Ursula Keller wins “Swiss Nobel” Marcel Benoist Prize- for pioneering work in ultrafast lasers
MUST2022 Conference- a great success!
New scientific highlights- by MUST PIs Wörner, Chergui, and Richardson
FELs of Europe prize for Jeremy Rouxel- “Development or innovative use of advanced instrumentation in the field of FELs”
Ruth Signorell wins Doron prizefor pioneering contributions to the field of fundamental aerosol science
New FAST-Fellow Uwe Thumm at ETH- lectures on Topics in Femto- and Attosecond Science
International Day of Women and Girls in Science- SSPh asked female scientists about their experiences
New scientific highlight- by MUST PIs Milne, Standfuss and Schertler
EU XFEL Young Scientist Award for Camila Bacellar,beamline scientist and group leader of the Alvra endstation at SwissFEL
Prizes for Giulia Mancini and Rebeca Gomez CastilloICO/IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Optics & Ernst Haber 2021
Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to RESOLV Member Benjamin List- for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis
NCCR MUST at Scientifica 2021- Lightning, organic solar cells, and virtual molecules

OPN Column: Reflections in Diversity

OPN Column March 2020

A Path to Equity in Asia-Pacific,  by Judith Dawes, Cushia McGoverin, Frédérique Vanholsbeeck, Keith Gordon, Kae Nemoto, and Dawn Tan.

In November 2019, a diversity and equity panel at the Asia-Pacific Optical Sensors (APOS) Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, afforded a unique opportunity to share resources and initiatives to promote equity, diversity and inclusion with people from across the Asia-Pacific region. In that region, the situation considering gender equity in particular is somewhat harsher than in Europe or the United States. more

Authors: OSA Fellow Judith Dawes is with MQ Photonics Research Centre, Macquarie University, Australia. OSA members Cushla McGoverin (+c.s6mcp-goe4vec-rih'n@g0aub$ckb$lah, and Frédérique Vanholsbeeck are with the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies (DWC) and the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Keith Gordon is with DWC and the University of Otago, New Zealand. OSA member Weitao Liu is with Fudan University, China. Kae Nemoto is with the National Institute of Informatics, Japan. OSA member Dawn Tan is with the Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore.  

OPN Column December 2019

Some Inspiration for Future Professors - book published by Elsevier, May 2019

Book review: a recently published book by Anna Garry explores the experiences and accomplishments of 23 women professors

As the outreach officer for the National Center for Competence in Research Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, Anna Garry has had occasion to talk to many exceptional women in academia, and she felt that their stories warranted a wider audience. To this end, Garry published a book, “Inspiring Conversations with Women Professors: The Many Routes to Career Success,” earlier this year. In the following lightly edited interview excerpts from Garry’s book, she shines a light on the achievements and unique career experiences of three women professors: OSA Fellow Ursula Keller, OSA member Rachel Grange and 2019 OSA Ambassador Clara Saraceno. more

OPN Column September 2019

Let's Fix the System, Patrica Rankin

Instead of teaching women how to survive in today’s flawed STEM culture, Patricia Rankin suggests developing leaders who foster a collaborative and inclusive environment. more

Patricia Rankin (7Pam%trl3icm'ian$.Rq3anv4kie%n@y,cos#lon4rac5doe*.en)duu) is a professor of physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA.

OPN Column February 2019

What does Gender have to do with Physics? Tomas Brage

A physics professor and expert in gender equity and equal opportunity advises abandoning a purely objective view of science to address bias.

Tomas Brage (/tow6mal*s.z7brb-agc0e@n3fyh*sim-k.m-luw'.sl+ey) is a professor at the Department of Physics at Lund University, Sweden, a steering member of the thematic group for gender of the LERU universities and an expert advisor to several European networks. more

OPN Column November 2018

Treat Each other Respectfully, Renate Schubert

The ETH Zurich RESPECT campaign supports its community by raising awareness of problematic behaviors.

Professor Renate Schubert, chair of the Economics Department and head of the Office of Equal Opportunities
at ETH Zurich, outlines an newly launched RESPECT initiative at ETH Zürich to encourage respectful interactions in the university environment, by contrasting respectful and disrespectful behavior directly. More

OPN Column September 2018

GENERA: Towards Equity in Physics, Thomas Berghöfer

A European consortium, GENERA, aims to increase the presence of talented women in physics by monitoring and improving gender equity initiatives.

