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End of Year Celebration

We enjoyed a guest lecture given by Dr Pauline Gagnon, and a lunch with Halkes Women+ Faculty Network and The Radboud Women Professors Network members to celebrate our achievements of 2023.

LECTURE: 'The tragic destiny of Mileva Marić Einstein'
DATE: Wednesday 6th of December
TIME: 12:00-13:30 (lunch included)
LOCATION: Huygens building HG00.304

What were Mileva Marić Einstein’s, Albert Einstein's first wife, contributions to his extraordinary productivity in the first years of his career? In this presentation, Pauline will avoid all type of speculation and will not attack Albert Einstein personally, but rather strictly stick to facts. We hope you will be able to appreciate why such a talented physicist has been so unkindly treated by history.

Pauline Gagnon, retired Senior Research Scientist, Indiana University was born in Chicoutimi in Quebec, Canada in 1955. As a young kid, she dreamt of understanding what were the fundamental constituents of matter. After teaching physics for a few years in local colleges, she moved to California in 1985. She first studied at San Francisco State University then completed a PhD in particle physics at University of California in Santa Cruz. After that, she started her research activities at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics located near Geneva, where she worked as a Senior Research Scientist with Indiana University. She participated to the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 and looked for dark matter within the ATLAS experiment.

From 2011-2014, Pauline joined the CERN Communication group, writing blogs and answering questions from numerous media worldwide. Explaining particle physics in simple and accessible terms became her trademark. In 2014, she wrote a popular science book called "Who cares about particle physics: Making sense of the Higgs boson, the Large Hadron Collider and CERN", which is also available in seven other languages.

Since retiring in 2014, she has given more than one hundred fifty presentations to various audiences in fourteen countries, talking about physics, diversity issues and Mileva Marić Einstein. She is currently writing a screenplay for a mini-series on Mileva Marić Einstein and other women in science.
More about Pauline Gagnon

Pauline also gave a talk on Tuesday 5 December, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm 'What's wrong with me?' organized by gendi-committee@science.ru.nl

Why are sexism, homophobia and racism still so prevalent in physics?

I start from my personal experience to demonstrate that in fact, the personal is political. CERN, the largest physics laboratory in the world, welcomes scientists from 112 nationalities, but still about 80% of them are white and 80% are male.

I examine why people from so many various groups have been historically excluded from physics and suggest a series of easily applicable measures that could greatly improve diversity in physics. These measures would benefit all scientists, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, physical ability or religion.

It has been established that diversity benefits science by increasing the creativity potential, a key ingredient in scientific research.