Here is a conversation I had yesterday with someone I just met for the first time. He is a non-US scientist in a related field to mine and about the same age as me (maybe a bit younger). I don't know his work well, though I recently reviewed a manuscript on which he was 3rd or 4th author.
Male Science Professor: Your husband is also a PHYSICAL SCIENTIST [names general field].
Me: Yes, that's right. He works on X and Y.
MSP: I don't know about that work, but I do know his work on A and B and C [insert accurate description of my research topics].
Me: I work on the things you just listed. My husband's name is [insert different last name from mine]. Are you sure you are referring to his work?
MSP: I have never heard of him. The person I am thinking of has the same last name as you.
Me: Maybe you are referring to me then. You just described my research topics.
MSP: Oh no, I am sure the person with the same name as you is a man. His work is very well known and he publishes a lot. When I heard your name, I thought it must be your husband.
Epilogue: Someone else assured him that the 'man' with my last name is me. He was surprised but seemed to take the news well.
Did I just change his view of Scientists, or was this just another strange little episode?
1 year ago