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As you were getting into alloys and metals, were there other women in your science education program or in college? Women, wherever they were, what side or what in the war situation, stepped into the places that men had left. It was only after the war, when the men came back, that they needed the mystique—that And it’s the issue of a large number of well-organized men, who often got their training in the army during the war, returning and needing both work and justification for their organized maleness in a very hierarchical structure.
These guys came out of the military, and brought skills, but mostly brought demands.
It allowed that link between the scientist and engineer on the ground level of the practicing type, who came in and would say, look, it doesn’t work, it explodes; or it’s stuck. Administratively, certainly in Canada in the early ’50s, no one was prepared that their staff would be women, and therefore have women’s needs.
And they were stunned—because it had never happened. They didn’t appoint anybody, so I kept on working, seeing that my staff would do what was needed.And I recall as a kid in school, a physics experiment—and my almost mischievous pleasure that even these overwhelming, secular authorities couldn’t change the direction of a beam of electrons.And so I went into science for the fact that this was a career one could pursue with integrity—and that’s very dubious—but it’s what appears to the 13-, 14-year-old. I loved to state with the clarity of the scientist.It’s not that our skirts are too short or too long; it’s just that we are being pushed around and maybe we have to put a stop to it collectively.But that gender-based look at knowledge and competency is postwar.’How did you—in order to catch up to the late ’50s—you served in a Nazi work camp and then——and then I went back to university, got a Ph. in Applied Physics from the Technical University in Berlin, and then came to Canada on a postdoctoral fellowship.
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So it’s all the back and forth of life—it’s always been navigating around a standing structure and changing them so as to change their properties.