Dr. Jane Le Hang Luu is an astronomer and engineer at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Amongst many other awards, she has been honored with the 2012 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the 2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics for her work in discovering the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system beyond Neptune.
Dr. Luu immigrated to the United States from Vietnam at the age of 12. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford and her doctorate from MIT. She has taught at Harvard and Leiden University in the Netherlands. She was also a Fulbright Fellow at The Arctic University of Norway.
PIVOT asked Dr. Luu to share some of her thoughts for Women's History Month.
PIVOT: Can you provide your thoughts on this administration and how it affects people in your field?
DR. LUU: The current administration’s disregard for facts is terrifying. A rational conversation about anything is necessarily based on logic and facts. If facts don’t matter anymore, then society simply breaks down.
PIVOT: How did being an immigrant affect who you are today?
DR. LUU: I think it instills in me the idea of not taking anything for granted. And to keep going, no matter what.
PIVOT: What is it like to be a Vietnamese woman in your field? What are the advantages? What obstacles have you had to overcome?
DR. LUU: It’s a tough problem because both men and women are biased against women. I don’t know what I can say about the problem that is new, I am sure you’ve heard it all before, so I won’t say anymore.
PIVOT: What advice do you have for minorities (particularly females and Asians) as we strive to become successful in your field?
DR. LUU: Never give up. Most of the time things won’t go your way, but if you stop, you are sunk. Just keep going.