Women in Physics and related field members

Women in Physics and Related Fields

Join our mailing list


Women in Physics and Related Fields (WiP+) is an informal group of women (primarily) supporting other women in the fields of Physics, Astronomy, Applied and Engineering Physics, Biophysics, and other related fields.  Everyone, ranging from prospective majors through faculty and staff, is invited to participate.  This is the current incarnation of the first women in physics group that was started here at Cornell in the fall of 1976.


WiP+ Coffee Hour: (minus the coffee until Covid regulations change) Every other Friday from 3-4pm in PSB 403: The first one, at least, will be virtual.

1/28, 2/11, 2/25, 3/11, 3/25, 4/8, 4/22, 5/6, 5/20

(The schedule may change after this semester.)

Women Speakers:

Physics Colloquium, 4pm-5pm Schwartz Auditorium
Stephanie Wissel, Penn State University
(Ralls Lecture)

Physics Colloquium, 4pm-5pm Schwartz Auditorium
Julia Greer, Caltech
(Cooper Lecture)

Physics Colloquium, 4pm-5pm Schwartz Auditorium
Tara Holm, Math, Cornell University

Physics Colloquium, 4pm-5pm Schwartz Auditorium
Aida El-Khadra, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Physics Colloquium, 4pm-5pm Schwartz Auditorium
Natasha Holmes, Cornell University

WiP+ in the news




  • Kate Gleason
    1884 Kate Gleason is the first women admitted to study engineering at Cornell in the Mechanical Arts program
  • In 1895, Carolyn Baldwin Morrison, was awarded the first Doctor of Science degree in the United States by Cornell University for her work in Physics.
  • ~1910 Frances G. Wick is the first women to earn a PhD in physics from Cornell.  She went on to teach physics at Vassar and several of her female students went on to do graduate work at Cornell.  During the 1918-1919 year she took a leave of absence of absence for war time emergency during which time she was an “Acting Assistant Professor” at Cornell.
  • 1944 Jane Faggen is the first women hired as a teaching assistant for the physics department.  She becomes part of a group of physics graduate students that “successfully persuaded the University to remove questions of race and religion from our application first – the first Ivy League institution to do so.
  • Susan Phelps was the first woman in the world to receive laboratory instruction in physics (here at Cornell).  She later went on to biology.  The Gage fund for “unspecified costs in advancing knowledge in physics” was created in her memory by her husband Simon Henry Gage and son Henry Phelps.
  • Martha Stahr Carpenter
    The first woman faculty member to be hired in College of Arts and Sciences was Martha Stahr Carpenter in 1947 as a radio astronomer in the Astronomy department. She later shifted into a research associate position when starting her family.
  • Vera Rubin
    1951 Vera Rubin earned her Master's degree in Astronomy from Cornell.  Famous for her work confirming the existence of dark matter, Vera was also the first woman to legally use the Palomar Observatory in 1965.
  • Millie (Spiewack) Dresselhous
    Millie (Spiewack) Dresselhous spends time as a postdoc at Cornell (1958-1960) before going on to become the first female tenured professor at MIT (1968) and the first president of the American Physical Society (1984). She was also the winner of many awards including National Medal of Science, the Oersted Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Enrico Fermi Award, and the Kavli Prize. In 2015, she became the first female to receive the IEEE Medal of Honor.  In 2017 she was featured in this GE add promoting women in STEM
  • Barbara Hope Cooper
    1983 Barbara Cooper, a former Cornell physics undergrad, was hired as the first women in a tenure track position in the physics department.
  • Ritchie Patterson
    Ritchie Patterson was the first women to serve a chair of the Physics Department from 2009-2011.
  • Lois Pollack
    2014 Lois Pollack begins her term as the first female director of Applied and Engineering Physics.


Department contacts: 

WiP+ Organizers

Equity advocates

  • Jenny Wurster (Physics)
  • SPS WiP Liaison (Elizabeth Donoway) and Diversity Liaison (Murali Saravanan)

Cornell University Resources:    

Women in Physics Statistics

Good Practices

Funding sources (grant/scholarship info)

Conferences/workshop opportunities