As a professor of astronomy and physics, Priyamvada Natarajan doesn’t balk at taking risks. She has modeled the upper limits of “monster” black holes and analyzed the consistency of dark matter. As a theorist, she notes, intellectual risk is par for the course.
But as a woman in science, risk-taking has another meaning, she says. Studying in a predominantly male field, Natarajan considers herself fortunate to have been surrounded by exceptional mentors throughout her career. She recognizes that her experience was an unusual one. Many of her female classmates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) did not receive the same level of encouragement to continue their studies and research, she notes. (more…)