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Does the Greek letter chi stand for Chicago?

It’s not easy doing it all
I was appalled and, yes, even outraged to read Dawn Belt Davis’s criticism of Lynn Margulis (“Letters,” April/04) for admitting that it was not possible for her to be a good wife and mother and a first-class scientist at the same time.

To Belt, I would say the following: “First-class scientist” is an 80-hour-a-week job at least. If “good wife” and “good mother” consume 20 hours each per week, that leaves a total of four hours per night for sleep, tooth-brushing, and everything else in life. What is really sexist and unfair is to make such demands of women in a world where men do not do at least half the housework and half the child care. These demands are demeaning and punishing to women who want to make the kind of unique contribution that Margulis has. For my part, I felt empowered by her comment; I could not imagine what graduate school or my current research life would be like with children added. I wish you luck in your future career and predict that you will be working very hard indeed if you manage to equal her achievement.

Linda T. Darling, MAT’73, AM’80, PhD’90
Tucson, Arizona

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