There's obviously a lot more to talk about, but two quick things.
1. We see four Russians. All of them are scientists, three of them--the majority--women. We see a hell of a lot more Americans and British. Of them, the only women are secretaries, flight attendants, and two women who I guess are scientists (sitting at the table at the Clavius debriefing) who have no speaking parts or names. I don't think this was unconscious on Kubrick's part.
2. I really like the way that for at least the first half of the movie, many really startlingly exceptional, wondrous things (the discovery of an alien artifact, artificial intelligence) are rendered everyday and banal by being surrounded by small talk, while things that would actually be banal for the characters (eating in space, moving from one part of a commercial spacecraft to another, throwing away garbage, docking with a space station) are filled with more sci-fi sensawunda than you can easily deal with.