expected that this trend will continue. Average salaries of men
chemists are reported to be higher than those of women chemists. In
1955, salaries of men with 15y2 to 34 years of experience who were
members of the American Chemical Society averaged over one and
one-half times those of women members with corresponding years of
experience. A number of factors account for this differential, how­
ever. For example, a much smaller proportion of women chemists
than men worked in private industry, which has comparatively high
salary levels. About 25 percent of the women were employed by
teaching institutions, but less than 15 percent of the men were so em­
ployed. Also, since men are likely to have more graduate training
than women, their salaries tend to be higher. The American Chem­
24




ical Society report showed that about 40 percent of the men, but only
26 percent of the women, had earned the doctor’s degree.
Standard hours of work are generally scheduled in chemical labora­
tories except where extended observation of experiments is involved.
\ arious safety measures have been built in to laboratory procedures
to minimize hazards of handling explosives, acids, and other dangerous
substances.

Job Possibilities
Because holders of the bachelor’s degree greatly outnumber those
with graduate degrees, much of the recruitment of chemists will con­
tinue to be directed toward the new graduate with a bachelor’s de­
gree in chemistry. Persons with graduate degrees, however, are in
very great demand, and companies have been emphasizing this in their
hiring policies. First jobs for those with an undergraduate degree
are often in analysis and testing. Some enter the teaching field, and
still others find jobs as technical writers.
Relatively more positions in research and in college teaching are
open to beginning chemists with the master’s degree than to those
without graduate training. Much of the basic research, as well as the
high-level applied research and development in industry, is reserved
for holders of the Ph.D. degree.
Students may wish to consult the American Chemical Society
(1155 16th St., NW., Washington 6, D.C.) for further information
that might be helpful in planning a specific career. The Society
publishes a variety of informational materials.




25

.>3' *
'

Sr "1

*
3
*.\'r
J

«
S0SS0

gg

This physicist with the National Bureau of Standards is assembling an
experimental furnace for use in high-temperature thermocouple
research.

26




ysics
The science of physics is concerned with energy in all its forms,
with the interrelations of matter and energy, and with the structure
of matter.
The wonders of the modern world—electronic computers, radar,
solar-powered electricity, television, atomic and hydrogen bombs, su­
personic jet planes—all these are technological developments based
in part on the theories formulated by physicists. Some of the signifi­
cant changes which have occurred in this profession during recent
years are indicated by the extensive employment of physicists in
private industry today. Formerly employed largely in classrooms
and university laboratories, physicists have within the past decade
or so gone into the laboratories of business and government in the
same way that chemists did during and after World War I.

Demand for Physicists
Estimates developed for 1958 indicate a total of roughly 30,000
physicists, of whom about 900 were women. The majority of women
physicists are principally employed by colleges and universities in
the teaching profession, with some in research. (See chapter on
“Characteristics of Women Physicists on the National Register of
Scientific and Technical Personnel" table 7A, page 69.)
The demand for well-qualified physicists exceeds the supply, and
the need is growing at an increasing rate not only in the newer areas
associated with nuclear energy and radar, but also in the older fields—
especially in optics and acoustics. Those with advanced training
are in greatest demand.
Most physicists will find a doctoral degree essential to attain a full
professorship, or to teach advanced and specialized courses. The
most responsible jobs on research projects conducted by edu­
cational institutions are usually reserved for holders of the doc511003 O—59




5

27

torate, although physicists at all educational levels are employed on
the projects. Physicists with the master’s degree who are engaged
in teaching are assigned mainly to undergraduate courses in general
physics. High-caliber graduate students with the bachelor’s degree
in physics frequently are employed as teaching assistants—conduct­
ing laboratory sessions or teaching elementary courses.

Specialties in Physics
The great majority of physicists, both men and women, are en­
gaged in research or in college teaching. As described in the Occu­
pational Outlook Handbook, the research may be basic (that is,
directed to studying fundamental physical laws without regard to
practical application), or it may be applied (that is, directed to
the solution of an immediate, specific problem, as for example, in­
vestigating the behavior of solid materials under stress, in order
to find suitable uses for new plastics). Some physicists add to basic
knowledge through careful and systematic observations and experi­
ments on identifying and measuring matter and energy and their
interaction. Others integrate these findings into a theory or system
of equations which describe their interrelationships. The physicist
doing theoretical research frequently guides experiments and inter­
prets the results, while the experimental physicist is concerned with
testing the theory.
Physicists doing applied research, probably the majority in this
field, use equipment such as spectrographs, X-ray and electron-diffrac­
tion cameras, Geiger counters, phase and electron microscopes, oscillo­
graphs, and vibrometers. These instruments extend enormously the
range of the senses. Thus, photocells permit ready identification of
colors which are beyond the eye’s capacity to distinguish, while ultra­
sonic detectors facilitate the recording of sounds beyond the normal
hearing ability of the ear.
Large numbers of men and women physicists are employed in
private industry. Many are concentrated in laboratories, performing
research and development work. Some, however, work in production
plants or administrative offices in a management capacity (deter­
mining research policies and administering research laboratories) or
as production assistants, designers, or inspectors.
Some physicists in industry use their ideas and their theoretical
knowledge to create final products. These scientists, in applied
research, plan and conduct experiments; they often supervise the
28




preparation and testing of laboratory models and, later, the design
and testing of working models. The physicists may investigate, for
example, an acoustical problem—for manufacturers of loudspeakers
and sound recorders; a visual problem on light, spectroscopy, and
colorimetry—for optical and photographic equipment manufacturers;
or they may work with chemists on a problem such as the protection
of woolens against shrinkage.
Industrial laboratories have in recent years shown a great deal
of interest in physicists trained both in research and in engineering.
As a result, a number of universities now offer a combination cur­
riculum in physics and engineering. At least five have established a
special 5-year training program leading to the degree of Bachelor of
Engineering Physics.
The Federal Government utilizes the various branches of physics
in its research and development work. Physicists in the government
are engaged not only in research (largely applied) but also in related
activities such as administration and scientific and technical waiting.
They are among those responsible for progress in such fields as
aeronautics and atomic energy. In the Department of Defense, they
may work in various laboratories such as those at Aberdeen Proving
Ground and the Wright-Patterson Air Force Laboratories. They
work on a wide variety of problems including those related to super­
sonic and high-altitude flight, physics of the ocean, detection of
submarines and protection against torpedoes, and the physics of
explosives, both chemical and nuclear.
In the National Bureau of Standards of the Department of Com­
merce (where standards of measurement for the United States are
developed and maintained), physicists may work on such assignments
as the determination of capacity, internal resistance, and voltage drop
of storage batteries; examination of photographed spectra with
microphotometer and micrometer comparator; or computations in
optical designs involving ray tracing.
The Department of Agriculture has recently utilized physicists in
some aspects of its research programs. One function of physicists in
this agency is the assembly and operation of test equipment for meas­
uring certain properties of natural and synthetic substances.
Much of the work in nuclear physics is carried on by industrial
concerns and universities under contract to the Atomic Energy Com­
mission, which administers manifold research activities. As a result,
many jobs in this specialty are with private laboratories rather than
with the Commission. Each of the laboratories has its own research
and development program and offers extensive opportunities for pio­
neering work in physics.




29

Because certain types of activity in nuclear physics and radiation
work may infrequently be hazardous, special precautions and safe­
guards are provided. Available safety records indicate that jobrelated illnesses and accident rates to date have been quite low.

Women Physicists
Most of the research in colleges and universities which is conducted
by women physicists with a bachelor’s degree is applied or develop-

Here a physicist is measuring
the radioactivity in the thyroid
gland of a patient who has
been given an “atomic cock­
tail.” '

30




This physicist is operating a “Pellat Balance” which weighs the force
produced by an electric current. She must work from another room
to avoid air disturbance.

mental, rather than basic or fundamental. As part of their training,
these physicists assist senior stalf members (usually with Ph. D.’s) by
carrying out experiments, setting up and operating laboratory appa­
ratus, making advanced computations, recording and accumulating
data and assisting in their analysis, or performing such productionrelated activities as design and inspection. They may also conduct
library research before initiating laboratory investigations or direct
the work of technical laboratory assistants who make routine physical
tests.
The contributions of women physicists in institutions of higher
learning are evident from the following examples:

►

One woman physicist with a doctorate, who is a professor at an outstanding
university, specializes in the study of the standardization of X-ray and
radium dosage, the biological effects of radiation, and the application of
X-rays, radium, and isotopes to medicine. Earlier, she taught in various high
schools, then became assistant physicist in a New York hospital and, later,
a radiophysicist in an eastern university. She has received medals of
achievement from the Roentgen Ray Society, the International Women’s
Exposition, and other organizations.




31

►

Another woman physicist, who entered graduate school in the city where
her husband was doing graduate work, specialized in solid-state physics.
She won 1 of the 38 first-year fellowships of the National Science Foundation
and won another scholarship for her second year of graduate work. For
the third year, she was awarded a teaching fellowship. She and her hus­
band plan to combine teaching and research at a small college or a
university.

►

A husband-wife team of physicists doing research and teaching at a uni­
versity worked with a group on the discovery of heavier-than-hydrogen
nuclei in cosmic rays. The wife, who worked part time while raising a
family, has written articles for publication on the research of the group.

►

An internationally known woman physicist was one of the several scien­
tists who spent long years in research that led to the atomic age. Born
in Austria in 1878, she studied in Europe and became a professor at a
famous institute in Berlin. There, she received acclaim for her work on the
products of disintegration of radium, thorium, actinium ; on the behavior
of beta rays; and on the physics of the atomic nucleus. Leaving Ger­
many ,at the time of Hitler, she went to Sweden, where she continued
research on important clues in the release of atomic energy. Her findings
have been compared to those of the world-famous scientist, Marie Curie,
codiscoverer of radium. With colleagues she discovered protoactinium.
During an experiment she and a coworker noticed the unexpected appear­
ance of barium, and from this discovery she deduced mathematically that
it indicated the fission of the uranium atom.

Only a relatively small proportion of women physicists are em­
ployed by private industry, but their numbers are expected to grow
as the demands of industry for scientists in general increase and as the
principles of physics are applied to new problems in this field as well
as in biology, chemistry, and geology. Companies employing women
physicists range in size from small, independent consulting labora­
tories performing research on a contract basis for firms in different,
industries to giant industrial corporations. Women physicists are
found working in the telephone industry; radio and television broad­
casting fields; and in industries manufacturing communications and
electrical equipment, scientific instruments and photographic appa­
ratus, machinery and transportation equipment, and miscellaneous
products such as petroleum, glass, rubber, and chemicals. An illus­
tration follows:
A young woman physicist with the master’s degree is employed by a
California company that produces nuclear reactors. She is responsible for
setting up new reactors at various places throughout the country and test­
ing them to determine whether they are functioning properly. Previously,
she worked with the National Bureau of Standards and with the Air Force.

