Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

The Department of Physics' Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiative is a department-wide call to action to combat racism, discrimination, and implicit bias in academia and our daily lives.

Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Action

The Princeton University Department of Physics stands in solidarity with local, national, and global movements against systemic racism, which have been highlighted by the issue of police violence against Black people in the United States. We affirm that Black and Brown lives matter, and commit to ensuring that all members of our community feel valued and empowered to achieve their potential. We further commit to listening and learning from Black and Brown communities, and addressing how individuals, departments, and institutions systemically maintain and reify the oppression and exclusion of Black people and other people of color.

On June 10th, 2020, members of the Physics Department joined physicists and academics across the country for a Strike for Black Lives; a day for non-Black scientists “to engage in academia’s core mission to build a better society for everyone” by educating themselves and advocating for change in their communities. Discussions at a Department Town Hall held on June 10 illuminated the need for deliberate and consistent action to combat racism in our community.

To implement the concrete actions discussed at the Town Hall on Strike for Black Lives, we created the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Initiative. This Initiative has created six different working groups and tasked each one with immediately creating and implementing programs and policy changes that support and address the needs of marginalized physicists and students.

As the American public confronts the institutional racism of our nation, we recommit ourselves to listening to and supporting Black and Brown scholars and creating a department environment where they can thrive. We must work to support individuals with multiple identities who are discriminated against and excluded in our society, including race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, nationality, indigenous identity, and immigration status. We hope that our scholarship and daily actions will be part of a larger movement that forges an alliance to unite people around human dignity. 

Signed by,
Herman Verlinde, Chair and Class of 1909 Professor of Physics
James D. Olsen, Associate Chair and Professor of Physics
William C. Jones, Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Physics
Lisa M. Scalice, Senior Department Manager


Upcoming events / notices

Physics Department Book Club
3:30 pm (EST), Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Join us for our inaugural book club (virtual) event. We will introduce the book "Einstein on Race and Racism" by Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor.  
https://princeton.zoom.us/j/94296404435  (Meeting ID: 942 9640 4435)

image of book cover "Einstein on Race and Racism"

EDI initiative "All Hands" Meeting
2 pm (EST), Thursday, December 3, 2020  

All working groups should plan to present ~5-10 minutes of updates on their ongoing projects.  We're looking forward to seeing you all then!
image of EDI logo

Summer Internship through PICS (Princeton Internships in Civic Service)
Deadline: 5 pm (EST), Monday, December 7, 2020 
Apply herehttps://pics.princeton.edu/students#Critical%20Dates
These internships will be running in 2021! Options include education, public policy, and community  development to name a few. Summary: PICS offers 8-10 week paid summer internships at nonprofit organizations across the United States and abroad. Paired with an alumni mentor, PICS students explore opportunities in research, energy policy, advocacy for marginalized communities, arts and cultural organizations, bridging educational achievement gap, service, environmental sustainability, and global health. Several PICS internships fulfill requirements of certificate programs. While PICS interns come from diverse backgrounds and a wide range of academic interests they are united in their desire to serve. Details: https://pics.princeton.edu/

PICS group photo


Past Events

List of Past events

TEAM-UP Report: The TIME is Now — Charting a Course to 2030
2 pm - 4 pm, Friday, November 20, 2020  
Registration: https://www.aps.org/programs/minorities/webinars/teamup.cfm
Sponsored by: American Physical SocietyAmerican Institute of Physics

The AIP National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy (TEAM-UP) released a report in early 2020 on their two-year study of the experiences of African American physics students. The report includes recommendations and a call to action for institutions, faculty, and students who are interested in supporting the success of African American undergraduates in physics.

In this third joint physics society webinar, panelists will speak of their two-year study on the experiences of African American physics students. 

