Behind the quilt: August 2022

Cover of the August 2022 issue of Physics Today.

Every month, Physics At present editors discover the analysis and design selections that impressed the most recent cowl of the journal.

Like most girls who examine physics nowadays, I’ve lots of expertise being within the minority. Most of my classmates in school and graduate college have been males. Of all of the physics lessons I took, just one was taught by a lady. For many of my first decade working at Physics At present, I used to be the one girl within the room at many an editorial assembly.

I even have lots of expertise listening to questionable theories of why that gender imbalance isn’t any huge deal—it’s simply the pure state of issues. Among the many theories I’ve heard is that ladies are inherently tired of physics (on common, in fact), as a result of we’re “hardwired” to favor working with folks moderately than objects or summary concepts. I’ve additionally heard it mentioned that ladies draw back from careers in physics as a result of we understand them to be incompatible with the time calls for of elevating youngsters.

So I used to be to learn in Joanna Behrman’s article “Physics … is for ladies?” that in US colleges within the early nineteenth century, pure philosophy (the predecessor topic of physics) was thought of a topic extra for ladies than for boys—not regardless of girls’s social function as moms and nurturers, however as a result of of it. Behrman doesn’t advocate a return to that previous; moderately, she argues that as a result of a society’s concepts of who’s taken with learning what can change a lot over time, they will change once more sooner or later. The impermanence would appear to recommend that there’s no “exhausting wiring” concerned.

Due to the significance of Behrman’s message—and the plethora of historic pictures of girls of science, actual and imaginary—we determined to function the article on the quilt of the August subject. Artwork director Donna Padian discovered this stunning portrait of Maria Mitchell, an American pure thinker and educator, painted by Herminia Dassel round 1851. The portrait completely illustrates the general thrust of the article.

For the primary cowl line, Padian selected a mixture of old style typefaces that suited the period: Castellar, Essonnes italic, and P22 Stickley Professional. She added two thrives to the lettering, from the Beloved Ornaments font, that may have been used within the nineteenth century and nod to the lace on the costume. The location of the quilt line highlights a very powerful space of the picture. We determined to omit the query mark from Behrman’s article title as a result of for us, there isn’t any query: Physics is for ladies!

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