32




More than 100 women physicists were employed by the Federal
Government in 1954. These women constituted 4 percent of all
physicists in Government employ. About half of them were working
in the Washington, D.C., area.

►

A woman physicist who works for the Atomic Energy Commission at the
Oak Ridge National Laboratory does pioneer research with mice to dis­
cover the effects of radiation on embryonic development. In 1955, she
published seven scientific papers, some in collaboration with her husband.
She has participated in several scientific conferences and was chosen to
present a paper at the first International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of
Atomic Energy.

The National Bureau of Standards in the U.S. Department of
Commerce employs a number of women physicists:

►

One, a specialist in acoustics, has recently been awarded a Government
medal for meritorious service. A member of the Sound Section of the
Bureau, she deals with speech-communications systems, analysis of tran­
sients, and problems associated with the measurement of hearing. She has
an M.S. degree in physics and has taken additional graduate work in sev­
eral universities. She worked as an astronomer with the U.S. Naval
Observatory before entering the Bureau of Standards. In addition to being
author of numerous publications she is a co-holder of a pending patent in
her field.

►

A second is engaged in research and specializes in the elastic scattering
of high-energy X-rays to determine nuclear processes. Before working for
the U.S. Government, she was employed as a physicist at a university radi­
ation laboratory. She has earned her doctorate in her chosen field and is
the author of a number of technical papers. She and her husband, who is
also employed at the Bureau, share scientific interests.

Other examples of research papers and new developments in the
field of physics can be found in the various journals published by
the American Institute of Physics (335 E. 45th St., New York 22,
N.Y.)
With scientific knowledge continually being increased, newly
created areas of study give rise to further careers in physics in a mul­
titude of specializations, including some newer fields, such as aero­
nautics and space physics. Moreover, the rapidly increasing impor­
tance of physics in modern-day industry can be expected to result in
enlarged employment opportunities for women physicists.




33

One of the reasons for the strength and growth of the United States
is its wealth of mineral and fuel deposits. The geologist is a specialist
in the search for these raw materials and, therefore, plays a funda­
mental role in advancing our industrial economy. In addition to
these practical applications, geologists are absorbed in studying the
structure of the earth and how it has been changing.

Specialties in Geology
Geology has been described as the science which is concerned
with the study of rocks and with the earth’s history as revealed by
rock formations and fossil remains of animals and plants from past
geologic periods. The majority of scientists in this field are
petroleum geologists, a special group concerned with locating and
developing fuel resources. Others, engineering geologists, apply their
knowledge to engineering problems, such as those involved in high­
way construction or in the choice of suitable sites for bridges and
dams. Many similar problems are encountered by military geologists
in analyzing terrain and planning military strategy. With under­
surface water becoming increasingly scarce to both city dwellers and
industrial users, groundwater geologists make valuable contributions
through their work on the sources, distribution, and quality of water.
There are specialists in a number of other major branches of the
science of geology. Petrologists deal with the natural history of rocks,
their origin, composition, present condition, and decay. In this field
are stratigraphers, who study the relationships and chronological
sequence of rock layers. Paleontologists specialize in fossil identifi­
cation and classification. Mineralogists, including geochemists, spe­
cialize in the classification, composition, and structure of minerals.
Structural geologists are interested in the formation and deformation
34




of the earth’s crust through folding and breaking. Geomorpholo­
gists are concerned with land forms and causes of surface alterations.
Geologic mappers record information on maps, often by aerial photo­
graphs through photogeologic methods.

Women Geologists at Work
Estimates for 1958 place the total number of geologists, exclusive
of geophysicists, at some 14,000, of whom more than 400 were women.
A number of these women have been in this occupation for some time
and have achieved recognition for distinguished work. Opportunities
for women are less varied than for men, however, since many jobs
require a considerable amount of time to be spent in field explora­
tion. For example, men geologists can find entry jobs as field assist­
ants, but few women geologists start their careers in this type of work.
The women who have successfully adjusted to the rigorous nature
of the work, extensive travel, and irregular hours may serve to
encourage employers to offer greater opportunities to women geologists
in the future.
Women geologists on the National Register of Scientific and Tech­
nical Personnel (1954-55) were employed mainly by private industry
and government (with private industry employing a few more than
government). A small group were employed by colleges and univer­
sities; and a few, by foundations. The majority were engaged in
research; some in government did technical writing; and most of
those in colleges were teaching. (For additional detail see chapter
on Women Scientists on the National Register of Scientific and
Technical Personnel.)
Field activities involve exploring the surface and subsurface of
an area to analyze its structure and rock or mineral content; studying
fossil remains of vegetable and animal life; recording data from the
observations and measurements, and drawing working maps; and
collecting specimens for subsequent laboratory study.
A few women have established high reputations in field work for
individual companies.

►

One of these women, who is married and has a Ph. I). degree, was hired
as a consultant to a major oil company to explore for oil. Preferring this
to desk work, she walked 10 to 15 miles a day on a recent African trip,
carrying almost 50 pounds of equipment and cooking her own meals. She
sent rock specimens home and upon her return examined the samples for oil­
bearing indications. Her work in paleontology is considered a valuable
contribution to the science by the American Association of Petroleum
Geologists.
511603 0—59-------6




35

Positions that women secure most readily are in laboratory work
in government and industry (principally petroleum and natural
gas), in museums, in library research in the mining industry, in tech­
nical writing for scientific journals and popular magazines, and in
administrative work as assistants to geologists in executive positions.
Some who are particularly well qualified may obtain teaching jobs
in colleges and universities; they combine formal classroom instruc­
tion with field trips and, in addition, often engage in other activities
such as consulting, administrative work, research, or writing.
One type of job open to women geologists in industry involves the
microscopic examination of oil-well samples in the laboratories of
petroleum companies. Women also perform a variety of chemical
and physical tests to identify the different types of rocks and deter­
mine their age or composition. This identification helps to form
the basis for decisions as to where to drill or tunnel for purposes of
locating oil deposits and extending those already discovered or aban­
doning them when they appear to be unprofitable. Other duties
may include evaluation of field observations, computation of prob­
able locations of subsurface strata, and assistance in map preparation.
In the long run, more personnel will be needed for extensive
research and analysis of geological specimens and other data. This
is in part because the search for new mineral resources is becoming
intensified, and in part because the Federal Government is mapping
geologically additional areas of the United States. One Government
agency, the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the
Interior, engages geologists to do research on local geological features
as well as to give lectures to tourists on the geology of national parks.
Other agencies conduct geological surveys of certain districts to
study underground water supplies or conditions leading to soil
erosion, to locate and define the limits of mineral reserves, and to
plan the conservation and development of certain natural resources.
Among such agencies are the Geological Survey and the Bureau of
Reclamation of the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers, the Atomic Energy Commission, and the Soil Conser­
vation Service of the Department of Agriculture. Similar duties are
performed by geologists employed by various States.
Successful experience in field work is usually required for advance­
ment. to research, administrative, executive, and consulting positions.
Even though the need for geologists is expected to increase in the
future, women whose field experience is limited will find advanced
degrees especially important in competing for such positions.
The Geological Survey also hires women as geologists or scientific
aides who supervise certain office functions and thus free higher-level
36




>*

"'* £ v

a

:« •

^#1

&*•! «
The majority of scientists in this field are petroleum geologists. This
one examines oil-well samples in the laboratory of a large petroleum
company.
■i

I

geologists of many details. They handle personnel and minor
administrative matters, write letters, answer inquiries, assist with
publications and exhibits, and receive visitors in the absence of their
superior officers. Their duties require the training of a geologist,




37

since they have to make decisions which require a technical knowledge
of the projects under consideration.
A high proportion of the women geologists with a doctor’s degree
in the employ of the United States Geological Survey have had pre­
vious experience in the educational field, usually as teachers.

►

One has been employed as a paleontologist, specializing in the mollusks
(clams, oysters, etc.) of the Atlantic and gulf coasts and northern Mexico.
Another has done work on the Precambrian formations of certain sections
in New York State and Arizona.

Colleges and universities are a source of employment for a small
number of women geologists. Teaching positions in this field generally
exist in departments of geology but are also found in engineering
departments and in schools offering mining, metallurgical, or similar
programs which require instruction in the earth sciences. Such pro­
grams tend to be concentrated in States where oil and mineral extrac­
tion are an important part of local industry and which consequently
have built up departments specializing in the economic aspects of
geology. Persons possessing doctorates are given preference,
although a number with less advanced education assist with the
instruction. Some work for higher degrees while teaching, and.
others have fellowships and assistantships which provide them free
tuition in return for teaching services.
In addition to teaching, faculty members often conduct research,
for example, on such questions as the course of an ancient glacier.
Sometimes they engage in industrial research problems such as the
selection and location of a clay deposit for a pottery manufacturer.
They may also serve as consultants to government agencies, especially
during their summer vacations. Important research has been accom­
plished by these teacher-scientists.

►

For example, a woman geologist teaching regularly in a university has
added greatly to existing knowledge of the various kinds of rocks. Her
earlier experience was as a demonstrator in the laboratory of the college
where she obtained her Ph. D. degree; as a paleontologist in a nationally
known museum; and as a specialist with the Geological Survey, where she
worked in the fields of petrology and stratigraphy.

Staffs of large natural-history museums usually include geologists.
They set up exhibits and work with the identification and classifica­
tion of specimens. Some are also called upon to give public lectures.
A number of women find employment as technical librarians.
Training or experience in library work is desirable, and a thorough
grounding in geology is necessary for such work.
38




Another field in which women geologists may be employed is that
of technical editing. In addition to training in geology, a technical
editor needs a good knowledge of English usage. Courses in journal­
ism are useful but not essential, provided the geologist can present
material in a clear and interesting form. Some acquaintance with
printing operations is helpful.