Thomas Berghöfer (/the& the GENERA project coordinator, based at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY),  discusses the origins of th GENERA project, its central aims to identify the issues behind the troubling trend of the declining number of women physicists at higher career levels. More

OPN Column March 2018

Being the CEO of your Career
, Jie Qiao

Jie Qiao, an associate professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology (New York), gave an interview to OPN talking about the importance of women in science taking an entrepreneurial approach to advancing their careers.  More

OPN Column October 2017

Challenging a Culture of Inequality, Sile Nic Chormaic


Síle Nic Chormaic is a Physics Professor at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University. In 2012 she moved to Okinawa. She presents progressive initiatives at OIST that have tackled some deep-rooted gender inequities.  More

OPN Column July / August 2017

A Journey to Equality and Diversity
, Frederique Vanholsbeeck

Frederique Vanholsbeeck, a Senior Lecturer in Biophotonics at the University of Auckland, presents a New Zealand university's efforts to make its physics department welcoming and fair to all.

She argues that an important milestone in the Physics department at the University of Auckland was the creation of its Equity Working Group in 2015.  More

OPN Column February 2017

Building a Humane Workplace
, Athene Donald

Athene Donald, Physics Professor at University of Cambridge, argues that, to create successful labs in an era of increasing diversity, leaders need training in group dynamics. More

OPN Column December 2016

Retaining Postdoc Mothers in an Academic Career, Ursula Keller and Anna Garry

Many female postdocs do not return to academia after their position ends. One way to increase retention could be fellowships specifically geared to the needs of postdocs who are also mothers.

Here, we introduce the idea of competitive fellowships for postdoc mothers that enable them to pay for a Ph.D. student or early postdoc researcher, whom they will then supervise while in the early stages of motherhood. Such grants, we believe, could help these scientists maintain ties to their labs, their research, and their academic career path during a period of significant personal transition.

Letter to OPN Editor and authors response published, March 2017

Update 2019: Department of Physics, ETH Zürich has, since 2018, introduced a program: Fellowships for Postdoc Mothers, whose aim is to fund a PhD student for four years (with the context of the professors group) to support women pursuing an academic career and simultaneously starting a family. Full details on the fellowships and application procedure can be found on the D-PHYS website here

Ursula Keller, Director of NCCR MUST and physics professor at ETH Zürich and Dr. Anna Garry, NCCR MUST Outreach Officer, ETH Zürich outline the fellowships designed to retain women scientist in an academic career. More

OPN Column April 2016

Gender and Science in South Korea, Junga Hwang and Hyunjoo Kim

Junga Hwang, Senior Scientist, at the Korean Astronomy and Space Institute and Hyunjoo Kim, postdoc, Institute of Applied Physics, University of Bern talk about gender inequality and pursuing a career in science in and out of South Korea.

OPN Column February 2016

Finding Success as a Dual Career Couple, Natalie Banerji

Natalie Banerji, Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Fribourg, Switzerland talks about how "A scientific career in academia can present a young researcher with the challenge of juggling work life and personal life—especially when their partner is also an academic, working in the same discipline."

OPN Column June 2015

Women in Physics in South Africa: Are We There Yet?, Iyabo Usman

Physics lecturer and researcher Iyabo Usman discusses the challenges to achieving gender equality in physics education and careers.

Research has shown that a nation’s rapid socio-economic development depends on the caliber of its women. South Africa, like many other countries, is experiencing such a profound underrepresentation of women in physics that national initiatives have been established to correct the deficit. More

OPN Column April 2015

The Times they are 'a Changing, Lesley Cohen
Lesley Cohen, a physics professor at Imperial College London, provides a perspective on the cultural changes supporting gender equality at universities in the United Kingdom.

Professor Lesley Cohen outlines how the UK is undergoing something of a revolution in the area of gender equality in science. She explains how the recent leadership changes at Imperial College has resulted in declared support for improving gender diversity and for the Athena Swan Award scheme in the UK. More

OPN Column December 2014

Increasing Minority Participation in University STEM programs, Milton Dean Slaughter
A proposed university program could increase the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees earned by women and minorities in the United States.

Milton D. Slaughter is Professor of Physics Emeritus and chair and Department Head Emeritus of the University of New Orleans, USA; and an affiliate visiting professor of physics at Florida International University, USA. More

OPN Column September 2014

Multi-Tiered Role Models in Career Workshops, Anna Garry and Ursula Keller

Career workshops using multi-tiered role models can support and advance minority scientists at all career stages.

