ISOLDE’s rarest isotopes

The ISOLDE physics section (PH-SME-IS) has recently observed an unusual transformation… one that may well be a sign of things to come for CERN.


The ISOLDE PH team, from left to right: Jennifer Weterings (user support), Susanne Kreim (research fellow), Marek Pfützner* (scientific associate), Maria Garcia Borge (team leader), Elisa Rapisarda (research fellow) , Magdalena Kowalska (physics coordinator), Jan Kurcewicz* (applied fellow), Monika Stachura (future applied fellow). Not in the photo: Kara Lynch (PhD student).

Although more and more women are going into the physical sciences, it’s no secret that it remains a male-dominated field. But over the past six months, the ISOLDE PH section has become an exception to this rule: with female physicists outnumbering their male colleagues 3 to 1.

“We’re probably one of the few teams at CERN where the personnel is mostly female,” says Magdalena Kowalska, the ISOLDE Physics Coordinator. “We have a female group leader, co-ordinator and user-support officer (who's also a physicist), as well as one female PhD student and two research fellows. In December, we even got a new applied fellow who's also a woman.”

CERN’s Diversity Programme leader, Sudeshna Datta-Cockerill, was encouraged to learn about the team’s new dynamics: “This is really a sign that the Organization is gradually meeting the strategic objectives set out by the Diversity Programme: achieving an improved gender distribution across the Organization and encouraging more gender role models.”

As personnel figures continue to show more and more women joining CERN as staff members, fellows and users alike, we should come to expect further female-dominated groups. Before long, your team may too look like the ISOLDE PH section!

* ISOLDE's rare isotopes.

CERN Internal Communication is organising a visit to ISOLDE.
More information are available in the article Therapeutic use of radioactive isotopes.

by Katarina Anthony