Preparation
Certain personal traits and interests are important for a career in
geology, especially for field work. It would be desirable for students
considering such a vocation to like camping and outdoor work, to
be interested in travel, and to possess the ability to take a certain
amount of physical hardship in stride. They must also be adaptable
to life at high altitudes, in desert areas, and under varying condi­
tions in inaccessible areas of the United States and foreign countries
and must be able to work as part of a team. However, these char­
acteristics may not be as important in laboratory research, teaching,
and writing as in field research.
In geology, as in other sciences, there has been increasing emphasis
on graduate training as the science has grown in complexity. Never­
theless, a survey made several years ago showed that a substantial
proportion of the petroleum and natural-gas geologists—the largest
group in this science—were holders of the bachelor’s degree. Geolo­
gists with doctorates have proportionately greater representation in
the other fields of specialization, as well as the prospect of higher
salaries and full professional status. Graduate work is extremely
important to the small number specializing chiefly in college teaching
and research.
In addition to comprehensive training in the various divisions of
geology, a knowledge of other sciences—such as physics and
chemistry; engineering and mathematics; or botany and zoology—is desirable for geologists. They may broaden their background still
further through field, laboratory, and office experience. (Some jobs,
however, particularly those held by women, are almost exclusively
in laboratories). Thus, geologists must be grounded in the techniques
of surveying, map making, note taking, and specimen collecting, as
well as in laboratory procedure for identification and analysis of
geologic specimens.
There are relatively few colleges and universities that grant the
bachelor’s degree in geology—199 in the academic year 1957-58.




39

There were still fewer awarding graduate degrees in geology: ap­
proximately 89 schools granted the master’s degree; and 34, the
Ph. D. The largest number of undergraduate degrees in this science
were conferred by five institutions in the South and West, although
schools in all parts of the country were represented. On the other
hand, the largest number of Ph. D.’s were granted by five schools
in widely separated States—New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, New
Jersey, and Connecticut.
Bachelor’s degrees in geology are awarded in colleges of arts and
sciences and in some engineering schools offering a major in petroleum
engineering or petx-oleum geology. In addition to the usual courses
taken by most science students, those majoring in geology enroll in
courses covering all aspects of this field. “Tool” courses such as
surveying and engineering drawing are also essential.
Since attainment of these degrees generally requires a reading
knowledge of one or more foreign languages, students planning to
study for advanced degrees should at an early stage investigate basic
language requirements for the master’s or doctor’s degree. One
geology professor reports that research institutes are asking for
women trained in science who have a reading knowlege of one or
more modern languages.
For further information on developments in the field of geology,
students may wish to consult the American Geological Institute
(2101 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington 5, D.C.).

Earnings and Hours of Work
The highest salaries for geologists are usually paid by private in­
dustry. In 1956, salaries for beginners without experience were re­
ported at $425 a month. After 10 years of experience, the monthly
salary averaged about $600 for all geologists but only $500 for women.
College geology teachers were paid from $250 to $750 a month,
depending upon experience, educational background, and type of
position. Most teachers are free during summer vacations to do re­
search, to study, or to supplement their income by counseling work,
writing books or articles, or participating in explorations.
Average earnings for some 100 women geologists who worked in
the Federal Government in 1954 were $4,937 a- year. Since then,
salary rates have twice been increased; the entrance salary for be­
ginning geologists was set at $4,490 in 1958.
Hours of work in offices and laboratories are the usual 40 or less a
week; for those engaged in field work, hours may be very irregular.
40




stronomy
Exciting discoveries await astronomers—those explorers who seek
to unlock the mysteries of the universe. In this era of the race toward
the moon and the planets, the importance of the science of astronomy
overshadows the fact that this field engages only a few hundred astron­
omers, the smallest group among scientists.
It has been estimated that in 1958 there were some 500 astronomers
in the country, of whom at least 75 were women. Though the actual
number of women astronomers is small, they are well represented in
this profession where they constitute roughly 15 percent of the total,
which is a higher proportion than in any other of the scientific fields
covered in this study.

Importance of Astronomy
While “star gazing” may be said to be an occupational disease with
them, astronomers are in fact “down-to-earth” researchers who make
time-consuming observations and calculations on the nature and com­
position of the universe. They study the size, shape, luminosity, posi­
tion, composition, characteristics, structure, temperature, distance,
motion, and orbits of celestial bodies in an ever-changing universe.
They are interested in eclipses and comets; in the classification, meas­
urements, and evolution of stars; in star clusters and nebulae, as well
as in the fascinating question of the possibility of life in other worlds.
Because of the current emphasis on the possibility of space travel,
attention has recently been focused on the moon and the planets near­
est the earth. A growing body of knowledge has also been accumu­
lating from analysis of the radiation from these bodies. Recent
astronomical discoveries have been made possible by improved in­
struments and techniques, including certain light-measuring devices,




41

optical equipment such as radiotelescopes, and complex photographic
methods.
Astronomy is today being used in a number of applied fields.
Investigations which had been considered the domain of pure astro­
nomical science—for example, meteors and the flow of planetary and
stellar gases—are now used in ballistics research and in the develop­
ment of guided missiles and earth satellites. Consequently, the com­
petence of astronomers in physics and mathematics is being
increasingly used by government and industry. Only recently (early
1959) one of the private firms which is engaged primarily in space
research hired a woman astronomer for its guidance and navigation
department.
Mathematics and statistics have important practical applications in
astronomy; for example, in the prediction of tides, the determination
of the official time, and the preparation of almanacs and charts which
enable air and marine navigators to determine by observation of sun,
stars, and other celestial bodies their exact position on land or sea at
any time. A new field, the analysis of the orbits of manmade satellites,
has just been opened and is now inviting further research on related
problems concerning the size and shape of the earth and the density
of the upper atmosphere.
Some astronomers, called astrophysicists, apply the techniques of
physics to astronomical problems. Radiation originating from dis­
tant bodies is closely examined, and interpretations are made concern­
ing the age, temperature, luminosity, chemical composition, and
internal structure of the object. The development of the radio tele­
scope—an innovation which permits the observation of more remote
space—is a recent breakthrough and illustrates the dynamic character
of this science. Another specialized device, the spectrometer, separates
light into a spectrum (a series of colors) and measures the individual
wave lengths. Other measuring instruments include the photometer,
which is concerned with intensity or brightness; and the bolometer,
which measures minute quantities of radiant heat found in the spec­
trum. These instruments are attached to telescopes to provide a
comprehensive description of the chemical composition, luminosity,
and temperature of stars.

Observatories
Close to 300 observatories, buildings designed or adapted to house
a permanently mounted telescope, are located in all but a handful of
42




the States. Most of these observatories are relatively small. Among
the most famous large observatories are the Mt. Wilson, Mt. Palomar,
Harvard, Lick, Yerkes, and McDonald Observatories. The Federal
Government operates the U.S. Naval Observatory and the Astrophysical Observatory of the Smithsonian Institution. A new observatory,
the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, is now being operated
by a group of universities under contract with the Government, and
several others are under construction.
Although most observatories operate with relatively small staffs,
a few large ones employ a number of astronomers and other special­
ists. One midwestern university observatory is staffed by some 10
astronomers who hold teaching positions in the university; half a
dozen full-time research assistants, technicians (computers and
observers), and instrument makers; together with a number of secre­
taries, a part-time librarian, and a dozen graduate students, most of
whom work part time as research or teaching assistants.
Since celestial observations are carried on mainly at night, the
working hours of observing astronomers may be irregular during
periods when conditions are favorable for viewing. These work
schedules, however, are less of a handicap than they may appear, since
a short period of observation with modern photographic and elec­
tronic instruments provides material for long periods of analysis be­
tween observing sessions. Of course, work schedules of some
astronomers fall entirely within the customary 40-hour workweek.

Women Astronomers at Work
The principal employers of women astronomers are the large astro­
nomical laboratories and observatories connected with universities,
research foundations, and the Federal Government. According to
the listing of women astronomers on the 1954-55 National Register
of Scientific and Technical Personnel, the overwhelming majority
worked for institutions of higher learning. Almost all of the others
were employed by the Government, with only a few in nonprofit
foundations and none in private industry.
The majority of women in astronomy do research work. This
activity was predominant for women on the Register for all major
employers of women astronomers. However, teaching was almost
as important in colleges and universities. Many women researchers
are engaged as computers or research assistants. A computer may
make measurements on astronomical photographs or spectrograms or




43

These astronomers, a husband and wife team at the U.S. Naval Observ­
atory, are discussing the data they have just recorded from measuring
the moon’s position on a 26-inch equatorial telescope.

On the basis of such observations, these
astronomers in the Nautical Almanac
Office compute and publish tables for
the safe navigation of ships and aircraft.







, t'V^ is

compute tables of observations for analysis by a higher ranking
astronomer. Some computers also determine the orbits of comets or
minor planets and predict eclipses. Research assistants, with a
greater degree of responsibility, also participate as part of a team
in the observatory’s research program. For those with a bachelor’s or
possibly even a master’s degree, these may be terminal positions from
which further advancement is very limited. Women who advance
to the more responsible positions generally possess exceptional ability
and perseverance, in addition to extensive graduate training.
The small group of high ranking women astronomers who are
engaged in pure research, though not self-employed, are seeking
answers to problems which particularly interest them. Such astron­
omers are especially adept in both observation and theoretical analy­
sis, which are basic to all astronomical research. Theoretical study,
which attempts to understand the operation of fundamental laws of
the universe, goes hand-in-hand with observation. Examination of
the information collected from observations frequently suggests rela­
tionships which lead the theoretician to predict future developments.
Refined instruments or new techniques may then be required to seek
additional facts which would either prove or disprove the theories.
The doctorate is practically a “must” for astronomers who hope to
achieve top-level positions in teaching and research, in part because of
the keen competition for the limited number of opportunities. If a
young woman enrolled in a college offering few or no astronomy
courses expects to do graduate work in astronomy, she should build
her undergraduate program around physics or mathematics, since
both are fundamental to advanced astronomical theory.
The largest group of highly trained astronomers is found on college
faculties, where teaching duties are usually combined with research.
Few other branches of science require such a broad degree of compe­
tence in physics and mathematics. Consequently, the teacher in
smaller colleges may instruct in physics and mathematics or in a
science survey course, in addition to courses in astronomy. Only a
few astronomers above the rank of instructor are needed by a large
astronomy department; in most colleges, one astronomer is sufficient.
These limited openings contrast with those in other scientific fields
where positions are numerous because the science is directly related
to some other profession, such as medicine or engineering. Research
or teaching assistantships are frequently granted to graduate stu­
dents. In common with teaching in all fields, teacher salaries are
generally modest in relation to the amount of education required.
However, the freedom to engage in research and the relative security
of tenure serve as strong attractions to a teaching career.
46




►

One outstanding woman astronomer was recently promoted to a full pro­
fessorship and made chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Harvard
University—the first woman to have achieved this distinction. She has
written numerous papers and books on the structure of galaxies and vari­
able stars. Another, who was previously on the teaching staff of this
institution, is now engaged in independent research. Several others are
research associates at famous observatories.

