Equivalence : Elizabeth L. Scott at Berkeley book cover
1st Edition

Elizabeth L. Scott at Berkeley

ISBN 9781482249446
Published April 19, 2017 by Chapman & Hall
634 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Equivalence: Elizabeth L. Scott at Berkeley is the compelling story of one pioneering statistician’s relentless twenty-year effort to promote the status of women in academe and science. Part biography and part microhistory, the book provides the context and background to understand Scott’s masterfulness at using statistics to help solve societal problems. In addition to being one of the first researchers to work at the interface of astronomy and statistics and an early practitioner of statistics using high-speed computers, Scott worked on an impressively broad range of questions in science, from whether cloud seeding actually works to whether ozone depletion causes skin cancer. Later in her career, Scott became swept up in the academic women’s movement. She used her well-developed scientific research skills together with the advocacy skills she had honed, in such activities as raising funds for Martin Luther King Jr. and keeping Free Speech Movement students out of jail, toward policy making that would improve the condition of the academic workforce for women. The book invites the reader into Scott’s universe, a window of inspiration made possible by the fact that she saved and dated every piece of paper that came across her desk.

Table of Contents

The Betty Book

Caught in the Thick of It (1968)

Work as Usual

UC and the Urban Crisis

Berkeley Women and the Urban Crisis

Berkeley Women Begin to Organize

A Complicated Set of Problems

Thick Politics and Early Exhaustion

Shaping the Life

Boots and Saddles (Before 1932)


Uncle and Father



Aunt Phoebe's Telescope (1882-1967)

Astronomy Education

Computer Work

Astronomy Doctoral Studies

Lick Observatory Work

Life Career Balance

Becoming an Outlier (1932-1939)

Move to California

University High School Advantage

Math Advantage

Science Advantage

High School to College

Tunnel Road House

Neyman Serendipity

Klumpke Prize and Graduation

Ten Thousand Hours of Practice (1939-1946)

Year One-Getting up the Mountain

Year Two-Summer at Mount Wilson

Year Three-Beginning War Work

Year Fou-Lick Fellowship

Year Five-University Fellowship

Year Six-Qualifying Exam

Year Seven-Ending War Work

Year Eight-Teaching and Research

A Symmetric Intellectual Relationship

A Rising Star (1947-1954)

Prospects at Vassar

Competing Offers

The UC-Berkeley Decision

Lecturer in Mathematics

Remarkable Research

Instructor in Mathematics

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Trumpler's Book

A Retrospective: Similarities and Differences

A Retrospective: Influence

Clusters of Impact

Championing Science (1939-1988)

Themes and Controversies

Modern Statisticians, Old Equipment

Statistical Astronomy

General Statistical Methods

Bioscience and Health

Symposia, Panels, and Talks

Managing Neyman

The Case of Cloud Seeding (1950-1985)



Radio Broadcast


Association Leadership

8.6 Relevance Today

Almost Alone in Statistics (1955-1988)

New Statistics Department (1955)


Administrator and Professor

Colleague Juliet Popper Shaffer

Status and Resilience

Students and Memories (1948-1988)


On Mentoring

On Generosity

On Personality and Professionalism

On Concentration

On Political Acumen

On Approach to Science

On the Other Side

On Gender

Summing It Up

Letters to Jerry (1954-1955)

October 1954: Paris

January 1955: Paris

February 1955: Paris

April 1955: Paris

May 1955: Paris

Thursday, May 5, 1955: Paris

Sunday, May 8, 1955: Dieppe, Newhaven, Winchester

Thursday, May 12, 1955: Oxford

Thursday night, May 12, 1955: London

Tuesday, May 17, 1955: Cambridge

Wednesday, May 18, 1955: Paris

Thursday morning, May 19, 1955: Paris (continuation of the previous letter)

n.d: Paris

Back in Paris

Monday midnight [most likely May 23, 1955]: Paris

Tuesday [May 24, 1955]: Paris

May 26, 1955, 7:20 am: Paris

Le 26 mai, 17 hr: Paris

29 Mai 1955: Paris

June 1st: Paris [1955]

Saturday, June 4: Lisbon

Soul Mates

Civil Rights Advocacy (1950-1953, 1963-1968)

Loyalty Oath

IMS and Racial Segregation

Civil Rights Solicitations

Saving Aquatic Park

Free Speech Movement

A Changed Environment

The Status of Academic Women at Berkeley

A Disgraceful Situation

(January-September 1969)

Two Faculty Clubs

Senate Subcommittee

Data Collection

Making Visible (October-December 1969)



More Research

Nearing End of Data Collection

Not a Good Time (January-April 1970)

One Club

Counseling and Interpreting

Problems in Zoology and Chemistry


Problems in Mathematics

Information Exchange

Grounded in Hard Fact (May-June 1970)




How to Proceed


Getting on the Agenda

A Tiny Beginning (June-July 1970)

Copies Sent

Advocacy Letters

First Mention of Big Telescopes


Persistence of Repeated Themes

(August-December 1970)

