It is a great pleasure to announce that the Spring-Summer 2016 EPS Emmy Noether Distinction for Women in Physics goes to Dr. Eva Monroy from the Institute for Nanoscience and Cryogenics (INAC) of the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique in Grenoble, France. Eva is involved in outstanding research work on nitride semiconductors nanostructures and has designed and achieved nitride quantum structures that have allowed her to demonstrate the shortest emission wavelength from intersubband transition in a material system.
In 1996 she obtained a Diploma as Telecommunication Engineer at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Spain) and in 2000 a PhD Thesis on “Development and Characterization of III-Nitride Based Ultraviolet Photodetectors” at the same University. Since 2001 she has been a Research staff member at the Nanophysics and Semiconductors Laboratory of INAC. In 2011 she proposed a project that was selected by the European Research Council in 2011 for a starting grant.
Besides her highly productive work on nitride semiconductors, Eva Monroy throughout her career has been and remains strongly involved in teaching activities in France, Germany and Spain.
We present a short interview between Eva Monroy [SG] and Lucia Di Ciaccio [LDC], chair of the Equal Opportunities Committee of the EPS, in August 2016.
LDC: At what point in your education did you consider a career in physics?
EM: Starting high school, I was maybe 14 years old. I came from a non-scientific family. However, it was easy to find popular science references on the family’s bookshelves. The scientific curiosity of my parents was contagious: both my sister and I studied physics.
LDC: During your career, did you feel that there were equal opportunities for boys and girls?
EM: During my career, I have never felt negatively discriminated as a woman. However, I have bad experience with positive discrimination.
LDC: So, you are against positive discrimination in physics in favour of women…
EM: My view is that positive discrimination raises doubts about the ability of women to perform as well as men. It can lead to the presence of women in positions that they do not deserve or are not capable of handling in a competitive manner. This does not help to achieve gender equality. Instead, it generates mistrust and rejection by male colleagues, and frustration in female scientist who are reminded that “they got the job more easily”. In most countries, the gender imbalance appears already at the undergraduate level. The key point here is rather to convey as early as possible the beauty of physics to children and adolescents, and prevent gender-dependent education.
LDC: Do you have any advice for young women starting a career in physics?
EM: Choose something you like and work hard to accomplish your wishes. Be ambitious, enjoy your work, and don’t let anyone discourage you. When it comes to choosing a career, there are no male or female professions.