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. Review the Physics departmental action plan for the EDI initiativeThe EDI has 50+ members consisting of Physics students, staff, researchers, and faculty. We welcome new members year-round and participation and time commitment is flexible. 
If you are interested in contributing to the Physics EDI initiative: DETAILS  /  SIGN-UP

 To post an EDI-related event to this webpage and/or to the Physics social media, complete and submit the EDI Media Posting Form(link is external). (Princeton netID required). For questions or to join our Slack channel, contact physicsedi@princeton.edu.

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

No upcoming events found.

Past Events

List of Past events

12:30 pm, Wednesday, August 4, 2021
EDI Summer Research Talk Series for Undergraduates
 Caroline Holmes, Princeton University Department of Physics graduate student
Abstract: Organisms sense the world through arrays of receptor cells, such as photoreceptors on the retina. In cases such as the compound eyes of insects, these arrays are nearly crystalline, while in others, such as the human retina, sampling is much less regular. Ordered arrays gather more information, but this comes at the cost of specifying the positions of all the cells. We can build quantitative models of this tradeoff, which give predictions of the relationship between sensory information and positional entropy. We will also compare these predictions to data in the human retina.

4 pm (EST) Thursday, May 6, 2021
EDI Seminar Series: Advancing Diversity at the PhD Level in Physics and Astronomy
Speaker: Dr. Dara Norman,
a Full Scientist and Deputy Director of the Community Science and Data Center at the NSF’s National Optical and Infrared Astronomical Research Laboratory (NOIRLab)
Dr. Norman will highlight examples of past culture change in the field, growing trends toward implementation of the values that support equity, diversity and inclusion in research, and the structural changes needed to usher in an inclusion revolution for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Poster for EDI seminar on May 6, 2021 with Dr. Norman

Friday, April 9 - Saturday, April 10, 2021
P4: Prospective Physics PhD Preview
Attention early-undergraduates interested in learning more about graduate school!
The Princeton Physics Department Ambassadors are hosting a 1.5-day virtual workshop with Princeton Physics faculty and grad students. We will focus on how to get involved with research, crafting grad school applications, and understanding life as a grad student. Registration details to be posted shortly.

EDI ambassadors

Prospective Physics PhD Preview (P4) Program Application Due Soon!
Application due 11:59PM EST, Saturday, March 28, 2021

We at Princeton Physics would like to invite you to apply for the P4 (Prospective Physics PhD Preview) Program, a brand-new workshop organized by the Princeton Physics Ambassadors. P4 will focus on giving you the tools to engage in physics research, identify your ideal graduate programs, and develop a competitive graduate application. Along the way, you’ll interact with graduate students, postdocs, and faculty from Princeton’s Physics Department. The workshop will run between April 9-10th, 2021, so mark your calendars!

To be eligible for the program, you must currently be in your sophomore undergraduate year and have demonstrated strong interest in physics through your coursework. If you do not fit these criteria explicitly but feel as though this program still pertains to your current undergraduate standing, please feel free to reach out to us. We especially welcome students from historically underrepresented groups to register.

To apply, please submit the following details to phy-ambassadors@princeton.edu by 11:59PM EST on Saturday, March 28th:

1. Your full name (preferred name, if applicable), pronouns, and email address

2. The university you currently attend, your year, and your major (intended or declared)

3. A list of physics courses you’ve taken or are currently enrolled in

4. A brief statement of interest describing your physics background, research interests and experiences (if applicable), career goals and how they relate to graduate studies in physics, and expectations for the P4 program (max 250 words)

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions - we look forward to receiving your applications!

P4 (Prospective Physics PhD Preview) Program Application

4 pm (ET), Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021
Seminar Series on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

"The Time is Now: Findings from AIP's TEAM-UP Report to Increase the Number of African Americans with Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and Astronomy" with speaker Tabbetha Dobbins (Rowan University).
Click to join the seminar:  https://princeton.zoom.us/j/93511620775
Meeting ID: 935 1162 0775
image of EDI seminar Jan. 19 poster

Princeton Physics Graduate Admissions webinar
Monday, December 7, 2020
3 pm 
(EST). Join us for our second graduate admissions webinar! Open to any student considering physics graduate studies. To register, contact your region's Ambassador or fill out this form: http://ow.ly/LTfU50CBIpO.  Click here for details about the Princeton Physics Ambassador Program.

image of poster for Graduate Admissions webinar on Dec. 7

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"

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

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

Broader Outreach
coordinator: Jason Puchalla
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. The group publicizes and promotes EDI projects, events, findings, and initiatives, both internally to the department and externally. 

Events co-coordinators:
Sabrina Pasterski
Jennifer Bornkamp

This group organizes department events on the topic of diversity and inclusion, curates speakers and ensures a departmental commitment to diversity for non-EDI events with respect to invited speakers and public engagement. The group publicizes and promotes EDI projects, events, findings, and initiatives, both internally to the department and externally. 
Graduate Student Matters coordinator: Caroline Holmes
Caroline Holmes
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. 
Postdoc Matters 
coordinator: Victor Rodriguez
Victor Rodriguez
This group aims to (1) foster a welcoming and inclusive environment, and (2) provide useful resources for postdoctoral researchers within the department in order to facilitate their professional development.
Undergraduate Matters
coordinator: Zach Atkins
Zachary Atkins
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.
Advisory Board
coordinator: Mariangela Lisanti 
Mariangela Lisanti




External Events and Resources

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. 


What the EDI is working on

December 2021 update from the EDI Advisory Board

  • Updated to departmental Code of Conduct; there will be a variety of outreach to department members regarding the Code in the coming months
  • Organized and running focus groups to follow-up on the Climate Survey
  • Organized the Mental Health training that was hosted in December 2021 and currently organizing some more trainings for spring semester

June 2021 update from the EDI Undergraduate Recruitment Group:
Summer Research Talk Series for Undergraduates
We are starting up our summer research talk series aimed at undergraduates. The goal of this series is to have graduate students and post-docs give accessible talks about their research and how they got involved in their particular field. This is a great opportunity to get introduced to various research topics and to get familiar with different aspects of being a practicing physicist! Check "Upcoming Events" for individual talk details.

March 2021 update from the EDI Data Gathering Group:
We are excited to release the all-new physics climate survey, the result of a collaboration between our student-run EDI Data Gathering group here in the Physics Department and the Princeton Office of the Provost. We began several months ago by studying similar surveys at Princeton and elsewhere to collect questions. We also went through an extensive revision process with the EDI Advisory Board to broaden our questions to better include all groups within the department, including staff and faculty. We added additional questions specific to our department, such as questions to assess how the department is supporting the development of scientific identity among its trainees. The data from this survey will be used to target EDI efforts over the coming years, and to evaluate the success of the program. This is a chance to learn what is working and what needs to be improved with regards to department climate. Please look for that email with the link to participate and encourage those you know within the department to do so as well so that we can take as many views into account as possible as we work to make the department more welcoming for everyone. 
generic survey image