A number of women astronomers work for the Federal Govern­
ment, where they perform a variety of observations, calculations, and
predictions affecting our everyday life. In 1954, nine women astron­
omers were employed by Federal agencies, all in the District of
Columbia area. This group represented one-fifth of all astronomers
on the Federal civilian payroll. Determination of official time is
made at the Naval Observatory, which is also responsible for develop­
ing tables and techniques for use in the navigation of sea- and air-craft.
Astronomers are employed by the Naval Research Laboratory in its
radio-astronomy research program, which includes studies of thermal
radiation from celestial bodies. The Army Map Service utilizes
astronomers in its program for measurement of long lines and in
determining relative positions of widely separated points on the
earth’s surface. Precise computations of latitude and longitude are
carried out by astronomers in the Coast and Geodetic Survey of the
U.S. Department of Commerce.
Standard requirements exist for astronomers in the Federal Serv­
ice. Beginners must have received a bachelor’s degree for com­
pletion of a 4-year course that includes at least 12 credit hours in
astronomy and at least 18 credit hours in mathematics, including
differential and integral calculus. However, a time-equivalent com­
bination of education and specified work experience may be substi­
tuted. Those just meeting minimum qualifications may enter at $4,490
a year, under the salary schedule effective January 1958. Advance­
ment depends upon the individual’s education, experience, and
ability.

►

One outstanding woman astronomer employed by the Government is the
holder of a Ph. D. degree and head of the observational astronomy pro­
gram of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She serves
as chairman of a committee in that agency which is spearheading a program
to develop an earth satellite containing astronomical telescopes.

Some women astronomers with writing ability work on technical
reports and periodicals or write books and magazine articles on
astronomy.




47

►

One woman, for example, interprets astronomy to the reading public.
She is coeditor of a number of books on science, including a collection
of essays; she also wrote the biography of Maria Mitchell, first woman
astronomer in America.

An Early Woman Astronomer
A hundred years ago an unassuming woman astronomer named Maria
Mitchell was making history by discovering a comet (1847) and several
nebulae and photographing the sun. Her interest in astronomy began
when as a girl on the Island of Nantucket she helped her father in obser­
vations of the sky and mathematical computations for the guidance of
sea captains in the whaling industry. Through him, she met eminent
astronomers in Boston and elsewhere, and learned about their work.
While employed as a librarian Miss Mitchell pursued her independent
research and in 1848 was elected an honorary member of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences—the first woman to receive this honor.
A few years later she was awarded the degree of LL. D. by Hanover
College.
In 1865 Miss Mitchell went to the newly established Vassar College
as its first professor of astronomy and director of its observatory. An
inspiring teacher, during her 20 years at Vassar she was known both at
home and abroad as an astronomer of note. In 1887 Columbia University
conferred on her the degree of LB. D.
Years after her death, the Maria Mitchell Observatory was dedicated
in Nantucket, the Maria Mitchell Astronomical Society was named for
her, and she was made a member of the Hall of Fame.

Some women astronomers are employed as curators and lecturers
in the score of planetaria scattered throughout the country. Plane­
taria house special equipment which projects onto the inside of a
dome an image of the sky as seen from a specific point on the earth.
Staff members operate the projector and plan lectures, models, and
other exhibits to encourage the public’s interest in astronomy.
Women chosen for these openings must possess—in addition to sound
training in astronomy—poise, a good speaking voice, and mechanical
facility in operating the equipment. In 1958, two of the directors
of planetaria were women; other women have served as acting direc­
tors or as staff members.
Some women astronomers find that the small number of fellow
astronomers is an advantage. They value the professional contacts
and the ready interchange of opinions with their colleagues. Others
are attracted by the prospect of discoveries, the immensity of dis­
tances, the vast expanse of time, and the grandeur of the phenomena.
Astronomy’s broadness of scope and interrelationships with other
sciences appeal to still others.
48




Outlook for Astronomers
For astronomers lacking a doctor’s degree, the majority of open­
ings will undoubtedly continue to be as research associates, assistants,
or computers in observatories. This demand is likely to be rein­
forced by plans for manmade satellites and space travel and by
discoveries made during the International Geophysical Year (1957­
58) which are still being analyzed. In practice, research is often
combined with teaching, since most of the observatories are associ­
ated with universities.
Teaching opportunities for women astronomers are most likely
to be available in women’s colleges having access to an observatory
and in larger coeducational institutions. The number of faculty
positions is limited. Relatively few universities grant graduate
degrees in astronomy. Moreover, student enrollments in advanced
courses seldom exceed half a dozen. Astronomy classes, even in
undergraduate schools, are not as heavily populated as those in other
sciences, but an increase in enrollments is expected within the next
few years because of the growing interest in all scientific fields and
the importance of astronomy in connection with new developments,
both military and nonmilitary.
Since there are relatively few positions held by full-ranking women
astronomers, those who fill such posts must be particularly well quali­
fied. Opportunities are more plentiful, of course, at less responsible
levels, with the majority of the openings for research associates,
assistants, and computers. Because total employment in the field
is relatively small and turnover is low, openings for astronomers at
any one time are not numerous. Because of the rigorous training
required at advanced levels, however, the supply of top level astrono­
mers has actually failed to keep pace with the demand. A contrib­
uting factor is that a number of graduates who major in astronomy
are attracted to related fields for which their training qualifies them;
for example, the fields of mathematics and physics.
Students wishing to keep abreast of scientific advances in the field
of astronomy and to inform themselves as to job opportunities for
women astronomers may consult the American Astronomical Society
(McMillin Observatory, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio).




49

Meteorology is a field which first opened up to women during World
War II. This weather observer is releasing a radiosonde to receive
information about the upper air.

50




N^eteorology
Importance and Uses of Meteorology
Meteorologists collect atmospheric data which they interpret and
use as a basis for weather forecasting and for other purposes. They
study the weather—which affects to a large extent our daily activities,
such as the kinds of food we eat, the clothes we wear, the design and
structure of our houses and buildings, our trade and means of travel,
and our daily activities. Meteorology is thus of direct personal interest
to everyone.
The field of meteorology is also of great scientific importance.
Some leading science authorities have been calling attention to the
lack of basic scientific knowledge essential for understanding the
weather and for future weather control. One expert has been quoted
as saying that international control of weather modification will be
as essential as control over nuclear energy.
Meteorologists help to safeguard human life and to furnish man
with his necessities. For example, farmers rely upon weather fore­
casts for their planting and harvesting plans; airlines and shipping
companies may reschedule or reroute trips when storms threaten;
the military regard the work of meteorologists as essential for plan­
ning strategy; communities affected by smoke or air pollution consult
meteorologists for advice. Rural areas afflicted with drought are
increasingly turning to cloud seeders to induce rain. Solar heating,
a possibility that has interested a number of meteorologists in recent
years, may become a substitute for conventional fuels in the future.
Industrial meteorological services employ meteorologists to make
special forecasts for such companies as movie producers on location
and aircraft manufacturers who are scheduling test flights. Other
businesses using the services of meteorologists include insurance
firms, shipping and other establishments, and construction companies.
Meteorological research continues to engage increasing numbers




51

in both government and private employment on problems relating
to weather control, aircraft icing, solar heating, and long-range fore­
casting. National security considerations, together with the grow­
ing use of the atmosphere as a medium of transportation and com­
munication, have focused attention on meteorology in connection with
rockets, guided missiles, earth satellites, radioactive “fall-out,” cosmic
rays, and auroral activity.

Specialties in Meteorology
In meteorology, the largest group is that of the synoptic meteor­
ologists, who analyze a variety of simultaneous weather observations
in order to tell us what weather to expect. They forecast weather
for specific localities after interpreting reports on temperature, hu­
midity, rainfall, clouds, air pressure, and wind direction and velocity.
The continuous procession of highs and lows (areas of barometric
pressure), resembling a struggle between two forces, is translated
into weather maps made simple enough for the public to read.
Climatologists are meteorologists who seek answers to such ques­
tions as: Is the weather in your part of the country generally
different from earlier years? Will it be different in the future?
Analyzing past weather records, these scientists predict probable
weather conditions in the years ahead.
Other scientists in the field, called dynamic meteorologists, study
air movement to develop principles or working rules of use to the
practical “weatherman” whose reports are read in newspapers or
heard on radio and television.
A fourth group—physical meteorologists—are primarily research
workers who want to learn about the chemical ingredients of the
atmosphere and what it has in common with electrical conductors;
the behavior of such unseen travelers in the atmosphere as solar radia­
tion, sound, light, and radio waves; and factors affecting clouds and
rainfall. Meteorologists use such instruments as the barometer, ther­
mometer, hydrometer, anemometer, and radiosonde to obtain infor­
mation on atmospheric conditions.

Women in Meteorology
Meteorology is a field which first opened up to women during
World War II, and women meteorologists are not numerous. Cur­
52




rent estimates (1958) indicate a total of some 6,000 meteorologists
(civilian and military), of whom over 100 are women. The Federal
Government is in all probability the most important employer of
women meteorologists. About half of the 46 women professional
members of the American Meteorological Society in 1957 were re­
ported in the employ of the Federal Government—13 working for
the Weather Bureau, 5 for the Navy, and 3 each for the Army and
Air Force. Ten were working in colleges and universities, the ma­
jority in research. Four were teaching in secondary or elementary
schools, and the remainder were employed by the radio and tele­
vision industry and by other private industries.
Meteorologists in the Weather Bureau perform a large number
of duties in addition to the most important one of weather forecasting.
Weather Bureau employees engage in hydrological research, making
forecasts of water supply based on long-range estimates of rainfall,
in order to assist areas threatened by water shortages. Still others
make observations and compile meteorological and climatological
data; analyze them to determine trends; and then interpret the results.
The Weather Bureau has an in-service training program for its
personnel and grants scholarships to its meteorologists to enable them
to take more advanced and specialized training. It also conducts a
student-aid program whereby eligible high-school graduates and col­
lege students preparing for a career in meteorology may obtain
summer jobs.

►

One of the women meteorologists working for the Federal Government
is employed in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. She had
previously worked as an instructor and research chemist at the university
where she obtained her Ph. D. degree in physical chemistry, then entered
the U.S. Navy as an aerology officer where she attained the rank of
lieutenant commander before returning to civilian life. Although most of
her work is with a team, she did a solo job that brought her a Navy award
for minimizing the guesswork in predicting where radioactive fall-out
may occur. She works on the development of new types of equipment for
measuring wind velocity at high altitudes for use in high altitude aircraft
design. Other areas of her research include the study of fog creation
and dispersal, hurricane detection and oceanographic conditions. She
specializes in metal-gas catalysis and upper atmosphere.

