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XeonTheMGPony
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[*] posted on 8-4-2018 at 05:12


Quote: Originally posted by Reboot  
I wonder.

Chemistry is inherently dangerous; perhaps that's an element that makes it more attractive to men (who tend to score higher on scales of novelty seeking and lower on avoidance of physical danger.)

Chemistry is (at least for me) very much a 3D visualization process, which men seem to be somewhat stronger at than women.

It's hard to separate genetic from cultural factors. My suspicion is that in a society that was perfectly socially balanced and neutral we would still see a trend toward more men in chemistry, but I can't claim that's more than a hunch.


You find this in Sweden where there is the utmost freedom (Or rather was) that when absolute equality of opportunity is offered, the genders diverge heavily on their choices Men concentrate in the sciences and women dominate the social services and medicine realms.

Yes there are absolute differences between men and woman, yes there are only 2 Genders Welcome to reality (I may grudgingly accept a third as "Non defined")

We need to get back to being a society that values individualism and equality of opportunity, this is the only way you get happy productive people for the most part.

You notice how few complain about the lack of woman garbage truck drivers, or coal miners? Oh I know there is a very few of them, but not allot! Just some thing to ponder ;)
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[*] posted on 17-4-2018 at 14:14


I'll second the lack of women in mechanical engineering. Heavily loaded with men. My senior design group had almost all the women of my graduating class (4). I remember in freshmen physics one female student taking it for the second time and still not passing. She was transferring to pharmacy when she failed again.

As for the USA, it is a rare event that women aren't given opportunities. They just choose different and that's okay, they will live a happy life. My happiness is in crawling into the mind and teasing out abstract thoughts that capture reality. Different kind of good.

On the home front, my daughter will quickly outpace my son, though he has his heart set on science. But I don't know what will be her interest.
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[*] posted on 18-4-2018 at 05:55


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
You often hear that there are few women in engineering fields. I have occasionally heard the same complaint about chemistry, though, but I'm not sure if it holds true... I know several women who are chemists, and I remember noticing numerous women in my chemistry classes in college. This was not the case in programming and physics classes. I don't know why programming and physics attract so few women, but I'm not sure if the same is true of chemistry.

Is it true that there are few women in chemistry? If it is, is this a problem, and if so, what should be done about it?



I had not read the rest of the thread yet, but wanted to respond to the initial post first:

I think women make some of the best chemists, however, culturally they are not provided the same encouragement and opportunities as men, at least in the past this was the case.

Chemistry in general has suffered as far as youth aspiring to be chemists. In the past, a kid could get a real chemistry set, and was able to gain interest in real chemistry from an early age, these days the chemistry sets are hardly worthy of the name.

This issue is discussed in a Smithsonian article titled "Chemistry Set
Banning toys with dangerous acids was a good idea, but was the price a couple generations of scientists?
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-rise-and-f...

As well as in the preface to "The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry" (below)
Quote:

From the 1930s through the 1960s, chemistry sets were among the most popular Christmas gifts, selling in the millions. It’s said that in the 1940s and 1950s there was a chemistry set in nearly every household where there was a child. Even as late as the 1970s, chemistry sets remained popular and were on display in every toy store and department store. And then something bad happened. By the 1980s, chemistry sets had become a dying breed. Few stores carried them, and most of those sets that remained available were pale shadows of what chemistry sets had been back in the glory days.

The decline of chemistry sets had nothing to do with lack of interest. Kids were and are as interested as ever. It was society that had changed. Manufacturers and retailers became concerned about liability and lawsuits, and “chemical” became a dirty word. Most chemistry sets were “defanged” to the point of uselessness, becoming little more than toys. Some so-called “chemistry sets” nowadays are actually promoted as using “no heat, no glass, and no chemicals,” as if that were something to be proud of. They might just as well promote them as “no chemistry.”

Even the best chemistry set that is still sold, the $200 Thames & Kosmos Chem C3000, is an unfortunate compromise among cost, liability, and marketability. The Chem C3000 kit lacks such essential equipment as a balance and a thermometer, provides little glassware, and includes only the tiny amounts of chemicals needed to do unsatisfying micro-scale chemistry experiments. Despite these criticisms, the C3000 kit is a good choice for giving late elementary school or early middle school students their first exposure to hands-on chemistry lab work. It allows kids to produce bright colors and stinky smells, which after all are the usual hooks that draw kids into chemistry. The problem is, that’s not enough.

-Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture


Where would would we be without all the great female chemists like Lilli Hornig, Rosalind Elsie Franklin, Marie Maynard Daly, Gerty Theresa Cori, Gertrude Belle Elion, Dorothy Mary Hodgkin, Dame Kathleen Lonsdale, and on and on...

As I was saying, Women don't seem to be culturally encouraged to become chemists or well respected scientists, which is sad, because most of the female chemists I know are far more talented than the males. Female chemists are better with organization, neatness, and mindfulness to their work, at least that is how it seems to me.

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[*] posted on 18-4-2018 at 06:18


Pretty much all of the chemistry teachers when I was in school in the UK were female, and about half of the physics teachers were, all holding backgrounds in chemical or engineering professions. Some were even dual subject teachers in both areas, one teacher I had taught both my classes for the first year of my A-levels. A stark contrast from when I was in school in Australia, where basically every science teacher (IIRC) were males, at least every one I had was. Just as a semi-related observation I’ve made over the years.

[Edited on 18-4-2018 by LearnedAmateur]




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[*] posted on 18-4-2018 at 08:30


The male:female ratio in my physical chemistry class, which consists of almost all of the junior chemistry majors in my university, is 12:11. This is a somewhat higher proportion of male students than the university as a whole, which is about 60/40, majority female, but overall I think it shows that chemistry today is a fairly balanced field compared to other STEM majors. However, it does seem like more of the female students are interested in pursuing medicine or environmental chemistry rather than synthetic. Also, fellow male students have been more interested in my home lab and the possibility of collaborating with me on a synthesis just for the fun of it.

I don't know whether it's a legitimate biological difference, societal influence, or a combination, but it definitely does appear that home chemistry is usually more attractive to males, even though the study of chemistry is pretty even between the genders.




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[*] posted on 18-4-2018 at 08:45


So I'm liking this thread. Good dialog. According to these opinions, it seems like chemistry can be very well suited to women's interest, and well served by their demeanor, it might serve my daughter's dilemma. She was very interested in the little chemiluminescence kit that played with luminol and bleach and wants to get another kit that she has heard about. I really don't have a high opinion of commercial "science kits" since I've seen their continual defanging to the point where they demonstrate water transport in polymers. I can't think of anything more benign and less interesting than that subject. Can anyone in the States suggest a good option for the middle school level? I haven't put much thought into it yet.
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[*] posted on 18-4-2018 at 09:01


What about making your own custom kit for her that is safe enough yet interesting?



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[*] posted on 18-4-2018 at 12:15


I thought about that too. I would appreciate the value of a "manual" of experiments in that fashion, which I guess I could get from an out of print book of preparative chemistry aimed at youth. Something that has known processes that are interesting to kids and more visually engaging. I found old dover books and chemcraft pamphlets that seem interesting; restock with modern stuff.
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[*] posted on 18-4-2018 at 14:11


It’s a bit of a difficult age range for chemistry in my opinion, on one hand you’ve got slime and bicarb/vinegar volcanoes which interest lower school children, and on the other you’ve got the introduction to organic chemistry, esters being a good starting point although this is a little advanced (high school level) and involves dangerous chemicals.

Come to think of it, crystals may be a great area for middle school level - has she seen much of sodium silicate crystal gardens? Growing crystals and exploring transition metal ions, under your strict supervision of course, may be a nice topic to explore and is quite expansive as you’re most likely aware. Then you’ve also got organic crystals and alkyl/ammonium ones on the OC side, looking at their shapes and such, and are super easy to make.




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[*] posted on 19-4-2018 at 05:47


Quote: Originally posted by roXefeller  
So I'm liking this thread. Good dialog. According to these opinions, it seems like chemistry can be very well suited to women's interest, and well served by their demeanor, it might serve my daughter's dilemma. She was very interested in the little chemiluminescence kit that played with luminol and bleach and wants to get another kit that she has heard about. I really don't have a high opinion of commercial "science kits" since I've seen their continual defanging to the point where they demonstrate water transport in polymers. I can't think of anything more benign and less interesting than that subject. Can anyone in the States suggest a good option for the middle school level? I haven't put much thought into it yet.


