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01/21/2005 Entry: "Women in Science"

And now for some hard science on why there are more men in the hard sciences.

"While there are essentially no disparities in general intelligence between the sexes, a UC Irvine study has found significant differences in brain areas where males and females manifest their intelligence.

"'These findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behavior,' said Richard Haier, professor of psychology in the Department of Pediatrics and longtime human intelligence researcher, who led the study with colleagues at UCI and the University of New Mexico. 'In addition, by pinpointing these gender-based intelligence areas, the study has the potential to aid research on dementia and other cognitive-impairment diseases in the brain.'

"Study results appear on the online version of NeuroImage.

"In general, men have approximately 6.5 times the amount of gray matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence than men. Gray matter represents information processing centers in the brain, and white matter represents the networking of or connections between these processing centers."
Intelligence in men and women is a gray and white matter. Men and women use different brain areas to achieve similar IQ results, UCI study finds, Irvine, Calif. , January 20, 2005

Southern California used to have Junior and High School programs to ferret out and encourage everyone, including females, to get into the hard sciences, if they were so inclined. I work for a Ph.D. in immunotoxicology who was in one of those programs; she's very cool (and very smart, too). In fact, she did her undergrad at UCI.

So, yes, there are fewer women in science, and to its credit, the biggest science funding agency in the U.S., the NIH, does not base its awards on gender. They base them on science and reputation (mostly, occasionally grant reviewer ego gets in there, but not often), which is how they tell me it's supposed to be.

 

 

 

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