I made it. Last week I went overseas to a meeting to present my work. This was the first time I have been away from the kids for so long - and so far away. And guess what, SciDad did a great job. He did profess to being tired but the kids did well. I had a great time giving my presentation and walking around this beautiful European city.
On the way over and back, I went through Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Now that was an interesting experience. First, I was in Terminal 2 and the directions to get you to where you want to go were awful. Second, the terminal was so "skinny" in places that when flights were boarding, the people blocked any flow of other passengers trying to get from one gate to another. In addition to that, it took over an hour to get through security with plenty of French AND Americans trying to cut in line.
But in one instance, while raising my fists and eyes to the ceiling and cursing the state of travel, I noticed something very interesting. Large banners with faces of women, one of which looked very familiar to me. My ability to decipher the French (three years in Montreal) helped me determine that these were women scientists and these were the women selected for the 2007 L'Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science awards! One from each continent, faces displayed like rock stars in one of the world's busiest airports.
The face I recognized - Mildred Dresselhaus. She's an MITer who you can't get through a science stint at MIT without seeing a picture of or hearing about. There's a nice tribute at eQuarksDaily.
L'Oreal-UNESCO also gives International graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. Yet another example of how Europe is way ahead of the US in supporting women in science.