This is probably not a viable option for most people, but if you can find a college or even a middle school chemistry professor, retired or working, or even just someone highly educated in the field of chrmistry who has their own laboratory equipment, you could ask them for private lessons for your daughter. This way your daughter can peruse the chemistry she is interested in, but also have someone highly educated teaching her proper laboratory technique and supervising her experiments, this way she can learn in a fairly free manner but she will also have professional equipment, supervision, and guidance.

For the most part I am an autodidact, and I had already learned most of the material before ever taking a formal class, but I still owe a good deal of my education to the help of a retired chemist who allows me to use his laboratory. I think I learned more doing guided personal research with my retired chemist mentor than I did in school, though personal and formal education both seem pretty crucial.

On a note that is further on topic, thinking back on it the majority of my chemistry teachers have been female.

As far as those that I know who are studying chemistry, more are female, but at the same time I don't have (m)any male friends, so that could also explain it.
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[*] posted on 19-4-2018 at 06:00


Quote: Originally posted by roXefeller  
So I'm liking this thread. Good dialog. According to these opinions, it seems like chemistry can be very well suited to women's interest, and well served by their demeanor, it might serve my daughter's dilemma. She was very interested in the little chemiluminescence kit that played with luminol and bleach and wants to get another kit that she has heard about. I really don't have a high opinion of commercial "science kits" since I've seen their continual defanging to the point where they demonstrate water transport in polymers. I can't think of anything more benign and less interesting than that subject. Can anyone in the States suggest a good option for the middle school level? I haven't put much thought into it yet.


Look through some YouTube videos together,
try to replicate whatever interests her, together.

There is less time available than you imagine to bond with offspring.




CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
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[*] posted on 19-4-2018 at 06:11


Quote: Originally posted by PhenethylamineMachine  

As far as those that I know who are studying chemistry, more are female, but at the same time I don't have (m)any male friends, so that could also explain it.


That was the case for me, for my year 12 and 13 chemistry classes of 7 people I was the only male. In year 11 we did an induction week for our class choices and it was about half and half with roughly the same people in both physics and chemistry - most of them stayed on for the former (there was only one girl) but they decided to not follow on with chemistry. Dunno if it had anything to do with the fact that none of the experiments worked out, extracting limonene from lemon being the main one that never got finished..




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[*] posted on 20-4-2018 at 05:42


Are there any female chemists here who have an opinion on the topic?

I think women have great interest in chemistry, but likely have better opportunities in other fields, which is sad, because I think women have a natural affinity for organic chemistry. (I told a female friend who is in the study of chemistry that exact statement, and she mentioned that when she was young she would cook with her mother, she loved to gather ingredients, following the recipes, working with the measurements, and of course the mixing and cooking part, she thinks that activities like this for young girls might give them an edge in organic chemistry, but who knows)

I actually enjoy working with female chemists. When I work with male chemists it always seems like there is this hostility where we end up trying to "one up" each other, it ends up turning into some type of childish "who is smarter" competition. While working with females has always been pleasant and productive. (Though again, males in general see me as competition or a threat, which has led me to mostly having female friends, which I don't mind, I like females better any way)
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[*] posted on 20-4-2018 at 05:51


Quote: Originally posted by LearnedAmateur  
Quote: Originally posted by PhenethylamineMachine  

As far as those that I know who are studying chemistry, more are female, but at the same time I don't have (m)any male friends, so that could also explain it.


That was the case for me, for my year 12 and 13 chemistry classes of 7 people I was the only male. In year 11 we did an induction week for our class choices and it was about half and half with roughly the same people in both physics and chemistry - most of them stayed on for the former (there was only one girl) but they decided to not follow on with chemistry. Dunno if it had anything to do with the fact that none of the experiments worked out, extracting limonene from lemon being the main one that never got finished..


