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Some characteristics of young vs. Established American astronomers: Entering the new century

Abstract

A third cohort of (mostly) young astronomers, who earned their PhDs around a median date of 1994 and who have recently applied for election to membership in the International Astronomical Union from the USA or for tenure-track faculty positions has been added to earlier samples (median years of PhD 1982 and 1962.5), and the samples examined for demographic trends. The three groups are of similar size (304, 269, and 268 astronomers from earliest to latest). The third, youngest, cohort includes more foreign-born and/or trained scientists than either of the earlier ones (about 1/2 vs. about 1/4) and more women (about 15% vs. about 10% for the two earlier groups). The median length of time from BS or BS to PhD, which had lengthened from 4 to 6 years, has apparently leveled off at 6 years. And, compared to the previous "young" sample, the present one includes many more job seekers and many fewer IAU aspirants.

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