Being in a relationship with a fellow scientist can be an amazing experience. First and foremost, they understand your passion for research. You can discuss your science thoroughly as they have the knowledge to understand the work, the frustration, and the joy, as well as an interest in science to enjoy the conversation. You can commiserate about the ups and downs of experimental foibles, and jointly celebrate manuscript acceptances and grant successes. But there can also be downsides. At times, your partner could be credited for your work merely based on gender differences. If you choose to have a family you need to find the balance between work and home life perhaps even more than families in which only one partner is the scientist (it can be hard to stop talking science at times!). Furthermore, you may end up competing for the same funding opportunities. Two scientist households are not uncommon, and have been the subject of a number of news features in Nature over the last decade that are worth reading, the most recent here: Dance, A. Relationships: Sweethearts in science. Nature 542:261-263, 2017.
In this part of our series on women in science, we interviewed prominent, successful women who have thrived in a two-scientist household. We hope you enjoy learning about their personal journeys as much as we have and also gain some insight into how to maneuver through your own situation.
In the first installment, we will share the experiences of Thalia Papayannopoulou, the Elo Giblett Endowed Professor of Medicine, past ISEH President, recipient of the 2016 Donald Metcalf Award and Wallace H. Coulter Award, mother of John and Alexi, wife to George Stamatoyannopoulos, and grandmother of 3 grandchildren. Thalia also answers some questions on tactics to being a successful woman in science and offers her perspective on how things have changed.
Stay tuned for more stories from the women of ISEH.