Prof. Burko, I hear you being concerned about protecting physics as it is. I think that there are good reasons to be concerned with maintaining scientific rigor: for example, there are already too many people who think that human-caused climate change is a political construction rather than an established reality. I believe that the laws of physics are real and represent nature faithfully (with the caveat that they are valid in limited contexts, e.g., Newton’s laws are valid in an inertial reference frame).

However, I also believe that the laws of physics as we know them are expressed in a human language, reflecting the interests and limitations of the society that speaks that language. These interests include reinforcing—and in fact co-creating—systems of gender and racial privilege, both in history and in the present day. For centuries, scientists have used the tools of their fields to “explain” that women and people...

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