Archive for June 7, 2019

From Helsinki to Maynooth

Posted in Biographical with tags , on June 7, 2019 by telescoper

So here I am, back in Maynooth once more, one more Euclid Consortium meeting over and one more coffee cup added to the Departmental collection..

Euclid 2019 is still going on as I write, but I had to leave this morning in order to get back in time for an Examination Board meeting this afternoon. The morning flight to Dublin with Finnair left at 8.15 (local time) from Helsinki and I was up at 5.30 to make sure I got to the airport on time. That means I was up at 3.30am Dublin time, so I’m more than a little tired. I hope the meeting doesn’t go on too long!


P.S. Next year’s Euclid Consortium meeting will be in Sitges….!!

Equality, Diversity and Euclid

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on June 7, 2019 by telescoper

So here I am, back in my hotel, after the second pleasant wine and food reception of the week – this time hosted by the University of Helsinki. I have to leave early tomorrow morning to get back to Maynooth so I’m not among those going for dinner afterwards.

It’s been a very satisfying meeting, in terms of scientific content, organization and even the weather which has been warm and sunny throughout.

That said I feel obliged to mention one less than satisfactory episode which happened this afternoon. Euclid is a very large consortium working on a complex mission. That requires certain management structures to be put in place, including how to deal with the many scientific publications that will hopefully result from the Euclid mission to be as fair as possible to everyone working on the various projects as well as ensuring the scientific quality of resulting papers.

This afternoon a very distinguished senior member of the Euclid Consortium presented an overview of the publication policy on behalf of the Editorial Board which included this slide:

Not knowing all the names I didn’t think twice about the various panels until at the end of the talk a member of the audience pointed out that none of the individuals named are female.

I wasn’t alone in being surprised that such a situation had arisen, especially since Euclid has a Diversity Committee. But what made matters worse was the apparently dismissive response of the speaker, which caused a sharp intake of breath around the auditorium, and left many with the impression that the Consortium needs to look at whether unconscious or other bias might have been involved in the selection of these members. The impression given may have been inadvertent but appearances matter, and I know I’m not the only person who was troubled by what went on this afternoon. I sincerely hope the Diversity Committee looks into this issue as soon as possible.

UPDATE: 21st June 2019. I understand that this issue has been looked into in depth by the Euclid Consortium and active measures are being taken to improve the gender balance in future, which is a very positive outcome.