March 19, 2005 12:33:00
The Environment, Science, Technology and Health Hub of the US Embassy at Budapest hosted a “Young Women and Science” Roundtable on March 7, 2005, in honor of International Women’s Day, which is March 8. The Roundtable brought together established women scientists, as well as young students and researchers who plan to make their careers in science.
As 2005 has been named the “World Year of Physics,” in order to commemorate Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity published in 1905, the Hub decided to celebrate this great event by recognizing that in today’s world more and more young women are entering the field of Physics, as well as the other sciences.
The Hub introduced young female scientists, some of whom plan to specialize in Physics, to successful senior female researchers, several of whom were recipients of grants from the Hungary-U.S. Joint Science Fund. These women discussed their experiences and careers with their younger counterparts, and offered opportunities for mentoring and internships.
Hub Director Karyn Posner-Mullen opened the event, and noted that there is a growing interest in women who pursue the hard sciences, including mathematics. Studies into how men and women learn, and whether there is equal ability in math and sciences has caused a lot of controversy over the past few months in the United States, and this Roundtable offered the perfect venue for discussion.
After her welcome remarks, Ambassador George H. Walker greeted the young scientists, students from the Hungarian Research Student Association, led by Prof. Peter Csermely, who was the 2004 recipient of the EU’s Descartes Award for Science Communication. Prof. Csermely discussed his network theories and women’s role in society that are instrumental to cohesion.
Dr. István Mezei from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also took part, discussing Hungarian-American cooperation in the sciences. Dr. Andrea Peto, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies from the University of Miskolc and Central European University added interesting points concerning how men and women learn, and the environment they encounter in schools.
Dr. Katalin Kamaras and Dr.Sabina Torok both indicated that their very successful scientific careers were enhanced by having families and, in fact, both of Dr. Torok’s daughters are scientists themselves. The students who participated, Katalin Sulyok, Anna Sótér, Judit Lantos, and Bettina Lorántfy made excellent points about their own experiences with science classes in their schools and the end result of the Roundtable was to open up the dialogue about science for women in the past, present and future.