Over the past few months, Black scientists and academics have established social media efforts such as #BlackInTheIvory, #BlackInAstro, and #BlackInNeuro to highlight the successes and the struggles of Black people in different professional environments as well as in their everyday lives. #BlackInPhysics was initiated to join this movement by celebrating Black physicists, amplifying their voices, and making Black role models more visible, thus revealing a more complete picture of what a physicist looks like.
With those goals in mind, we are proud to lead #BlackInPhysics Week on 25–31 October 2020. To learn about and register for the week’s many virtual events, check out blackinphysics.org or @BlackInPhysics on Twitter.
Through the week’s initiatives, we aim to strengthen intra- and intergenerational connections among physicists in the #BlackandSTEM community, facilitate community building among Black physicists working in similar and separate disciplines, encourage long-lasting collaborations, and further push for the development of supportive environments where current and future Black physicists around the world can thrive. In addition, we strive to enhance science literacy among the public and thereby improve the overall human condition via engaging communication of physics research on social media. Although all our programming is built for Black physics students, postdocs, faculty, and industry professionals, we encourage allies and the general public to participate in the week’s events.
A series of panel discussions will target issues relevant to Black physicists, such as dealing with impostor syndrome and mental health, and are aimed at those in specific career stages. Additional professional events include a job fair and a three-minute thesis competition for PhD students to showcase their work. These professional events are being held only on weekdays because we value work–life balance.
Social events will take place on six of the seven days and include various career-stage mixers to provide a place for the community to network, relax, and socialize. There is an Open Mic Night; an Ask-a-Scientist session in which we hope the general public will engage in conversations with Black physicists conducting cutting-edge research; a Friday-night mixer for Black physicists; and a special Halloween Murder Mystery event.
Each day, #BlackInPhysics Week will spotlight a different physics discipline: physics education research; high-energy physics and astrophysics; atomic, molecular, and optical physics; condensed-matter and materials physics; soft-condensed-matter physics; and nuclear and medical physics.
As a final initiative of #BlackInPhysics Week, we commissioned seven essays that address different aspects of being Black in physics, including being a successful student, battling impostor syndrome, and blazing a trail in the 21st century. Those essays, which you can access below, will be published daily the week of 26 October in both Physics World and Physics Today.
— Charles D. Brown II, University of California, Berkeley, co-leader of #BlackInPhysics Week