Highlights from the First Ever Demographic Study of Solar Physics, Space Physics, and Upper Atmospheric Physics
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Members of the Education & Workforce Working Group and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) conducted the first ever National Demographic Survey of working professionals for the 2012 National Academy of Sciences Solar and Space Physics Decadal Survey to learn about the demographics of this sub-field of space science. The instrument contained questions for participants on: the type of workplace; basic demographic information regarding gender and minority status, educational pathways (discipline of undergrad degree, field of their PhD), how their undergraduate and graduate student researchers are funded, participation in NSF and NASA funded spaceflight missions and suborbital programs, and barriers to career advancement. Using contact data bases from AGU, the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division (AAS-SPD), attendees of NOAA’s Space Weather Week and proposal submissions to NSF’s Atmospheric, Geospace Science Division, the AIP’s Statistical Research Center cross correlated and culled these data bases resulting in 2776 unique email addresses of US based working professionals. The survey received 1305 responses (51%) and generated 125 pages of single space answers to a number of open-ended questions. This talk will summarize the highlights of this first-ever demographic survey including findings extracted from the open-ended responses regarding barriers to career advancement which showed significant gender differences.