Israel Munson Professor of Physics at Yale University
Meg Urry is the Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics; she served as Chair of the Physics Department at Yale from 2007 to 2013 and in the Presidential line of the American Astronomical Society 2013-2017. Dr. Urry has worked to increase the number of women and minorities in science. She organized the first national meeting on Women in Astronomy, in 1992 which led to the historic Baltimore Charter. As Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society, she co-organized the second meeting, at the California Institute of Technology, in June 2003, and helped draft the Pasadena Recommendations that came out of that meeting. She served on the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics of the American Physical Society; helped organize its Gender Equity Conference in May 2007; and led the US delegations to the first International Conference on Women in Physics, held in Paris in March 2002 and the 4th International Conference on Women in Physics in South Africa in April 2011. She is on the Steering Committee of Yale’s Women Faculty Forum. Prof. Urry was elected a Fellow of American Women in Science in 2006, was given the Women in Space Science Award from the Adler Planetarium in 2010 and received the 2015 Edward A. Bouchet Leadership Award from Yale University in 2015.
Making Astronomy More Inclusive
The numbers of women, people of color, and other “outsiders” in astronomy and physics lag far behind their representation in the population. This excludes talent and prevents the innovations engendered by greater diversity. The astronomical community has worked to increase participation, with standing committees of the American Astronomical Society to address under-representation and accessibility; AAS codes of conduct (for meetings) and ethics (for the profession as a whole); conferences about causes and solutions, the first of which, in 1992, led to the Baltimore Charter for Women in Astronomy; Town Halls on sexual harassment and racism; anti-bullying training for session chairs; and “Astronomy Allies” to counter stalking at conferences. Collectively, we have made discernable progress but recognize the playing field is not yet level.