Yeshiva University Professor Lea Santos Selected to US Delegation at International Women in Physics Conference

Dr Lea Santos

Sep 12, 2008 — Dr. Lea Ferreira dos Santos, an assistant professor of physics at Yeshiva University’s (YU) Stern College for Women, will represent the United States at the third IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP). The conference, which was established to address the severe underrepresentation of women in the field of physics, will be held in Seoul, Korea on October 8-10. Dr. Santos was selected from a group of over 70 applicants to join the US delegation at the conference.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for members of our department to learn from our own colleague how universities worldwide solve the multiple challenges toward increasing the representation of women in physics,” said Professor Anatoly Frenkel, head of the physics department at Stern College.

Growing up in Brazil, where she attended the University of Sao Paulo and earned her PhD, Dr. Santos remembers feeling somewhat isolated, as a woman, in her science classes. “However, it wasn’t until I came to the US and was exposed to discussions about women in science that I realized the depth of the social problem behind the small numbers,” she says. “Discussions are essential to creating awareness, which eventually leads to changes.”

According to the conference’s Web site, ICWIP “is dedicated to providing an opportunity to share the scientific accomplishments of participants as well as analyzing international progress in promoting women in physics.” The conference will consist of lectures by prominent international women physicists, workshops, and poster presentations on gender in physics and scientific work.

“In a very short time, Dr. Santos has established impressive scientific productivity in her research of theoretical physics (quantum many-body systems),” added Dr. Frenkel. “She has also quickly established herself as an excellent teacher and mentor.”

Dr. Santos has been instrumental in advancing the relatively new physics program at Stern; she developed several new innovative courses and has attracted a number of students to her research group. Being the only female faculty member in the department, Dr. Santos understands the profound influence she has on the young women in her classes. “I became convinced that my contribution to science would come from two realms, as a researcher and as a role model to female students.”

Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University brings together the heritage of Western civilization and the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life. More than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students study at YU’s four New York City campuses: the Wilf Campus, Israel Henry Beren Campus, Brookdale Center, and Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus. YU’s three undergraduate schools –– Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business ––– offer a unique dual program comprised of Jewish studies and liberal arts courses. Its graduate and affiliate schools include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. YU is ranked among the nation’s leading academic research institutions.
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