Are women the losers in team cosmology prize?

Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology, University of Toulouse, France.

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This year’s Gruber Cosmology Prize — the most prestigious in the field — went to the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite observatory team for its precise measurement of the Universe’s contents and contours. The US$500,000 prize will be awarded on 20 August in Vienna. The Planck team has more than 300 members, of whom about one-fifth are women. Yet the collaboration has indicated that the team’s half-share of the prize money (two principal investigators share the other half) would be divided between 43 senior members of the collaboration, all of whom are men. Although the number of recipients has to be limited and the prize money might end up being pooled, it is remarkable that this situation has arisen in 2018.

That all Planck’s female scientists have even temporarily been deemed unworthy of controlling a share of the prize is unwelcome news, especially to the many of us trying to tackle the under-representation of women in astronomy.

Nature 560, 307 (2018)

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