Bulletin of the American Physical Society
APS March Meeting 2018
Monday–Friday, March 5–9, 2018; Los Angeles, California
Session L06: Hidden Figures and Diversity Champions in Physics
11:15 AM–2:15 PM,
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
LACC Room: 153A
Sponsoring Unit: COM
Chair: Garfield T. Warren, Indiana University, Bloomington
Abstract: L06.00005 : Hidden Figures Panel Discussion
1:39 PM–2:15 PM
Science and Technology has always had its cultural and societal challenges, but along the way there have been physicists who went beyond the science to open doors and provide access to people from underrepresented groups so that they might contribute and enrich the scientific community. Ultimately, these actions benefited not only those groups, but the scientific community and humanity. These are the scientists we call “Hidden Figures;” those who had tremendous impact on the numbers of underrepresented people participating in physics, but who themselves, were largely unknown for these efforts. The film, Hidden Figures depicts the story of black female mathematicians working for NASA in the 1960s, a time in our nation’s history when “separate but equal” was the law of the land, yet blacks faced many challenges to overcome racial inequality. Still, there was a larger, shared mission that led to a change in the cultural climate within NASA Computing, where they are all able to witness the integration of facilities and the creation of a new integrated group. During the 70’s and 80’s underrepresented groups enjoyed tremendous success in the production of Ph.D. graduates. Companies like AT&T, Bell labs, Hewlett Packard, National labs, and others were at the heart of this Renaissance largely due to the efforts of specific individuals. In this session, we feature (highlight) several speakers who will share their perspectives (both personal and professional) with respect to the champions and hidden figures who were instrumental in increasing, promoting, and advancing the numbers of underrepresented people participating in the field of physics. They will share thoughts, experiences, and data illustrating the impact of the research developed during this period, the cultural and climate challenges, and the tremendous societal implications. Following their talks, the speakers will participate in a panel discussion. Those who are interested in improving the diversity of their departments and workspaces will find this session particularly informative.
The American Physical Society (APS) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance the knowledge of physics.
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