I've noticed it's about 50/50. As I said, for the most part I am an autodidact and had already learned most of the material before ever taking a formal class, but thinking back, it seems about equal.
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[*] posted on 20-4-2018 at 05:55


Is it really productive to try and attribute broad trends or qualities to a gender, though? Isn't that how we got a bunch of lame role-assignment to stick in our society? It's an anonymous internet forum, don't worry about who is or isn't what, there's chemistry discussion to be had after all.
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[*] posted on 20-4-2018 at 06:06


Quote: Originally posted by Amos  
Is it really productive to try and attribute broad trends or qualities to a gender, though? Isn't that how we got a bunch of lame role-assignment to stick in our society? It's an anonymous internet forum, don't worry about who is or isn't what, there's chemistry discussion to be had after all.


Hmmm...

I'm sorry that is how you had interpreted my posts.

I can not say that I ever attributed "broad trends or qualities to a gender", and I certainly was not intending to do so.

I asked if any females wanted to comment because the subject matter involves females in chemistry, so, shouldn't females in chemistry voice their opinions on the subject? It doesn't seem like a group of males would be the best candidates to comment on the matter.
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[*] posted on 30-4-2018 at 06:13


My girlfriend appreciates and enjoys my interest in chemistry; not only does it aid her in her own studies, but it fascinates her how we learn a little bit of how the world around us works, together. I do feel as if perhaps not many women are actually interested in the field of chemistry, or perhaps some are even a little intimidated by some of it, as I once was. Perhaps it's chemophobia, or whatnot. Perhaps it's genetics. Or perhaps we are misinformed on the matter. I'm not really too sure.



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[*] posted on 3-5-2018 at 08:00


Quote: Originally posted by Velzee  
My girlfriend appreciates and enjoys my interest in chemistry; not only does it aid her in her own studies, but it fascinates her how we learn a little bit of how the world around us works, together. I do feel as if perhaps not many women are actually interested in the field of chemistry, or perhaps some are even a little intimidated by some of it, as I once was. Perhaps it's chemophobia, or whatnot. Perhaps it's genetics. Or perhaps we are misinformed on the matter. I'm not really too sure.


I tend to see females as being better at most things, including chemistry.

I think males have a more aggressive outlook which doesn't translate well into certain fields, but I might be biased here as I dislike males in general.
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[*] posted on 11-5-2018 at 12:02



Quote:

I tend to see females as being better at most things, including chemistry.

So my profession isn't in chemistry, but it is very technical. The women who I work with might be fewer in number but are technical equals. That's just anecdotal. One statistic I saw was that unmarried women without children earn 117% of unmarried men without children. Obviously their potential is quite unsurpassed. [citation]

Quote:
I think males have a more aggressive outlook which doesn't translate well into certain fields, but I might be biased here as I dislike males in general.

So this one is interesting. In high school and university, I had a similar experience that males could be aggressive and hard to work with (not in general, but more than females). Its probably just immature men acting like National Geographic. But in my career, the educated men are extremely easy to work with, admirable, affable, and virtuous. I have to explain to my children that the a-holes they will spend time with as a teenager will be left behind for the pizza shop when they reach the great threshing of graduation.
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[*] posted on 12-5-2018 at 10:06


Quote: Originally posted by Sigmatropic  
I've been theorizing that there are more male chemists because of the sex appeal of "Feuer und Flamme, Schall und Rauch" - as a lecturer at The Royal Instution put it - to young men. Myself probably included. This interest is innate and does not need encouragement. This has got me thinking what the eye catcher moment is to women in chemistry? Maybe chemistry class can be tailored to more proactively show such eye catchers and in doing so encourage women to study in chemistry?

What's "Feuer und Flamme, Schall und Rauch"?

[Edited on 12/05/18 by fusso]




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[*] posted on 12-5-2018 at 10:10


Google translate is a thing



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[*] posted on 12-5-2018 at 12:29


Quote: Originally posted by fusso  
What's "Feuer und Flamme, Schall und Rauch"?

[Edited on 12/05/18 by fusso]
The typical kewl-stuff: "Fire and flame, noise and smoke".

These are the things which have much more attractive power on boys (men?) than on girls.




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