Women in European Astronomy, Vienna 11.9.2008, during the JENAM conference
Professor Urry's scientific research focuses on active galaxies that is galaxies with unusually luminous cores powered by super-massive black holes. Over the past 15 years, Professor Urry has worked hard to increase the number of women in the physical sciences, organizing national meetings on women in astronomy in 1992 (leading to the Baltimore Charta) and 2003 and is now helping organize a third meeting scheduled for 2009. She lead the U.S. delegation to the first international meeting on Women in Physics in Paris, France in 2002. Professor Urry chaired the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy for the American Astronomical Society, and served on the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics for the American Physical Society. She was an editor of the STATUS newsletter. Her opinion piece "Diminshed by Discrimination We Scarcely See" was published in the Washington Post (2005). Most recently she has authored a chapter called "Photons Have No Gender: A Woman's View of Physics" in the book "Gendered Innovations In Science and Engineering".
Dr. Catherine Cesarsky worked on the theory of cosmic ray propagation and acceleration, and galactic gamma-ray emission. Later, she led the design and construction of the ISOCAM camera onboard the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), and the ISOCAM Central Program that studied the infrared emission from many different galactic and extragalactic sources. Dr. Cesarksy was Director General of the European Southern Observatory between 1999 and 2007. She was the first woman president of the International Astronomical Union (2003-2006) and is a strong supporter of women in astronomy. She is currently also a member of the IAU Special Nominating Committee.