After attending, webinar attendees will take away a better understanding of:

  1. The TEAM-UP Report and recommendations
  2. How to get involved in implementation workshops
  3. Next steps for TEAM-UP
  4. How to implement changes using the TEAM-UP report
  5. How to take action at their own institutions

The webinar will be hosted by APS CEO Dr. Kate Kirby and APS President-Elect S. James Gates, Jr. (Brown University, Ford Foundation Professor of Physics & Affiliate Professor of Mathematics).
photos of presenters: Prof. Tabbetha Dobbins, Dr. Mary James, Dr. Dara Norman

The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
November 9-13, 2020

ABRCMS is one of the largest communities of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students attend this conference to present their research, enhance professional development skills, explore graduate schools, and network. Research faculty and program directors play an essential role in mentoring students and learning strategies for facilitating student success. Details: https://www.abrcms.org/

Last year, ABRCMS engaged 5300+ attendees through scientific and professional development sessions, student presentations and networking opportunities. This year, ABRCMS: The Virtual Experience will deliver timely and relevant content and activities tailored to the current times. You can expect the same ABRCMS conference you have come to love – with opportunities to learn, share and connect with peers and experts – in a socially distant format.

image of ABRCMS conference event banner

National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) Conference
November 5-8, 2020

Participation by Princeton Physics is coordinated by the Physics Graduate Recruitment Working Group and the Graduate School's ADI Team. Details: https://www.nsbp.org/2020-conference/2020-conference-home(link is external)
image of National Society of Black Physicists conference poster

#BlackinPhysics Week
October 26-31, 2020

Seven topical days twill cover different aspects of physics. We will have professional and social events, as well as community-building activities on twitter. Each day will feature an article written by Black physicists regarding different aspects of our identities. Each of the following physics disciplines will have one day of #BlackInPhysics week dedicated to them: physics education research, high energy and astro- physics, AMO physics, condensed matter and materials physics, soft condensed matter physics, as well as nuclear and medical physics. 
Details: blackinphysics.org
image of BlackInPhysics logo

EDI Seminar Series
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 at 4 pm
Speaker: Professor William Massey, the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering.
Join the seminar! https://princeton.zoom.us/j/94964613381

Prof. Wilsey will present a brief chronology for a near century historical interplay of the Black experience in the Princeton area with Princeton Physics (followed by Q&A). 
Event hosted by the Dept. of Physics and Dept of Astrophysics; coordinated by the Physics EDI Activities and Speakers Working Group.

Poster publicizing Prof. Massey's seminar

SACNAS - The National Diversity in STEM Virtual Conference
October 19-24, 2020 (online!) 
The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference serves to equip, empower and energize participants for their academic and professional paths in STEM. Event participation coordinated by the Princeton Graduate School ADI Team.
Conference Ambassador sign-up form: https://forms.gle/278Vu8THK6xK8Dhk8
Conference details: https://www.2020sacnas.org/#platformvideo 
image of SACNAS poster

Grad Life @ Princeton Physics
Friday, October 16, 2020
4 pm 
(EST). Are you considering applying to a physics graduate program? Did you know that you get paid to be a grad student? Ph.D. programs in STEM fields are full-time jobs with all the benefits: no tuition and getting paid to research and learn! With admissions season on the horizon, we know you’ve got questions about applications, grad life, and what it’s like to do graduate physics research. 
Who: We’re the Princeton Physics Recruitment Ambassadors, you’re the budding young physicist! 
What: A Zoom webinar where we’ll talk about graduate life, applications, and research at Princeton. Pro-tip: don’t miss the special (read, optional) break-out session with your region’s ambassador following the main event! 
Where: Join Zoom Meeting: https://princeton.zoom.us/j/95143456987(link is external)
Why: Because you care about physics, and we care that you care about physics. This event is for everyone, and we want to provide as much transparency as we can! We especially welcome students from historically-underrepresented groups to join our event. This seminar is open to all U.S. and international students and prospective applicants (do not have to be affiliated with Princeton to attend). This event was organized by the Princeton Physics EDI Initiative.
image of Grad Life @ Princeton ambassadors

Prospective Ph.D. Preview (P3)
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020