The field of weather forecasting attracts a number of women.

►

One is a forecaster for a major city, where she specializes in the control
of its air-pollution problems.




53

►

The “weatherman” at the U.S. Weather Bureau in the capital city of
one of our largest eastern States is a woman. Formerly a high school
teacher of general science, she took summer courses in astronomy, meteor­
ology, and geology. After service with the WAC during World War II,
she was hired by the Federal Government as a meteorologist and has
worked at various weather stations. She takes weather observations, makes
weather forecasts, and presents them on the radio.

Women are eligible to serve as meteorologists or as technical assist­
ants to meteorologists while on active military duty; many served in
such jobs during World War II. (About one-third to one-half of
all the meteorologists in the country are serving with the Armed
Forces.) Officers are sent to educational institutions for at least 1
year to train in meteorology and are then assigned to meteorological
work. The Government gives preference to veterans with training
and experience of this type for civilian positions with the Armed
Forces and elsewhere.
An applicant for a beginning government position must have
obtained (a) a bachelor’s degree, with at least 20 semester hours of
study in specified subjects; or (b) 4 years of progressive technical
or scientific experience in meteorology or closely related fields (such
as physics or mathematics), with at least 1 year in the field of meteor­
ology; or (c) any time-equivalent combination of the preceding.
For jobs at more advanced levels, graduate study in meteorology may
be substituted for the professional experience required, up to a maxi­
mum of 3 years.
Colleges and universities also engage some meteorologists. In con­
trast to some other scientists, meteorologists in academic institutions,
as indicated by the Register, are engaged primarily in research rather
than in teaching.

►

One of these researchers is a meteorologist who, after obtaining her Ph. D.
degree, continued at the college to conduct research in the radiation
laboratory and later specialized in weather radar. She now heads all radar
research in weather at an engineering school that is traditionally viewed
as a men’s school. She is also chairman of the committee on radar
meteorology of the American Meteorological Society.

Some women meteorologists, however, are employed to teach as well
as to conduct research. In colleges without separate departments
of meteorology, specialists in meteorology may teach geography,
mathematics, physics, or geology as well as meteorology.
There are many types of work suitable for women in meteorology,
and greater numbers of women may find opportunities in this field
in the future as additional businesses find need for the specialized
54




skills which meteorologists offer. Numerous commercial and indus­
trial firms have already begun to use industrial meteorologists for
intensive analysis of data on weather in order to forecast weather
conditions that may harm sales or production. For example, the
findings of meteorologists are very useful to public-utility companies
in forecasting day-to-day changes in demand for gas or electricity;
department stores use such services in interpreting sales results and in
setting the most desirable dates for special “sales”; and producers of
steel or heavy chemicals use the finding of meteorological consultants
to control the quality of products which are influenced by the air’s
temperature and moisture content.
A number of meteorologists are engaged by airlines to forecast
weather along flight routes—a function essential for dispatching
planes, controlling flights, briefing pilots on weather conditions, and
traffic management. Others are employed by private weather serv­
ices to deal with clients’ special weather problems, by insurance
companies, and by manufacturers of meteorological instruments and
balloons. A few women meteorologists are employed as editors,
science writers, and librarians.

►

An example of the diverse experience achieved by some meteorologists
is that of a woman in the research field who taught in various colleges
for short periods while working for her doctorate. With the support of
fellowships from various foundations, she later did research on atmospheric
problems at a college in London, England. At present she is a research
meteorologist at an oceanographic institute. In trying to find out what
drives the wind in a hurricane, she discovered that overgrown clouds form
the spiral arms of hurricanes seen on radar and release the heat energy
that powers the winds. Most of her work is theoretical, making mathe­
matical “models” of clouds and storms. In order to test her theories, she
has made aircraft flights with special instruments and photographic
equipment into the stonn-building areas.

Inquiries as to current areas of research, as well as other aspects of
meteorological work, may be addressed to the American Meteorological
Society (3 Joy St., Boston 8, Mass.).

Hours of Work
Some jobs in meteorology, especially those in laboratories, are
scheduled to a regular 40-hour workweek. The nature of many jobs,
however, requires irregular working hours, nightwork, and rotating
shifts. For example, weather stations are in operation 24 hours a
day and 7 days a week, requiring a schedule of three 8-hour shifts.




55

This WAVE commander is assistant officer in charge
of a fleet weather facility at a naval air station.
As an aerologist, she charts the best route, weatherwise, for ships at sea and provides meteorologi­
cal services for planes departing from her area.

56




;

-

Because forecasters may be required to work extra hours during a
period of storm, hurricane, or other unusual weather, and because
of the lengthy experience required for this work, the number of
women employed as forecasters in weather stations is small. Extra
compensation is often paid for field research which takes the
meteorologist to distant places where living conditions are difficult.
Many women meteorologists would probably agree with one who
admitted that the work is “not all sunshine” but nonetheless a
challenging profession.




57

For prospective
women scientists
Women Have

the Abilities

The achievements of women in every field of science amply demon­
strate women’s abilities for scientific endeavors. The psychologists
tell us that little, if any, difference exists in general intelligence be­
tween men and women. Test results of the General Aptitude Test
Battery, developed by the U.S. Employment Service and used widely
with high school seniors, also bear out the fact that there are no sig­
nificant differences in aptitudes between boys and girls, and also that
there are greater differences among individual girls and among indi­
vidual boys than between girls as a group and boys as a group.
Moreover, what differences exist may be attributed largely to
different experiences and backgrounds. The National Manpower
Council’s report on “Womanpower” goes beyond this and points out
that there is some evidence “that women studying mechanical and
technical subjects receive better grades than men who score equally
well on aptitude tests.” An observation of a college professor of
physics provides still further evidence of women’s basic aptitudes
for scientific work. He states that differences in mechanical and elec­
trical background are largely overcome by women through additional
laboratory work in their freshman year; and that by the sophomore
year they are at least as competent as men in the theoretical aspects
of science.

Training Is the Key
Adequate training is the key to future careers in science for girls
with the special aptitudes required. That girls have an interest in
58




science is shown by a nationwide study of high school senior’s made
by the Educational Testing Service in 1955. Girls as well as boys
indicated their interest in additional courses in science, and almost,
two-fifths of the senior girls wished they had taken more science and
mathematics courses. The study showed, however, that fewer high
school girls than boys studied mathematics and science. Almost onehalf of the senior boys but less than one-tenth of the senior girls took
more than 6 semesters of mathematics in high school; one-half of
the senior girls as compared with three-fourths of the senior boys had
3 or more semesters of science.
Girls should, therefore, be encouraged early in their school years
to include more mathematics and science subjects in their high
school education.
Since aptitude tests represent just one factor in predicting voca­
tional success, school performance in mathematics and science courses
may serve as an added test of interests and abilities in the scientific
fields. Further, these studies provide a good foundation for addi­
tional training and for work of many different kinds and degrees
of difficulty. They are useful regardless of whether the student plans
to go on to college. Moreover, such training develops analytical and
logical thinking which is important in most vocations. Although
graduate degrees are necessary for the most, advanced research and
teaching positions, there is work in scientific fields for persons at all
levels of training, including the work of scientific aides, laboratory
assistants, data analysts and other technicians, as well as fully quali­
fied scientists. All of this work contributes to scientific progress and
plays an essential part in it.

Satisfactions and Rewards
Science careers are highly rewarding in many ways. They offer
almost unlimited scope for inquiry into the unknown, for adding to
our scientific knowledge, and for development of one’s highest
potential. They offer relatively high starting salaries among the
professions and good advancement possibilities. They offer scien­
tists great personal satisfaction in their work, through an awareness
of their usefulness to society, and through opportunities to learn
and keep informed about the latest discoveries. These rewards are
further heightened by the recognition and prestige accorded scientists
by the community and the Nation.




59

\Ar omen scientists
on the National Register of
Scientific and Technical Personnel
The National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel is
maintained by the National Science Foundation in cooperation with
several professional societies in order to provide a central clearing
house for information on such personnel.
Because registration is entirely voluntary, the Register is not a
complete listing of scientists. The characteristics of the scientists
included are, therefore, not necessarily representative of all scientists.
They probably reflect the characteristics of the better trained or more
active group.
The information in this bulletin is based on the Register for 1954­
55, for which special tabulations of women scientists were provided
to the Women’s Bureau by the National Science Foundation.
The number of scientists on the Register differs from estimates for
all scientists in two major ways: (1) The Register followed a more
restrictive definition of the term “scientists”. In general, persons
with the doctoral degree in a scientific field and persons with the
bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent) plus 4 years of professional
experience or training in a scientific specialty were included. How­
ever, the various professional societies interpreted these criteria
differently, and (2) Register data were based on questionnaires sent to
individuals, and the returning of completed questionnaires was volun­
tary. The principal source of the mailing lists was the membership
in cooperating professional scientific societies. As a result of these
factors, coverage varies considerably from field to field.
Preliminary information on the 1954—55 Register, published by
the National Science Foundation in 1956, provides data on the first
or primary specialty of 94,321 scientists of whom 6,880 (7.3 percent)
60




Table

3.—Scientists

on the

1954-55

National Register of
by Field of Specialty

Technical Personnel,

Scientific and

Women on
Register

Percent of
total

94, 321

6, 880

7. 3

433
1 26, 982
2 11, 831
3, 211
11, 244
3 40, 620

65
1, 670
226
53
299
* 4, 567

Total on
Register

Field

All fields ____.
Astronomers. „
.___ .
Chemists
. _ __ ____. .
Geologists.
- Meteorologists. _
__
_
.
Physicists ___ _ _ _ .
Other fields
_

15.
6.
1.
1.
2.
11.

