About Diversity & Inclusion

The goal of diversity and inclusion is to not make everyone the same but to enable everyone to be themselves and to reach their full potential.  Diversity and inclusion do not mean cultural assimilation, e.g. you are one of us now. Increasing diversity and inclusion in Physics & Astronomy requires sustained action.    Women, obviously half of the college-age population, still earn only 20% of undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics [1].  Under-represented racial and ethnic minorities, a third of the college-age population, earn less than 14% of undergraduate degrees and less than 8% of graduate degrees [2].

Diversity is important to us in science.  Different perspectives are valuable as some see things that others don’t. That’s critical to advance our understanding of the universe. The essence of scientific research is someone coming along and thinking about a problem differently.  Michael Faraday could see the circular nature of magnetism, Cecilia Payne could see the sun was not made of iron,  Albert Einstein could see deep, deep into nature and speak out against racial and ethnic discrimination. Diversity has many dimensions including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, nationality, age, disability, veteran status, and religious beliefs.

Inclusion is the state of mind of being respectful to every person you meet without prejudice.  We all have inherent prejudices: it is important that we actively pursue combating them as a community and within ourselves.  This is not easy and requires education, e.g.  a microagression may be invisible and unintentional to the person who sends it,  but feel like death by a thousand cuts to the recipient, who has received the same message  over and over in a systematic pattern from many people.

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