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What's the male/female ratio in astrophysics?

  1. Jun 15, 2010 #1


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    It seems like there are more females in astrophysics than in physics. But how does the ratio play out in grad school? Is it different in tier 1 schools than it is in tier 2 or 3 schools? Are there more females in certain fields, like astrobiology? Why are fields like astrophysics "friendlier" to females than ones like physics?
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  3. Jun 15, 2010 #2
    I know at my school astrophysics requires less math (no linear algebra) and less physics (no quantum for example). i think this might lead to more women, as i know there are more women in astrophysics here, and i believe it to be a reasonable assertion.
  4. Jun 20, 2010 #3


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    I would find it hard to believe that a course like linear algebra would make any difference. Of all the "upper level" math courses I took, linear algebra was the easy one. I also don't remember it having any huge disparity in women in that course, because it was also required for chemistry majors, which still had a decent percentage of women in it. If you've gotten as far as choosing an astrophysics major, I really don't think an extra math or physics course is going to decide your major for you.

    Sometimes it's as simple as feeling safety in numbers. What got the first batch of women into that major, I don't know, but once they're there, it's more comfortable for others to keep joining in that major. And, with specialty fields within the major like astrobiology, maybe finding some female companionship in the biology courses helps retain them longer. (C'mon, most women would go insane if they had to put up with nothing but men all day! :wink:)

    Is there a difference in career opportunities after graduation?

    Since you posted this in the relationships forum, though, I would caution AGAINST choosing a major just for prospects of meeting potential partners for relationships. Search for interesting people outside your major for relationships.
  5. Jun 29, 2010 #4
    Surely dear friend you are not suggesting that women enter the field of astrophysics because it's easier. I do not know what school you are in, but in my program you best believe I have to take that quantum class - and I for one am looking forward to it. Look I understand that it easy to believe that women might have less desire for complex or advanced subjects - since there is a lack of women in some of those courses, but do you honestly feel that that is an inherent quality of a woman's mind or perhaps it is the backwash of a society that is only starting to get used to women in fields relating to science?

    Ah yes this does seem quite defensive ; )
  6. Jun 29, 2010 #5
    lol all i'm saying is that the higher level math and/or physics classes usually have very few women taking them. I don't know the reason for it, just that it happens.
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