0
2
9
7
7
2

> Included among the chemists were about 3,400 scientists who listed a first specialty in biochemistry.
Included in the total of 11,831 geologists were 8,395 scientists (71 percent) who listed a first specialty in
geology. The remaining 3,436 scientists (29 percent) checked a first specialty in geophysics, including 299
in oceanography.
3 Included biologists (10,421), agricultural scientists (about 5,600), and biophysicists (282); mathematicians
(5,445); psychologists (12,162); and chemical engineers (6,710).
« Included biological scientists (1,175); mathematicians (471); psychologists (2,905); and chemical en­
gineers (16).

were women. (See table 3.) The first specialty was indicated by the
individual scientist as her highest competence, but was not necessarily
the same as the specialty in which she was employed, as is illustrated
by comparison of tables 3 and 4. Table 4, on “Field of Employment”
is based on later tabulations of the 1954-55 Register covering 115,775
scientists of whom 7,721 (6.7 percent) were women. Analysis of
the characteristics of women scientists in each of the five fields covered
in this bulletin is based on special tabulations for the latter group—
by field of employment.
Table

4.—Scientists
and

on

1954-55

the

Technical Personnel,

Total on
Register

Field

Women on
Register

115, 775

All fields
Chemists
.
Chemical Engineers__
Physicists.
Geologists
.
Geophysicists.
Astronomers
Meteorologists ....
Other fields1

National Register of Scientific
Field of Employment

by

.

.

..

.
_

7, 721

32, 452
8, 203
11, 162
8, 086
3, 905
290
1, 838
49, 839

1, 890
14
305
205
65
43
26
5, 173

Percent
of total
6. 7
5.
0.
2.
2.
1.
14.
1.
10.

8
2
7
5
7
8
4
4

1 Covers biological scientists (including agricultural and medical), mathematicians, psychologists, geog­
raphers, other engineers, and other scientific and nonscientific specialists.




61

CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN SCIENTISTS
ON THE REGISTER IN FIVE FIELDS

The five scientific fields covered in this bulletin are discussed sepa­
rately in later sections of this chapter. Summaries of information
collected in the 1954r-55 Register are provided for each field.
Table 5, “Characteristics of Women Scientists in the 1954-55 Reg­
ister—Five Selected Fields of Employment,” brings together for
ready reference selected information on all five fields. Several cau­
tions should be noted, however, in making comparisons among the
fields. As indicated earlier, Register coverage varies considerably
from field to field and, therefore, figures for one field may be more
representative than those for others. Scientists responding to the
Register questionnaire did not necessarily answer all questions, thus
the number reporting on each item differs from the total number of
respondents in the field. (This difference is particularly significant
in the “Salary” item for chemists, where only about 10 percent of the
total responded.) In addition, very small numbers, such as those for
astronomers and meteorologists, do not permit much analysis.
Allowing for such factors, however, one may note, for example, that
the astronomers on the Register showed the highest median age and
the highest level of educational attainment, as well as the greatest
concentration in college or university employment and in the research
and teaching functions.
On the other hand, women chemists and geologists on the Register
showed the lowest median ages, the greatest concentration in private
industry employment, the most direct relationship between field
of major and field of employment, and high proportions at the bache­
lor’s degree level.
Women meteorologists on the Register in many respects differed
substantially from the other four groups; however, the total number
of such women—26—was so small that the significance of these differ­
ences is questionable. The women meteorologists were relatively
young among these scientists and were the only ones reporting a high
proportion (more than one-fourth) with some college training but
no degree. In addition, only among meteorologists was there a high
proportion (one-fifth) with nonscientific degrees and only the meteor­
ologists were concentrated in government employment. Less than
half of the 20 meteorologists reporting on field of major had taken
their highest degree in meteorology.
62




Table 5.—Characteristics of Women Scientists in the 1954^55 Register—
Five Selected Fields of Employment
[A. AGE AND SALARY]
AGE

Women

Chemists___
...
Physicists 1.....................................................
General_____ ___ ___ ___ ___
Other
Geologists_ _____
_ .
Astronomers__
__ ___ ___ ___
Meteorologists.__....... ....................... . .......

Total re­
porting

Under 30
years

30-49 years

50 years
and over

1,783
291
194
97
199
42

531
83
47
36
75

945
144
91
53
95

307
64
56
8
29
11
3

11
2

20

20

15

Median
age
35
36
41
32
34
41
36

PERCENT DISTRIBUTION

100
100
100
100
100
100
100

30
29
24
37
38
26

10

53
49
47
55
48
48
75

17

22

29
8
15
26
15

SALARY (1954-55)

Total reporting
Chemists. . ____ _____ ... _____ ..
Physicists 1_________________________ _
General
...
Other
Geologists.. ... ... _________ ____
Astronomers-.................. ....................... ......
Meteorologists.... _______________ _____

2 196
270
175
95
176
40
26

Under
$4,000
41
42
36
6
28
13
3

$4,0005,999

$6,000

and over

107
132
87
45
88
22
19

48
96
52
44
60
5
4

Median
salary
$5,138
5,451
5, 211
5, 865
5,333
4, 538
4,833

PERCENT DISTRIBUTION
100
100
100
100

100

100
100

21
16
21

6
16
33
12

55
49
50
47
50
55
73

24
30
46
34
13
15

1 General includes general physics, theoretical physics, mechanics and heat, cryogenics, optics, and acous­
tics. Other includes electronics, electromagnetism, atomic and molecular phenomena, nuclear physics,
and solid state physics.
2 Salary was reported by only 196 women chemists or about 10 percent of women respondents to the survey.
Note—Percents do not necessarily add to 100 due to rounding.
Source: 1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel. National Science Foundation
(Washington, D.C.).




63

Table 5.—Characteristics of Women Scientists in the 1954-55 Register—
Five Selected Fields of Employment—Continued
[B. DEGREE AND EDUCATIONAL MAJOR]
DEGREE

Women

Chemists____
Physicists 1_
_
General__
Other____
Geologists___
Astronomers. .
Meteorologists.

Total re­ No col­
porting lege or no
degree
1,886
297
199
98
204
40
22

Bach­
elor’s

Master’s Doctoral

648
74
49
25
91
7
7

11
6
5
1
2
6

561
111
81
30
76
15
6

M.D.

655
105
63
42
35
18
3

11
1
1

PERCENT DISTRIBUTION

Chemists____
Physicists 1_
_
General__
Other____
Geologists____
Astronomers...
Meteorologists.

100
100
100
100
100
100
100

1
2
3
1
1

34
25
25
26
45
18
32

27

35
35
32
43
17
45
14

30
37
41
31
37
38
27

1

m

1

EDUCATIONAL MAJOR

Other
Total re­ Same as em­ sciences,
porting
ployment
mathe­
specialty matics, or
engineering
Chemists_____
-----------------------------------------Physicists 1------------ ------------------------------------------General---------------------------------------- ------------Other- .......................... ......................... ....................
Geologists
Astronomers---- ------- ---------------------------------- ------Meteorologists ..
......... ..................................

1,874
282
186
96
204
39
20

1,654
211
131
80
176
31
9

172
58
43
15
23
6
7

Nonscientific

48
13
12
1

5
2
4

PERCENT DISTRIBUTION

Chemists
Physicists1-.-------------- ------------------------- ----------General------- ----------------------------------------------Other
Geologists______________________________________
Astronomers
Meteorologists.______ _____________ ____ ____

100
100
100
100
100
100
100

88
75
70
83
86
79
45

9
21
23
16
11
15
35

3
5
6
1
2
5
20

1 General includes general physics, theoretical physics, mechanics and heat, cryogenics, optics, and acous­
tics. Other includes electronics, electromagnetism, atomic and molecular phenomena, nuclear physics,
and solid state physics.
* Less than 1 percent.
Note.—Percents do not necessarily add to 100 due to rounding.
Source: 1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel. National Science Foundation
(Washington, D.C.).

64




Table 5.—Characteristics of Women Scientists in the 1954-55 Register—
Five Selected Fields of Employment—Continued
[C. EMPLOYER AND FUNCTION]
EMPLOYER 1

Women

Total re­
porting

College or
university

1,885
305
204
101
205
43
25

717
162
131
31
24
33
7

Govern­
ment

Private
industry
758
69
32
37
93

228
56
33
23
79
8
17

Nonprofit
foundation
182
18
8
10

9

2
1

PERCENT DISTRIBUTION

100
100
100
100
100
100
100

38
53
64
31
12
77
28

10
6
4
10
4
5
4

40
23
16
37
45

12
18
16
23
39
19
68
FUNCTION 3

Total re­
porting

Research

Teaching

Consulting

1,879
303
203
100
205
43
21

900
132
54
78
123
27

392
118
114
4
14
13

505
43
31
12
53
2
7

82
10
4
6
15

27
14
15
12
26
5
33

4
3
2
6
7
2
19

10

Other

1

4

PERCENT DISTRIBUTION

100
100
100
100
100
100
100

48
44
27
78
60
63
48

21
39
56
4
7
30

1 Employer: Government—Federal (includes Armed Forces), State, local, international governmental
organizations. Private industry includes self-employed. Nonprofit foundation includes private hospitals
and clinics.
.
.
2 General includes general physics, theoretical physics, mechanics and heat, cryogenics, optics, and acous­
tics. Other includes electronics, electromagnetism, atomic and molecular phenomena, nuclear physics,
and solid state physics.
,. . , ,
. ,
,.
3 Function: Research includes development or field exploration. Consulting includes clinical practice;
engineering; economics or evaluation; technical writing; editing; patent or library work; design; inspec­
tion; clinical analysis; testing; analytical or process control; technical sales and service, or marketing and
purchasing. Other includes management or administration; production; operation, maintenance; construc­
tion or installation.
Note.—Percents do not necessarily add to 100 due to rounding.
Source: 1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel. National Science Foundation
(Washington, D.C.).




