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Building a physics community for everyone: Why it matters, steps to get there

Risa Wechsler, Stanford University
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
PAT C-520

​Physics has been persistently less diverse than other scientific and technical fields. In the US, Physics has fewer than 20% women at all levels; African American, Hispanic, and Native American women earn fewer than 2% of Bachelors degrees in Physics (a factor of 5 less than the fraction in Chemistry) and are fewer than 1% of faculty in PhD granting Physics departments. Beyond the numbers, minoritized members of our community often face forms of bias and barriers at every stage of their careers. These patterns lead to a dramatic loss of talent that threatens the intellectual vibrancy of our field.

What would it look like to build a physics community that was truly open to all? What are the barriers to doing so? How can we overcome them, especially those that are deeply built into the culture of physics? With creativity, persistence, and commitment from those with the power to most effect change, we have the ability to create an inclusive physics community. I will discuss barriers to this transformation, and first steps on a path forward based on work I have been doing as the Chair of the Physics Department’s Equity & Inclusion committee at Stanford University.

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