Women and minority scientists remain a rarity in the scientific workplace. A female physicist may still be the only woman researcher or project manager in an optics company, or she may be a Ph.D. student in a physics department with only one or two female professors. In this sense, minority scientists (unlike those from the majority culture) gain no everyday experience of observing, interacting and learning from colleagues as they take each career step to leadership. There is no innate path for them to envisage their own future in a scientific career. In this article  we present our experience of designing career workshops for female scientists in physics and chemistry. more

Anna Garry (6anl5nag,.gi,arn'ryc9@pw+hyg+s.b7etv2hzo4.ck5hf) is the NCCR MUST Outreach Officer and is based at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. OSA Fellow Ursula Keller is a professor of physics at ETH Zurich and director of NCCR MUST.

OPN Bright Futures Career Blog Q&A: Anna Garry

Anna Garry answers OPN's questions on key issues for women scientists working in academia and industry.


OPN Column March 2014

Establishing a Women Professors Forum, as case study in establishing a professional network for advancing women scientists, Ursula Keller and Anna Garry.

Ursula Keller is a Professor of Physics, ETH Zurich and Director of NCCR MUST. Dr Anna Garry is the Outreach Officer for NCCR MUST, ETH Zurich

Ursula Keller and Anna Garry outline the process of, and key factors in, the establishment of a successful Women Professors Forum at ETH Zurich, whose membership is now more than 80% of the ETH women professors  More

OPN Column February 2014

Making Physics Cool, Getting past misconceptions to get young minorities interested in Physics, Brandon James Johnson, has a master’s degree from Stanford University and is a Ph.D. candidate in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech. He is the NSBE 2014 Convention Planning Committee Chair.

Brandon Johnson outlines the situation in inner city schools in the US and the restricting stereotypes that make young black men reluctant to consider careers in physics or science  More

OPN Viewpoint October 2013

The Challenges of Addressing Minorities in a Majority Culture,
Elsa Garmire (5gaj#rmt+irg%e@f3dax-rtc(mow1utl8h.p)edh6uq) is the Sydney E. Junkins
Professor, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., U.S.A., and a former OSA president.

Professor Elsa Garmire begins a dialogue on how to strengthen the Optics community by learning to understand - and embrace - our differences. More

OPN Column May 2013: Reflections in Diversity

Combatting Stereotype Threat, Anthony Johnson talks about an insidious obstacle for women and minority scientists.

Anthony M. Johnson (+amt-j@b* is an OSA Fellow and past president (2002). He is a professor of physics and computer science and electrical engineering and director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, U.S.A.  More

OPN Viewpoint September 2012

Reflecting on Career/Life Balance, Jannick Rolland is the Brian J. Thompson professor of optical engineering at the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester,  N.Y., U.S.A.

Professor Rolland discusses how "As our lifestyles become more complex, all of us—whether men or women—must develop strategies to balance our career with our personal lives. More

OPN Column September 2012: Reflections in Diversity

A Formula for Success by Renetta and Damon Tull, September 2012 Dr Renetta Tull is Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Development at the University of Maryland Baltimore. Damon Tull is a technology professional in Washington DC, USA


Scientists often struggle with how to improve diversity in their field, in part because the problem seems overwhelmingly complex and multi-faceted. Here Renetta and Damon Tull attempt to lead women, minorities and others toward success using a tool that many physicists love best: the equation. More

OPN Column May 2012: Reflections in Diversity

Uncovering Hidden Biases in Optics by Elsa Garmire, Sydney E Junkins 1887, Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth College in Dartmouth, N.H:, USA. She was Optical Society of America's president in 1993, May 2012


Professor Elsa Garmire poses the question  "How can you fight what you cannot see, even within yourself?  She argues that "Hidden biases can be more damaging to minority scientists and engineers than open bias - which is more easily identified and therefore discounted." More

OPN Column March 2012: Reflections in Diversity

On Minority Women Scientists: At the Culture-Gender Crossroads, Professor Anthony Johnson, Director of Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, USA, March 2012

Professor Johnson argues that as we engage in efforts to increase diversity among scientists, culture is an important part of the conversation. More

OPN Column January 2012 : Reflections in Diversity

On the Power of Small Initiatives, Prof Malgosia Kaczmarek, University of Southampton, January 2012


In this column piece Professor Kaczmarek writes about retaining women in science, and all scientists, and writes about the initiatives at Southampton University: More

OPN Column Launch: Reflections in Diversity

Promoting Diversity in Optics: A Column is Born, Prof Ursula Keller and Prof Anthony Johnson, September 2011


OSA Board member Ursula Keller and OSA past president Anthony Johnson are pleased to announce a new space in OPN that will explore how the optics community can broaden its own spectrum. More

OSA Viewpoint: Time to Try Harder

Retaining Talented Woman Scientists: Ursula Keller, February 2011

As a tenured female professor with a spouse and children, I look back on my career and find that the issue of women in science is much more complicated than I had initially thought. More


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