65

CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN CHEMISTS
ON THE REGISTER

Employment

Almost 1,900 women were reported employed as chemists on the
1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel.
Some 40 percent of the women chemists were employed by private
industry; about the same proportion, by colleges and universities;
and about 10 percent each by Government and nonprofit foundations.
Private industry was the primary employer of specialists in spectros­
copy and pharmaceutical chemistry. (See tables 5, 6A, and 6B.)
Function

Research was the primary activity of nearly half of the women
chemists, while teaching was primary for about one-fifth. Some­
what over 10 percent of the chemists reported inspection as their chief
function, and an equal proportion reported technical writing. Other
than in the colleges, where teaching predominated, research was the
leading activity for chemists. Even in the colleges, however, research
was the primary function of 40 percent of the chemists. Such activi­
ties as technical writing and inspection and testing, along with re­
search, were concentrated mainly in private industry.
Education

About two-thirds of the women chemists held graduate degrees,
over half of which were doctoral degrees. A high proportion of
those with a bachelor’s degree had taken graduate work. A substantial
majority held their highest degree in chemistry. Most of the re­
mainder had majored in biochemistry, biological sciences, or medical
sciences. Among the latter group there were a number of women with
M.D. degrees who were engaged primarily in research.
Educational attainment was highest among those employed by
colleges and lowest among those working for private industry. For
example, more than half of the college-employed held the doctorate;
about one-third of those employed by government or nonprofit insti­
tutions; and nearly one-sixth of those in private industry.
Age

The average (median) age of the chemists was 35; almost one-third
were still in their 20’s. The largest number of those under 30 worked
in private industry, and the largest number of those who were 50
66




Table 6A.—Women Chemists

of the 1964-55
Function

Register,

by

Employer

and

[Total reporting, 1,890]
Function 2

Employer 1
College
or uni­
versity

Non­
profit
Govern­ Private
industry organiza­
ment
tion

Research Teaching Consult­
ing

Other

Age:
Under 30 years-----30-49 years ______
50 years and over Median age___

130
363
176
40

66
116
39
35

278
372
68
32

56
92
22
34

295
467
94
33

49
185
125
45

173
245
63
33

10
45
22
44

Salary (1954-55):
Under $4,000 ......
$4,000-$5,999
$6,000 and over .....
Median salary

28
69
24
$4, 855

4
18
13
$5, 679

2
6
4
$5,333

7
13
7
$5, 350

33
84
35
$5,146

3
15
7
$4, 864

3
2
2
$5, 250

2
2
4
$6, 500

1
74
228
405
6

83
08
74
2

8
420
214
116

2
68
50
59
3

2
260
250
370
9

35
154
203

9
310
133
52
1

33
22
25
1

145

361

64
17

361
33

107
2
53
17

Degree:
No college or no deBachelor’s
Master’s . ___
Doctoral
M.D
Function:2

285
388
27
15

Consulting_____

1 Employer: Government—Federal (includes Armed Forces), State, local, international governmental
organizations. Private industry includes self-employed. Nonprofit foundation includes private hospitals
and clinics.
. ,
2 Function: Besearch includes development or field exploration. Consulting includes clinical practice;
engineering; economics or evaluation; technical writing; editing; patent or library work; design; inspec­
tion; clinical analysis; testing; analytical or process control; technical sales and service, or marketing and
purchasing. Other includes management or administration; production; operation, maintenance; con­
struction or installation.
Table

6B.—Women

Chemists

on the

1954-55

Register,

Degree

by

No
college,
or no
degree

Bach­
elor’s

Mas­
ter’s

Doc­
toral

M.D.

1

282
296
38
31

178
259
94
34

69
381
171
41

2
6
3
41

1

5
9
1
$4, 416

16
16
2
$4,125

18
76
41
$5,411

1

594
23

471
25

586
53

3

16
9

30
35

9
4

Educational major:
Chemistry and biochemOther sciences, mathematics, or engineering._

$6,000
and Median
salary
over

1
4
4
$5, 750

Age:

$4,000-$5,999

Salary

Salary (1954-55)

Degree

Salary (1954-55):

and

Under $4,000­
$4,000
5,999

24
62
13
35

1
30
13
43

26
11
11

19
17
3
30

67
31

29
13

$5, 220
4, 868

3

9

6

5, 400

Source: 1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel. National Science Foundation,
(Washington, D.C.).




67

Women Chemists on the Register—Continued
years or over were in colleges and universities. This reflects in part
the higher levels of education needed for teaching.
Salary

Only a very small number (200) of the women chemists responded
to the salary section of the Register survey. For those who reported,
the average (median) salary was above $5,100 a year in 1954-55.
Because of the small numbers involved, the salary differentials which
appear in tables 6A and 6B are not very meaningful. However,
since only very limited information on salaries is available, the data
from the 1951—55 Register have been included here.
CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN PHYSICISTS
ON THE REGISTER

Just over 300 women physicists were reported on the 1954-55
National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel. Two-thirds
of the women physicists worked in general physics,3 and the remaining
101 specialized in such areas as electronics and nuclear physics. (See
tables 5, 7A, and 7B.)
Employment

More than half of the women were employed by colleges and were,
for the most part, general physicists rather than specialists. Almost
one-fourth worked for private industry, and a majority of these were
specialists. Government employed almost one-fifth of the total,
largely in general physics. The remainder worked for nonprofit
foundations.
Function

Seven out of ten of the college-employed physicists were engaged
primarily in teaching; most of the remainder, in research. Research,
as a primary activity, was more common for the specialists in colleges
3 “General” physics, as used on the Register and noted in table
includes general phys­
ics, theoretical physics, mechanics and heat, cryogenics, optics, and acoustics. Specialists,
as used here, refers to “other” physicists in the Register who specialized in electronics,
electromagnetism, atomic and molecular phenomena, nuclear physics, and solid state
physics.

68




Table 7A.—Women Physicists

on the 1954-55
Function

Register,

by

Employer

and

[Total reporting, 305]
Function 2

Employer >
College
or uni­
versity

Govern­ Private Nonprofit
Consult­
industry organiza­ Research Teaching
ing
ment
tion

Other

Age:
Under 30 years ___
30-49 years ______
50 years and over.
Median age___

35
71
51
42

18
28
6
32

26
34
4
32

4
11
3
35

51
65
10
32

17
51
46
45

14
20
6
33

8
1
38

Salary (1954-551:
Under $4,000
$4,000-$5,999
$6,000 and over .. _
Median salary..

38
62
34
$4, 829

1
30
24
$5, 848

1
34
30
$5, 861

2
6
8
$6,000

10
63
50
$5, 713

29
43
25
$4, 722

2
21
16
$5, 682

1
4
4
$5, 833

2
20
69
65
1

1
19
20
16

3
28
20
15

7
2
9

3
40
36
51

1
13
56
43
1

1
16
17
8

1
5
1
2

39
114
5
3

38
1
14
2

45
3
18
3

Degree:
No college or no
Bachelor's
Master’s_____ ____
Doctoral_______
M.D______
Function:2

10
6
2

1 Employer: Government—Federal (includes Armed Forces), State, local, international governmental
organizations. Private industry includes self-employed. Nonprofit foundation includes private hospitals
and clinics.
2 Function: Research includes development or field exploration. Consulting includes clinical practice;
engineering; economics or evaluation: technical writing; editing; patent or library work; design; inspection;
clinical analysis; testing; analytical or process control; technical sales and service, or marketing and pur­
chasing. Other includes management or administration; production; operation, maintenance; construction
or installation.
Table

7B.—Women

Physicists

on the

1954-55 Register,

by

Age:

Under 30 years
30-49 years
50 years and over______
Median age________

Master's

Doctoral

M.D.

31
49
25
36

13
60
30
42

1

12
44
12
$4, 917

21
47
29
$5,188

7
34
51
$6, 238

2

45

77

80

1

19
4

24
3

14
5

Salary (1954-55):
Under $4,000
2
$4,000 $5,999 ______ __
2
$0,000 and over
2
Median salary $5, 500
Educational major:
Physics
Other sciences, mathe­
matics, or engineering..
Nonscientific

Salary

38
30
4
291

Under $4,000$4,000
5,999

$6,000
and Median
salary
over

1

1
1

Bachelor's

and

Salary (1954-55)

Degree
No college or
no
degree

Degree

50
56
20
33

10
59
22
39

36
1

17
15
9
32

89

63

$5, 392

4

29
5

18
7

5, 375
6,250

Source: 1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel. National Science Foundation
(Washington, D.C.).




69

Women Physicists on the Register—Continued
than for the general physicists. Similarly, the primary activity of
the majority of physicists in private industry and government was
research, although some were engaged primarily in technical writing,
inspection, or management.
Education

Three out of four of the women physicists had taken their highest
degree in physics, and a majority of the remainder reported mathe­
matics or chemistry. Graduate degrees were held by three out of
four; and the number of doctoral degrees was almost as high as the
number of master’s degrees.
Although graduate training is deemed important by all types of
employers of physicists, only about one-half of the women physicists
in private industry had attained a graduate degree. By contrast,
almost 85 percent of those employed by colleges and almost 64 percent
of the women physicists in government held graduate degrees. The
highest proportion of physicists with doctoral degrees was found in
colleges and universities, followed next in order by government and
private industry.
Age

Half of the physicists were under 36 years of age, but as might be
expected in view of the fairly recent development of some specialties
in this field, the specialists were much younger on the average (32
years) than the general physicists (41 years). The women employed
by colleges were, on the average, 10 years older than those in private
industry or government.
Salary

The average (median) salary for all the women physicists who
reported their salaries was over $5,400 a year; that for specialists
was close to $5,900. College-employed physicists averaged about
$1,000 a year below physicists employed by private industry and by
government. About one out of five of the women physicists earned
at least $7,000. Average salaries increased with each level of educa­
tion; thus the median salary of bachelor’s degree holders was more
than $200 below that of physicists with the master’s degree, and more
than $1,300 below that of the holders of a doctoral degree.
70




CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN GEOLOGISTS
ON THE REGISTER

Slightly more than 200 women geologists were reported on the
1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel. (See
tables 5, 8A, and 8B.)
#►
Employment
The highest proportion (45 percent) of the geologists worked for
private industry, with the next largest group (almost 40 percent)
employed by government. Much smaller numbers worked for col­
leges and universities (about 12 percent) and for nonprofit founda­
tions (4 percent). Geologists specializing in petroleum and natural
gas were employed primarily in private industry. A few such
specialists were self-employed. Most of those in other branches of
geology were employed by government agencies.
Function

Research or field exploration engaged a majority (three out of five)
of the geologists. Slightly more than 15 percent were doing tech­
nical writing. Teaching, management or administration, and con­
sulting work each accounted for about 7 percent of the total, and a
small number were in inspection or production work. In private
industry, research work predominated; in government, research and
technical writing; in colleges, teaching and research.
Education

Some 85 percent had taken their highest degree in geological
sciences. Over half held graduate degrees, and nearly one out of five
had attained the doctoral degree.
All the geologists employed by colleges held graduate degrees.
Next in educational attainment were those employed by nonprofit
foundations, followed by government. Whereas 44 percent of the
government geologists had attained only the bachelor’s degree, about
60 percent of the geologists in private industry held only the bache­
lor’s degree. Further, more than twice as many government geologists
as geologists in private industry held the Ph.D.




71

Table 8A.—Women Geologists

on the 1954-55
Function

Register,

Employer

by

and

[Total reporting, 205]
Function 2

Employer *
College
or university

Govern- Private Nonprofit
industry organi- Research
ment
zation

Teaching

Consulting

Other

Age:
Under 30 years
30-49 years
50 years and over__
Median age

3
12
9
46

27
39
10
35

43
42
7
31

2
2
3
44

47
60
12
33

2
7
5
45

23
21
8
34

3
7
4
45

Salary (1954-55):
Under $4.000
$4,000-$5,999
$6,000 and over
Median salary..

