CU physicist wins prestigious Women in Science award

Most of us know the name L’Oreal for cosmetics but the company is also a huge supporter of science and a local woman is earning their recognition for her hard work.

CU Boulder’s Dr. Deborah Jin is a physicist who won this year’s L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science award.

It’s a $100,000 prize to continue her groundbreaking work and it’s also a huge boost to women in science.

Dr. Jin has been a physics professor at CU since 1997. Her work involves cooling down molecules to temperatures 10 million times colder than any temperatures in nature.

“We do that in order to study quantum behavior in a gas which turns out to be a really nice model system for learning about quantum behavior,” Jin said.

This groundbreaking work earned her one of five awards from L’Oreal. Jin said it’s a huge honor and also a great reminder to young women that science is a great career path.

“You’ve got women as roughly half the population, if you’re not recruiting from that talent pool that’s a huge part of the problem,” she said.

More and more young women are entering the field like Jin’s graduate student, Ruth Shewmon.

“You don’t see a lot of role models and I think it’s hard to quantify that because it’s a really unconscious thing, it just really affects your confidence,” Shewmon said.

But these two are just some of the many women at CU who are excelling in science and setting an example for the next generation.

“There are examples of women in physics and engineering and math and other fields then you start to get more young people thinking, ‘I can do that’,” Jin said.