Slatyer, 33, is soft-spoken but talks quickly and animatedly. Beneath her quiet demeanor, “there’s a fierceness,” says MIT colleague Jesse Thaler. Growing up mostly in Canberra, Australia, Slatyer read voraciously. As she pored over A Brief History of Time, she realized physics sought to answer hefty questions about the universe largely through math, for which she had a natural knack. After majoring in theoretical physics, she earned a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard, did a postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study and joined MIT in 2013.
Brewaeys saw no significant differences in children’s well-being or in parental stress or emotional involvement between family types. But single mothers by choice did score significantly higher on the amount of social support they received and the amount of support they wanted.