siaa_logo_blue Ruth Durrer durrer_circle

Département de Physique Théorique, Université de Genève


Job Title: Professor; Head of Department


She is an Astronomer: How many years since you got your maximum degree?

Ruth Durrer: 22 years since I got my PhD.


SIAA: What is the most senior position you have acheived?

RD: I have been a full professor since 1995.

SIAA: Do you feel it was more difficult for you to get a job or a promotion in comparison with male astronomers?

RD: I don't think so.


SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?

RD: Yes!


SIAA: What is your family status?

RD: Married with three children.


SIAA: Have you had any career breaks? Did you find the return to work particularly difficult?

RD: I stopped working for about 4-6 months after the birth of each of my children. My PhD supervisor has been very helpful and return was not toodifficult.


SIAA: How many hours per day do you normally dedicate to work?

RD: Now, as my children are grown up, it is around 12 hours on workdays.


SIAA: What would most help you advance your career?

RD: My partner/husband has helped me a lot, but better organization/availability of childcare would have been useful.


SIAA: What recommendation would you make to young women starting their career in astronomy?

RD: Don't get discouraged by negative comments from men. Try to collaboratewith other women from time to time - it is just relaxing and more fun.


SIAA: What achievements in your career to date are you most proud of?

RD: Some of my scientific results e.g.on the absence of acoustic peaks in theCMB anisotropies from models with topological defects (PRL 76. 579, 1996), and my book on the CMB (Cambridge University Press, 2008).