Three women won science Nobel Prizes this week - Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider, and Ada Yonath. All three are married mothers. After the dust-up over Lawrence Summers' entirely correct comments about the several factors that limit the proportion of women at the top of math and sciences professions, I have been particularly interested in women who combine biochemistry and family life. I think of all academic specialties, biochemistry may be the most unforgiving of family life - long hours in the lab, on a schedule dictated by the experiment, in an environment too dangerous to take little kids to, and years of it to get a result.
Mrs. G. and I often counsel ambitious young women that they can have it all - but not all at once. To have a marriage, kids, and a successful career is much easier if launched in that order. Careers for moms can get fully started later than for people who are not home with little ones, but life is long. Ada Yonath said that when she got news of winning the prize, she was with her granddaughter. Go Science Moms!