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International physics conference, hosted by DIAS, seeks to address gender equality

IConference hosted by Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies achieves an almost 50/50 gender split for conference line up –

A theoretical physics conference will feature a significant 44/56 split between female and male speakers, despite gender disparities at senior levels within the field.

The conference, titled CATCH 22+2 (Cosmology, Astrophysics, Theory and Collider Higgs 2024’) is being hosted by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), to mark Ireland’s anticipated membership of CERN – the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, one of the world’s largest, most respected and prestigious centres for scientific research.

As part of the five-day event, the organising committee has implemented several measures to encourage attendance by female physicists and those from minority backgrounds, including arranging childcare options for attendees and subsidised conference fees.

Commenting on the conference, Dr. Venus Keus, Senior Research Fellow at DIAS and chair of the conference organising committee said: “Joining CERN, one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research, will be of huge benefit to the research community in Ireland. The School of Theoretical Physics at DIAS does significant work in this field, and being able to collaborate with CERN will bring many opportunities for our researchers to further their work, allowing them to develop their skills far beyond what is possible in Ireland. The CATCH 22+2 conference is a great precursor to our anticipated membership, bringing together the top physicists from across the world.

“One of the key goals for this conference is to increase the visibility of brilliant female physicists working in the field and thus contribute to enhancing female representation in the world of theoretical physics. We have gender balance across our programme which is unique for an event in the physics domain. Developing the line-up has ensured that we now have a database of speakers that can be used for all future conferences, meaning there is no excuse for not having appropriate representation in the future.”

Dr. Eucharia Meehan, Registrar and CEO at DIAS said “It’s hugely important to us at DIAS that we are cultivating an environment of equal opportunities and increasing the visibility of females working in the physics world. The conference is an opportunity to show that it is possible to ensure gender balance while maintaining the highest academic standards and creating an engaging and insightful programme. I look forward to seeing what the week brings for the field of physics and hope that other institutes and organisations will follow our lead.”

A free public lecture was delivered as part of the conference by Professor Tesla Jeltema on ‘The History of the Cosmos’ on Thursday 2nd May at the Royal Irish Academy. Prof. Jeltema reviewed the history of our universe and its composition, including dark matter and dark energy and discuss how current and future experiments will enable us to further our understanding of the cosmos.

Further information about the CATCH 22+2 conference is available online here.