10
7
6
$5, 083

10
40
23
$5, 036

5
39
29
$5, 643

3
2
2
$4, 500

9
56
41
$5, 571

4
5
4
$5, 375

12
19
11
$4, 750

3
8
4
$4, 900

11
13

35
30
14

1
54
30
7

1
2
5
1

2
58
40
22

1
6
7

27
23
3

5
7
3

7
13
3
1

29
8

71
1
18
3

3
3

Degree:
No college or no
Master’s
Doctoral______ .
M.D____________
Function:2

42

3

1 Employer: Government—Federal (includes Armed Forces), State, local, international governmental
organizations. Private industry includes self-employed. Nonprofit foundation includes private hospitals
and clinics.
2 Function: Research includes development or field exploration. Consulting includes clinical practice;
engineering; economics or evaluation; technical writing; editing; patent or library work; design; inspection;
clinical analysis; testing; analytical or process control; technical sales and service, or marketing and pur­
chasing. Other includes management or administration; production; operation, maintenance: construction
or installation.

Table

8B.—Women

Geologists

on the

1954—55 Register,

by

Degree

Degree
No
college
or no
degree

and

Salary

Salary 0954-55)

Bach­
elor’s

Mas­
ter’s

Doc­
toral

51
31
5
29

23
40
12
35

Salary (1954-55):
Under $4,000_______________ _
12
$4,000-15,999 _______________
46
$6,000 and over_____ _________
17
Median salary $4, 879

13
30
25
$5, 471
66

26

6
2

8
2

8
1

$6,000

3
12
18
$6, 214

83

$4,000
to
5,999

23
12
47

Age:
Under 30 years________
1
30-49 years
50 years and over____
__
Median age-...........................

Educational major:
Geology______________
1
Other sciences, mathe­
matics, or engineering
Nonscientific__________ _______

M.D.

Under
$4,000

and
over

53

Median
salary

$5,389
5.300
4.500

Source: 1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel. National Science Foundation
(Washington, D.C.).

72




Women Geologists on the Register—Continued
Age

The average age of geologists was 34, with the greatest
tion in the age group 25 to 30. On the average, those
industry were youngest, followed by those in government.
employed by colleges (all of whom held graduate degrees)
mature, averaging about 46 years of age.

concentra­
in private
Geologists
were more
Salary

The average (median) salary for women geologists was just over
$5,300 a year. Average salaries were highest in private industry and
lowest in nonprofit organizations. The higher average in private
industry reflected in part the higher salaries for petroleum and
natural gas specialists, a few of whom received $12,500 or more a
year. Although the averages for geologists employed by colleges
and universities and by government were almost the same, a much
higher proportion of the college-employed reported salaries in the
lowest range.
CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN ASTRONOMERS
ON THE REGISTER

r

Employment

Colleges and universities employed three-fourths of the 43 women
astronomers reported on the 1954-55 National Register of Scientific
and Technical Personnel. Most of the remainder worked for the
Government; a few worked for nonprofit foundations. None was
reported in private industry. (See tables 5, 9A, and 9B.)
Function

Research was the predominant activity reported by astronomers
in educational institutions as well as in government and in nonprofit
foundations. Almost as many of the astronomers employed by edu­
cational institutions were engaged in teaching as in research; some
did both.
Education

The typical woman astronomer on the Register had achieved a
graduate degree and had majored in astronomy. Four-fifths of the
women astronomers had taken their highest degree in that science or
in astrophysics; a few had majored in the related field of mathematics.




73

Table 9A.—Women Astronomers
and

on the 1954-55
Function

Register,

by

Employer

[Total reporting, 43]
Function 2

Employer 1
College
or uni­
versity

Age:
Under 30 years........
30-49 years --------50 years and over...
Median age___
Salary (1954-55):
Under $4.000
$4,000-$5,999
$6,000 and over.......
Median salary._

Govern- Private
ment
industry

7
15

4
4

45

Nonprofit
organi­
zation

30

10

1
1
1

12
8

13
5
$4, 273

Degree:
No college or no
degree...... .............
Bachelor's___
Master’s
Doctoral..................
M.D
_________
Function:2
Research
Teaching
Consulting
Other

Research Teaching

1

4
3

3

17

1
7
5
48

5
34
9
14

____1

1

Other

1

3
6

2

3
$4,500

$4,500

$5, 333

10

10
11

Con­
sulting

1

2

1

18
7 ________
2
13 ...................................................
1
1

1 _______ ____
____ _________ ___

1 Employer: Government—Federal (includes Armed Forces), State, local, international governmental
organizations. Private industry includes self-employed. Nonprofit foundation includes private hospitals
and clinics.
2 Function: Pesearch includes development or field exploration. Consulting includes clinical practice;
engineering; economics or evaluation; technical writing: editing; patent or library work; design: inspection;
clinical analysis; testing; analytical or process control; technical sales and service, or marketing and pur­
chasing. Other includes management or administration; production; operation, maintenance; construction
or installation.
Table

9B.—Women

Astkonomers

on the
Salary

1954-55

Register,

Educational major:
Astronomy or astroOther sciences, mathe-

Mas­
ter’s

Doc­
toral

5
2

3
7
5
39

3
10
5
46

3
4

6
7

$4,500

Salary (1954-55):

Bach­
elor’s

28

Age:

Degree

and

Salary (1954-55):

Degree
No
college
or no
degree

by

$4, 250

13

Under $4,000­
$4,000
5,999

$6,000
and Median
salary
over

3
9
5
$4,688

1

M.D.

3
1

5
2
5
38

6
13
3
38

2
3
53

16

8

16

5

1

1
2

4

$4,650
4,750

Source: 1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel. National Science Foun­
dation (Washington, D. C.).

74




Women Astronomers on the Register—Continued
Almost half of the total and virtually all of those teaching held doc­
toral degrees. All of those who held only the bachelor’s degree
were engaged in research, either for government or for colleges.
Age

Women astronomers as a group were older than women in the other
sciences covered in this report. Less than half were under 35 years
of age; the majority were over 40. Teachers and other holders of
the doctorate were among the older group, while government research
workers (most of them possessors of the bachelor’s degree only)
were among the younger group. Half of the latter were between 25
and 30 years of age.
Salary

On the average, salaries of astronomers were lower than those of
any other group of scientists included in this report. The average
(median) salary for women astronomers was just over $4,500 a year,
with those employed by colleges generally reporting on the low side.
Only a few teachers reported salaries much above the overall average,
despite the fact that most of them held doctoral degrees and were
over 40 years of age. The lowest salaries, however, were reported
by holders of the bachelor’s degree and the highest, by holders of
doctorates. Otherwise, there was considerable overlapping of sala­
ries among the various degree levels.
CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN METEOROLOGISTS
ON THE REGISTER

Employment

Over two-thirds of the 26 women meteorologists reported on the
1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel
worked for government. Most of the remainder were employed by
colleges and universities. None was reported working for private
industry. (See tables 5, 10A, and 10B.)
Function

Consulting (here including technical writing and testing) was the
principal activity of meteorologists employed by government. Most
of the remainder were engaged in research. Virtually all the collegeemployed meteorologists were engaged primarily in research; none
was teaching.




75

Table 10A.—Women Meteorologists
and

on the

1954-55 Register,

Employer

by

Function

[Total reporting, 26]
Function 2

Employer 1
College
or uni­
versity

Age:

Govern­ Private
industry
ment

Non­
profit
organi­
zation

1
4
2
46

1
9
1
36

2
4
1
$5,167

15
2
$4, 773

2
4
1

5
5
2
1

6

3

Median salary..

Other

1

1

$4,000-$5,999______

Con­
sulting

1
3

1
8
1
34

1

6
3

50 years and over.
Salary (1954-55):

Research Teaching

Degree:
No college or no

M. D
Function:2

1

1

2
1
39

38

2
6
2
$5,000

1
6

2
2
$5,500

$4, 833

2
2
4
2

1
3
1

1
1
1
1

1 Employer: Government— Federal (includes Armed Forces), State, local, international governmental
organizations. Private industry includes self-employed. Nonprofit foundation includes private hospitals
and clinics.
2 Function: Research includes development or field exploration. Consulting includes clinical practice;
engineering; economics or evaluation; technical writing; editing; patent or library work; design; inspection;
clinical analysis; testing; analytical or process control; technical sales and service, or marketing and purchas­
ing. Other includes management or administration; production; operation, maintenance; construction or
installation.

Table 10B.—Women Meteorologists

on the

1954-55 Register,

by

Degree

and

Salary
Salary (1954-55)

Degree
No
college
or no
degree

Bach­
elor’s

Mas­
ter’s

Doc­
toral

M.D.

Under
$4,000

$4,000
to
5,999

$6,000

and
over

Median
salary

Age:
Under 30 years_
_
30-49 years______
50 years and over..
Median age...
Salary (1954-55):
Under $4,000 ..___
$4,000-$5,999______
$6,000 and over___
Median salary.
Educational major:
Meteorology__________
Other sciences, mathe­
matics, or engineering..
Nonscientific..............

1
4
$4,400

$5,125

1
$5,333

3
$6, 750
$5,500
4,625
5,000

Source: 1954-55 National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel. National Science Founda­
tion (Washington, D.C.).

76




Women Meteorologists on the Register—Continued
Education

The women meteorologists on the Register had majored in a wide
variety of subjects. Less than half of the women had taken their
highest degree in meteorology. Almost as many had majored in
such fields as mathematics, chemistry, or one of the biological or other
physical sciences. A relatively high proportion, however, had
majored in nonscientific fields. Although only nine held graduate
degrees (most of them master’s), many had taken some work beyond
the bachelor’s degree. More than one out of four had attended col­
lege but had not received a degree. Most of the college-employed
held graduate degrees, while most of those employed by the govern­
ment had only a bachelor’s degree or no degree.
Age

The women meteorologists were a fairly young group; two-thirds
were under 40 years of age. All of those who had not completed col­
lege were in their thirties. On the whole, those employed by colleges
were older than those in government.
Salary

Salaries were generally modest in relation to those of the other
women scientists in this report. The average (median) salary re­
ported by women meteorologists was just over $4,800 a year. Al­
though a few college-employed meteorologists reported salaries in the
lowest bracket, and one government meteorologist reported a salary
in the $9,000 to $10,000 bracket, the average college meteorologist was
paid more than the average government meteorologist. Highest sal­
aries were reported by the holders of doctoral degrees and lowest, by
those who had not been graduated from college.




77
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1959

O—511603


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102