ERIS celebrates International Day of Women and Girls in Science

ERIS celebrates International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Work done by ERIS members gets highlighted by ESA as part of the Gaia Women in Science image of the week of 2022 to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

The story begins with promoting the book “Fosiles del cosmos” written by ERIS director Paula Jofre and released in January 2022, which describes the history and evolution of the Milky Way in the Gaia era. The book highlights the contribution of contemporary female scientists, by combining their experience as women along with their contributions to the field.  Many quotes of them are included in the book, and more appear regularly in the corresponding website and social media @fosilesdelcosmos

Paula Jofre has already noted that including the women in the book has made the public aware that there are indeed quite a lot of women in astronomy! That was an important message she wanted to bring through this effort, that women in astronomy are perfectly normal, and that women undertaking modern and challenging astronomical problems is quite cool.

One of quotes highlighted in the Gaia Women in Science story is from ERIS co-director Patricia Tissera, included in the book because of her contributions to the theoretical understanding of how galaxies evolve in a cosmological context through numerical simulations, which is an important part of the ERIS project. 

“It was important for me when a well recognized scientist told me “why do you keep proving yourself that you can lead your projects? You have already done it, just continue doing so”. After that I stopped questioning my leadership skills so much.” – Patricia Tissera

The story ends with a picture of a zoom meeting which was attended by Paula Jofre and ERIS PhD student Sara Vitali, among other female colleagues.  These monthly meetings are needed to progress on the Gaia Benchmark Stars project, which provides the community with a fundamental set of stars used for calibrations of Gaia and its complementary spectroscopic surveys.  

The Gaia Benchmark stars are so fundamental, and such an important part of Paula Jofre’s work, that they were included in the front cover of Fosiles del cosmos (see image). They are arranged by their temperature, and coloured by their overall chemical pattern, where blue means poor in metals, and red means rich in metals.  

ERIS will be able to interpret stellar phylogenies by relying on the unprecedented accuracy of Gaia data, as well as on accurate and precise stellar abundances.  Hence, ERIS collaborates with the Gaia Benchmark Stars project, and is proud to be part of the team of astronomers who lead this work.  In ERIS we are proud to have many women in our science team, with 3 women out of 4 at the core level, 5 women out of 9 partners, and 5 women out of 7 students. 

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