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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Lack of diversity in physics

An article in Physics Today paints a sobering picture on the state of gender and racial diversity in physics in the United States. Their hard numbers pretty much agree with my (somewhat limited individual) experience.

There is an odd portion of the article that tries to explain what motivates physicists in terms of how infants view the world. It sounds like the author is deluded. The idea that people intrinsically want to be scientists is a bit silly. It is also disingenuous to present physics as some noble, or natural choice of careers. The modern scientist is a western, cultural phenomenon, not some basic primitive, innate human endeavour.

Predictably enough, the article focuses on what could be changed in education in order to attract more woman and minorities to the field. I think it would be smarter to ask how the field can be changed to make it more attractive.

Posted at: 5:25 PM
Categories: Physics in the news