The Sophie Germain Fellowship

by Lagrange Institute of Paris
  • Pledged

    $459

  • Backers

    14

  • This campaign successfully raised
    $459 with 14 backers
    on December 31, 2015
  • Ico flexiblefunding
    Flexible Funding
    Flexible Funding campaigns receive all donations regardless of whether the funding goal is reached.
$5,000
goal
9%
funded

Support outstanding women scientists in cosmology and particle physics at the Lagrange Institute.

  Research, Cosmology

 Women have made major contributions in fundamental physics and cosmology, but face many barriers to their success and, as a consequence, are strongly underrepresented, especially in senior positions. Solving the mysteries of the Universe and fundamental physics demands the best brains from more than just half of humanity. We believe we cannot afford to lose a large percentage of the available talent pool. Just as important, women deserve the same opportunities as men to have stimulating and rewarding careers in physics.  The dearth of women in physics is an urgent concern, and we want to help redress the balance.

Support this campaign to bring outstanding early-career women physicists and astronomers to the Lagrange Institute as Sophie Germain Fellows. Your support comes at a crucial career stage, when building the research portfolio that is critical for success in the competition for permanent positions. 

Prof. Renée Hlozek (University of Toronto). DPhil (Oxford U.), Spitzer Fellow (Princeton), TED FellowProfessor Renée Hložek (Cosmologist, U. Toronto):
"Fellowship support has been crucial for my career; the Sophie Germain Fellowship at the Lagrange Institute will give an outstanding early-career woman physicist the chance of a lifetime." (Renée is S
enior TED Fellow, obtained her D.Phil at Oxford and was Lyman Spitzer Fellow at Princeton.)

 The Sophie Germain Fellowship will allow selected candidates to set and pursue their own research goals, to work in a world-class, open, welcoming, and supportive environment of the Lagrange Institute, and develop their international collaborations and networks. Fellows will be selected according to the same stringent criteria and with the same budget as the (gender-neutral) Lagrange Fellowships. The campaign is to fund the first two years of the fellowship and we will complete the budget for a full three year postdoctoral fellowship. 

Change the face of fundamental physics and cosmology - one woman at a time

Eleonora Di Valentino (Lagrange Fellow)Dr. Eleonora Di Valentino (current Lagrange Fellow):
"The stimulating and interdisciplinary environment and the leading scientists of the Lagrange Institute provide me with the access and the expertise I need to use the most powerful data sets to advance my research work, for example from the Planck space mission. Overall, this is the perfect place for my research on combining cosmology with  fundamental particle physics, for example to study neutrinos, other light fundamental particles such as axions; or to go beyond the standard cosmological model and test modifications of gravity." (Eleonora obtained her PhD at Rome, La Sapienza.)

The Sophie Germain Fellow will join the members of the Lagrange Institute in their work to advance the forefront of research in cosmology, astrophysics, theoretical and particle physics. We are developing entirely new approaches
- to understand the epoch when the very first starlight lit up the dark cosmos;
- to solve the deep puzzles raised by the quantum mechanical origin of the Universe;
- to probe the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy;
- to design new studies of the afterglow of the Big Bang;
- to uncover the unknown origin of the most energetic particles in space;
- to discover new physics at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN;
and, even more importantly, to discover the questions that will guide us to as yet uncharted territory.

The number of women in physics is globally low. Today, women remain a small minority in physics, representing less than 20 percent of professionals at the postdoctoral level and less than 13 percent of physics faculty members according to a report by the American Institute of Physics.

Why is it called the Sophie Germain Fellowship?

Sophie Germain was an early woman pioneer in the world of mathematics and theoretical physics and this project honors her memory. The Lagrange Institute is named for her contemporary, supporter, and collaborator Joseph Louis Lagrange.