2 pm - 4:50 pm (EST). Breakout sections will include current faculty members and graduate students from Physics/Astro/PPPL. P3 is designed for prospective students to gather information on graduate education at Princeton University. This event is open to any interested students and highly encourages participation from first generation/low income students and historically underrepresented groups. Participation is invitation only. Applications for the 2021 program will open in Spring 2021: Details: https://graddiversity.princeton.edu/prospective-phd-preview-p3. Event participation coordinated by the EDI Graduate Recruitment Working Group, Physics/Astro/PPPL departments, and the Princeton Graduate School ADI Team.
image of Grad School ADI "Prospective PhD Preview (P3)" webpage

EDI Seminar Series
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 at 4 pm
Speaker: Shawn Maxam, Senior Associate Director for Institutional Diveristy and Inclusion in Princeton's Office of the Provost. The session provided an overview of best practices and strategies for enhancing racial diversity and representation. Coordinated by the Physics EDI Activities & Speakers Working Group, and the Physics and Astrophysics Departments. Event coordinated by the Physics EDI Activities and Speakers Working Group.
image of Shawn Maxam poster

Physics EDI "All-Hands" General Meeting
Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020

All those affiliated with the Princeton Physics community (undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, staff, researchers, and faculty) are welcome to attend. The EDI strives for transparency and always welcomes new members, however, you do not have to be involved with EDI to attend.

Physics Graduate Recruitment Town Hall meeting
Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020

Physics Town Hall meeting #2
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Physics Town Hall meeting #1
Thursday, April 30, 2020


EDI working groups

Advisory Board (coordinators: Mariangela Lisanti and Marianne Bauer)

Activities and Speakers (coordinator: Sabrina Pasterski)
This group aims to organize department events centered on the topic of diversity and inclusion, to curate speakers to meet the needs of other working groups and, most importantly, to ensure a departmental commitment to diversity for non-EDI events with respect to invited speakers and public engagement.

Broader Outreach (coordinator: Jason Puchalla)
This group facilitates and helps organize bridging activities within our department and the broader community. The group maintains outreach and in-reach connections and advocates for building pathways between the physics department and the public.

Communication and Social Media (coordinator: Stephanie Kwan)
The group publicizes and promotes EDI projects, events, findings, and initiatives, both internally to the department and externally.

Data Gathering (coordinator: Grace C. MacKenzie Smith)
This group focuses on collecting and and presenting statistics relevant for the department. We are a resource to the other working groups in the EDI initiative and maintain ties to similar organizations in other departments.

Graduate Student Recruitment (coordinator: Ben Weiner)
This group aims to make the graduate program more diverse and inclusive. With a program of outreach and professional development tailored to undergraduates, we hope to make the next cohort of graduate students our most diverse ever.

Undergraduate Recruitment (coordinator: Aurelien Fraisse)
We strive to foster a welcoming and engaging undergraduate Physics experience that promotes diversity, provides all students, regardless of their ultimate majors, with the support and structure most conducive to academic success, and offers meaningful research opportunities across class years

Join us!

The EDI working groups welcome all members of the Department of Physics (students, faculty and staff). We currently have ~50 members! Please contact us at physicsedi@princeton.edu.


Cultural and Affinity Groups at Princeton(link is external)(link is external)

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy (TEAM-UP(link is external)(link is external)) has spent the last two years investigating the reasons for the persistent underrepresentation of African Americans in physics and has released a report with its findings. In this report, TEAM-UP has uncovered long-term systemic issues within the physics and astronomy communities that contribute to the underrepresentation of African Americans in these fields and makes important, actionable recommendations for community wide efforts to reverse this trend.

The American Physical Society (APS) Board Statement on Racial Violence(link is external)(link is external)Physics flourishes best when physicists can work in an environment of safety, justice, and equity. Therefore, all of us must work vigorously against systemic racism and to overcome implicit biases. The Board of the American Physical Society believes that it is timely to reaffirm the importance of building a diverse and inclusive physics community, as expressed in the APS Joint Diversity Statement(link is external)(link is external) (Human Rights 08.2). The Board expresses deep concern over incidents of racially biased violence and threats of violence against people of color.