Black History Month

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Shirley Jackson on a tour of a USNRC facility.

Illustration by Abigal Malate, American Institute of Physics

Throughout February, the American Institute of Physics (AIP) is highlighting resources and materials that celebrate the accomplishments of African American scientists.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to the success of our fields, and Black scientists are valued contributors to that success. In recognition of this, AIP adopted a Strategic Framework with a core strategy to “advance the physical sciences with a unifying voice of strength from diversity.” 

One significant step toward this strategy has been through the TEAM-UP Project. In 2020, AIP’s TEAM-UP Task Force released its groundbreaking report, “The Time is Now: Systemic Changes to Increase African Americans with Bachelor’s Degrees in Physics and Astronomy.” TEAM-UP uncovered long-term systemic issues within the physics and astronomy communities contributing to the underrepresentation of African Americans in these fields and makes important, actionable recommendations for community-wide efforts to reverse this trend.

Following the report’s release, the TEAM-UP Project focused on efforts to help the community implement its recommendations, and it continues today with a new, multi-year initiative called TEAM-UP Together. This collective action initiative between AIP, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), American Astronomical Society (AAS), American Physical Society (APS), and the Society of Physics Students (SPS) aims to engage, expand, and leverage the physical science ecosystem to double the number of African Americans earning bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy by 2030.  In June 2022, TEAM-UP Together launched a Student Scholarship program to address financial barriers faced by African American undergraduates in these fields, and it will soon provide funding to academic departments prioritizing African American student success. Learn more about TEAM-UP Together and the first cohort of TEAM-UP Together Scholars here.

In the meantime, we invite you to peruse the resources we have curated below to inform and inspire you during Black History Month and beyond.  As you do, be sure to follow our channels and join in on the conversation.

 

Interview with Evelynn Hammonds, the Barbara Gutman Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and Professor of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, who speaks about racial diversity in physics, and what needs to change in the scientific community to achieve greater diversity. Hammonds is the first African-American and the first woman ever to become a Dean of Harvard College.

Interview with James Edward Maceo West, African American inventor, acoustician, and research professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University. He is a co-inventor of the electret microphone.