Sophie Germain was barred from attending lectures at the Ecole Polytechnique because she was a woman. But in 1794, new rules made the lecture notes available to all who asked. Sophie Germain thus obtained the lecture notes and began sending her work to Joseph Louis Lagrange, a faculty member. She used the name of a former student Monsieur Antoine Auguste Le Blanc, "fearing the ridicule attached to a female scientist." When Lagrange saw the intelligence of “M. Le Blanc,” he requested a meeting, and thus she was forced to disclose her true identity. Fortunately, Lagrange did not mind that Germain was a woman, and he became her mentor. Sophie Germain  made major contributions to number theory (the Sophie Germain Prime Numbers) and to the theory of elasticity. General Relativity can be thought of as a theory of elasticity of spacetime. 

Other Ways You Can Help

Spread the news about our campaign online or in person through your friends, neighbors and colleagues! Share it, explaining why you are supporting it. Word of mouth will help us generate interest and excitement around our support for women and all our fellows engaged in research at the Lagrange Institute.

We encourage you to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on the campaign and the Lagrange Institute.

Please support our fellows and encourage others to join us today!

Rewards and Thank You gifts

We have some great rewards and thank you gifts coming your way! 

For all donations at the level "Collaborative Art" we are personalize and colorize a 10x10 pixel square on an image of Sophie Germain. You can see the current image on the Lagrange Institute's Sophie Germain collaborative art page (copy http://ilp.upmc.fr/sophiegermain.php into your browser). The image is updated with the latest donations every 2 minutes.

Our 16 GB USB memory stick looks like this: 15 GB ILP USB memory stick

And here is a picture showing the laser etched cube with a 3D representation of the cosmic web inside (it comes in the blue box): Cosmic Web in Glass - Laser Etched 3D Cube with ILP logo

 And as a winter special for the first 10 donations of $250 or more, aunt Val from Vancouver, Canada will hand-knit a woolen Moebius scarf just for you! Here is one she made earlier: Unique Hand-knitted Wool Moebius Scarf by Aunt Val from Vancouver

 

  Budget Breakdown

Milestones

Milestone 1: $5,000 USD to $15,000 USD
Grant(s) to invite female researchers or graduate students at the Lagrange Institute to lead collaborative research activities (travel expenses, accommodation, per diem) for 1 to 3 month stays

Milestone 2: $15,000 USD
Sophie Germain Scholarship for for one year in a Master degree. The Lagrange Institute will add $5,000 USD (French course, reservation of accommodation, research expenses, etc.)

Milestone 3: $70,000 USD
2 years of PhD thesis Fellowship. The Lagrange Institute will add $35,000 for the 3rd year.

Stretch Goals

Exceed goal by $5,000 USD to $15,000 USD
Grant(s) to invite female researchers or graduate students at the Lagrange Institute to lead collaborative research activities (travel expenses, accommodation, per diem) for 1 to 3 month stays

Exceed goal by $15,000 USD
Sophie Germain Scholarship for for one year in a Master degree. The Lagrange Institute will add $5,000 USD (French course, reservation of accommodation, research expenses, etc.)

  Risks and Challenges

Every year we receive more than 300 applications for a small number of Lagrange fellowships (3 or 4). Successful candidates are selected through a rigorous process that involves a review of the candidates' research accomplishments and plans and consultation of detailed references by senior researchers in the field that are familiar with their work. Every year we are forced to reject many extremely highly qualified candidates. This will still be true, even with the Sophie Germain fellowship. But it will give one more woman physicist the opportunity to advance the research frontier in the field.

If the award is not fully funded we have important milestones that will allow outstanding women to advance in the field: positions as research visitors for PhD and post-PhD researchers, a year of  funding for a masters course or a PhD fellowship to work with the leading researchers at the Lagrange Institute.

Team

  • Project Leader: Lagrange Institute of Paris (University)
  • Location: Paris, France
  • Organizer:

    Olivia Leroy

    Contact the organizer

Select a reward

The Sophie Germain Fellowship

Support outstanding women scientists in cosmology and particle physics at the Lagrange Institute.