Diversity and Inclusion

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee plans events and initiatives aimed at increasing the diversity of perspectives in physics, promoting inclusivity in physics and creating a sense of belonging for all in the community of physics. Our activities are guided by the Department's Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DDIAP), which lays out the goals we aim to achieve with our activities.

Departmental Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

The Department of Physics is committed to creating a safe and welcoming space for all members of our community and to increasing the representation of historically excluded groups at all ranks – undergraduate, graduate, staff, and faculty. We strive for this commitment to be reflected in all our activities, including teaching, research, and service. Our DDIAP committee and community members are taking concrete steps toward creating an inclusive and equitable environment.

The Departmental Diversity and Inclusion Action Plans (DDIAP) for the Department of Physics are available on the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan website.

Inclusive Excellence

In keeping with Brown’s long tradition of excellence, the Department of Physics strives to perform research at the frontiers of science while also training the next generation of physicists. We accomplish this most effectively when we draw from the widest possible pool of talent and attract and create physicists diverse not only in race, ethnicity, and gender, but also in the different intersectionalities of identity such as age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. By building a truly inclusive culture, one which bridges these different lived experiences and considers everyone as a partner in moving our educational mission forward, we can attract the best minds from around the world to solve the most fundamental problems of nature. In this way, we can put into practice Brown University’s stated mission of “serving the community, the nation, and the world.”

Historically Underrepresented Groups (HUGs)

The U.S. Department of Education identifies several groups that continue to have limited participation in higher education due to legacies of oppression and discrimination. Termed “historically underrepresented groups (HUGs)” by the University, these include persons who self-identify as American Indian, Alaskan Native, African American, Hispanic or Latinx, and Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander. In science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the U.S. Department of Education also identifies women as a group that is underrepresented at the graduate and faculty levels. Moreover, according to a report made by the American Psychological Association(1), gender, racial and ethnic imbalances are self-perpetuating: would-be scientists receive an implicit message that imbalances are the norm. Because they see no role models among successful physicists, students can’t help but internalize notions that the field has no relevance to them or that they will always be struggling to achieve excellence, which naturally discourages them from pursuing careers in physics. As a department, we are committed to reversing this historical trend and to increasing the representation of women and HUGs in physics.


In this groundbreaking report, TEAM-UP uncovers long-term systemic issues within the physics and astronomy communities that contribute to the underrepresentation of African Americans in these fields and makes important, actionable recommendations for community wide efforts to reverse this trend.
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