Hard Facts About Big Telescopes


Not Ready to Vote

Year End Follow-Ups

We Intend to Do (January-March 1971)

State and System Actions

Club and Center Proposals

De Facto Discrimination

Budget Committee Attention


Progress Report

A Little Fire (April-May 1971)

Finally on the Agenda


Advisory Committees

Class Action Complaint

Awakened by Stories and Statistics

Affirmative Action

Not Easily Erased Overnight (June-July 1971)

Prizes for Women

Club Operations

Doing More

Issues and Recommendations


No Women at the Top

A Lot of Power (August-December 1971)

New Advisory Committees

Ideas for AAAS

Policies and Practices

LAW Mobilizes a Congressman

Chancellor's CSAW Established


Senate Resolution and Review


Still Negotiating

Weak, Grudging, Incomplete (January-February 1972)

CCHE Assignment

Angela Davis and UCLA

Committee Concerns

Agreement Over Personnel Files

Louder Voices

A New Chapter

Time for Action (March-June 1972)

Loss and Delay


Affidavit, Dissent, Conferences, AAAS

New Recommendations

CCHE Deadlines, Topics, Connections

Salary Equity Studies

Facts of the Matter (July-December 1972)

"Facts of the Matter"

Club Accepts Women

Women in Science

Consult Now

Focusing on Salary Data (January-July 1973)

More Information Sharing

More AAAS Activity

Club Relationships

Time for Affirmative Action

Lack of Quorum

Report Published

`Lib' Flavor

Society's Problem (August-December 1973)

Vision for a Faculty Center

Fong Hearing


Women Generally Receive Less (January-April 1974)

Including Salary Inequity

Invited Speakerships

AAUP Joint Committee Venture

Criticizing \Underutilization" Methods

Communicating Methods; Explosive Results

Responding to \Blasts" and Supporting Individuals

Conciliation Agreement

Time to Improve Pay Reporting

Big Telescopes Story Challenged


Persuasive Analysis (April-December 1974)

CCHE Study

Top 100 Salaries


Campus Attitudes toward Affirmative Action

Expertise Needed by AAUP

Committee of Statisticians


High Stakes (1975)

Club Relationship Pains

UC Progress and Problems

Berkeley Pilot Study

Initial Kit Progress

Federal Testimony

Pilot Studies Progress

Not Nearly Enough

Developing the Kit (1976)

More UC Affirmative Action

Club Merger Declined

More Reports, Advocacy, Testimony

Statistics Department Self-Evaluation

Mills College

Fighting to Hold Gains

First Draft of Part I

Rank as a Predictor

Next Drafts

Completing the Kit (1977)

Praise and Potential for the Kit

Old Master

More Salary Work and Kit Dissemination

Faculty Club Questionnaire

Influencing Salaries (1978)

Persisting Inequities

Conferences and Colloquia

Astronomy, Statistics, Engineering

Ferber Collaboration


Kit Promotion and Experience

Affirmative Action Comments


Final Decade of Leadership (1979-1988)

More Women's Studies Publications

More Honors

Neyman's Stroke



Betty's Fatal Stroke


View More



Amanda L. Golbeck is professor of biostatistics and associate dean for academic affairs in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She has had a long-term interest in gender equity issues in academe that stems from her early association with Scott. Golbeck was the lead editor of Leadership and Women in Statistics (Chapman & Hall/CRC Press) and has had a number of published articles on gender issues in the statistics profession. In 2016, the Committee on Presidents of Statistical Societies selected Golbeck to receive the COPSS Elizabeth L. Scott Award.


"This book is an amazing tour de force." ~ Juliet Shaffer, University of California-Berkeley

"What an intriguing life Scott led!" ~ Deborah Bennett, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Ret.

"The details of what was done when in response to situations are revealing and instructive. We should all have access to her story." ~ Brian Yandell, University of Wisconsin

"The way in which Scott was able to continue her research while simultaneously serving the University system through her gender discrimination work is exemplary and should be inspirational to the academic women of today. Women are still recognised as being under-represented at higher levels of academia, particularly in science, even though it is now 50 years after Scott commenced her investigations! Men and women who are interested in the history of statistics and in the history of gender equity in universities will want to own this book. There is inspiration to be gained and lessons to be learnt by those who still face gender inequity in academia today." ~ Alice Richardson, ANU College of Medicine, Canberra

"Equivalence tells the captivating story of statistician Elizabeth L. Scott, who was a trail blazer for all women in academia, and especially in statistics . . . During her entire time in the Statistics Department, she overlapped with only four other women . . . It is a story of the love, passion, and commitment exhibited by Betty throughout her personal and professional life. It also illustrates the love, passion, and commitment of the author (statistician Amanda Golbeck) for telling Betty’s story. . . Reading Equivalence was an eye-opening experience for me. Having received my PhD in Statistics in 1978, the book helped me place my academic career in a larger context. It felt somewhat like I had boarded a train part way through a treacherous journey, and only slowly came to realize the hardships the passengers had faced before reaching my embarkation point. It brought back memories of some of my early experiences . . ." ~ Jessica Utts, American Statistician