Science is diverse, and so are scientists. Those who make up the academic scientific and philosophical communities in most institutes and within FQxI do not reflect the diversity of the population of humans. There can be no doubt that scientific insight is not confined to one group of people but distributed across the whole of humanity. Centuries of exclusion, marginalization, and gentleman’s club rules have created a lack of diversity among scientists in many academic and scientific institutes.
We invite you, those who want to make the foundations of science more accessible, to join us in this work. Science is not done in a vacuum. We are brainstorming ideas and welcome participation and constructive suggestions from those who are interested.
This year our external work includes, but is not limited to:
- Open Membership Call: One small step is to reimagine how FQxI solicits membership nominations. As we figure out a long-term strategy, we are hosting an open call for Membership nominations and self-nominations. We hope that by expanding our nomination process, we will be able to invite more researchers from often marginalized and systemically excluded communities in the sciences to be a part of FQxI.
- Awarding small Outreach/Equity grants of up to $15,000 in our 2023 Fulcrum Grants round.
- Our essay competition, “How can science be different?” (open to submissions until the deadline, April 19, 2023) asks some specific questions related to equity, e.g., “What could a science free of racism and sexism have looked like, what can it look like in the future? And how could the process of science be better?” We look forward to receiving essays that tackle this question and provide us with ways to better imagine the future of science. We are also making the submissions anonymous until the winners are announced. We are curious to see if these measures–the lack of a name (that people can immediately use to assume gender and ethnicity details) and bio that shares academic status, or the lack of one–make any changes in how people rate essays or interact with each other.
If you have any constructive ideas to share, want to support FQxI in our equity efforts, or want to help fund this work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note we do not respond to hateful emails.
FQxI’s Fulcrum Grants for
Equity & Outreach
University of New Hampshire
Cite Black Women+ in Physics Project
Ana Belen Sainz
University of Gdansk
Women in quantum information science: a database
King's College London
Astrophysics is also for girls
Cristhiano Duarte Silva
International Institute of Physics – Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte
Impedance Collective – Investigating and Promoting Diversity
Black Lives Matter. This is incontrovertible. But it is not enough to just say Black Lives Matter. We must also unpack and understand how we uphold white supremacy when we do not actively challenge the marginalization and silencing of Black scientists, of Black people. It is not by chance or coincidence that there are so few Black people in physics and cosmology. Academia, science institutes, and science foundations must take on the challenge that comes when we say Black Lives Matter.
As scientists, it is not just our job to see the world as it is but also to strive to make it a better place. To overcome our preconceptions and prejudices. To honestly assess ourselves and to acknowledge our own failings. FQxI’s membership has more Nobel Prize winners than Black scientists and outreach specialists. To deny we are part of the problem is to deny reality.
To quote Ijeoma Oluo, “Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.” We will therefore be making changes to the way in which we operate over the next few months and years in efforts to acknowledge and combat systemic racism in academia and within the foundation. We do not yet know what form they will take. We cannot guarantee we will be successful. But we will listen. We will learn. And we will do better.
Today we begin a process of both introspection and hard work at FQxI, designing initiatives. As we implement these plans, we will give regular updates and be held to account; this is not something that will fall aside when the news cycle changes. If you have ideas for what FQxI should do, we’d love to hear them directly at equity@FQxI.org
– David Sloan and Anthony Aguirre
We would be remiss not to acknowledge the support of Zeeya Merali, Kavita Rajanna, and Jasmine Fledderjohann in drafting this statement.
Particles for Justice’s letter on why to #strike4blacklives.