Future Faces of Physics

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The governing Council of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society, has approved the following statement for general dissemination, effective October 8, 2009.

The Society of Physics Students recognizes that there is a vast untapped intellectual resource in all groups underrepresented in physics. For this reason, the Society of Physics Students is committed to making physics more accessible to everyone. We are committed to providing programs, resources and opportunities that encourage greater participation in the community of physics from members of all groups.

The representation of women in physics is dramatically lower than in most scientific disciplines and the representation of African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians remains very low when compared to the general population distribution. Students from the nation’s poorest families have a much lower rate of college attendance and graduation, and first generation college attendees seldom earn degrees in any field of science. 

We believe that a diverse workforce is necessary for maintaining a cutting-edge science program in the modern world. By bringing attention to under-represented groups in physics—such as African Americans, Hispanics, Americans Indians, females, and people with disabilities—we are challenging SPS and the larger physics community to reflect on the under-representation of these groups and on what can be done to rectify the situation.

  • Use the Physpardy game at an upcoming meeting
  • Encourage diversity in your department–consider expanding your recruiting efforts
  • Assess whether your physics lounge appeals to all types of students
  • Host a research talk by a physicist from a group that is underrepresented in physics
  • Hold a joint event with a minority group on campus
  • Plan an outreach event especially for students from underrepresented groups
  • Organize a panel discussion on diversity issues in science
  • Adorn your SPS flyers and other documents with the Future Faces of Physics Logo

Resources for Students

Also see:

Putting a New Face on Physics
Published in Symmetry by Krystle Williams, Former SPS Zone 2 Associate Councilor