Carol G. Maclennan

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Biography

Carol G. Maclennan grew up in Bound Brook, New Jersey. Her physicist father supported her early interest in math and science, portending a successful career in a field still lacking women. While still an undergraduate at Pembroke College, she completed an internship with the Bell Labs acoustics department, to which she returned in 1960 for a lengthy stay. Excluding a brief period of employment on the computing staff of Cornell University, Maclennan worked at Bell Labs until her retirement in 2001. During her career, she worked on the block diagram (BLODI) compiler for speech processing and on spacecraft data analysis. She analyzed data from Jupiter and worked on the Pioneer and Voyager Missions project. Maclennan published over two hundred papers on a variety of topics in geophysics.

In 1980 Maclennan advanced to the position of MTS (member of technical staff) at Bell Labs, working on instrument fieldwork for the magnetometer in Greenland and the Antarctic, and then on satellite communications.

This interview details Maclennan's education, research, and collaborations. Maclennan analyzes the roles of gender in the Bell Labs hiring and promotion, as well as in workplace interactions. Protests by the Women's Rights Association brought improvement in promotion practices and childcare. As a Bell staff member, Maclennan participated a summer program for minority and women students similar to the one that had initially recruited her.

McClennan assesses change over time in Bell Labs computing, social activities, and management. She describes the effects of divestiture on research. The interview concludes with an assessment of Maclennan's career and of the status of women in scientific research.

Further Reading

Carol G. Maclennan Oral History