Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not. Improving diversity is about creating opportunities for people to join the Physics community irrespective of their specific personal characteristics. Sadly, our area suffers particularly from outdated stereotypes of what characteristics physicists have. For example, that they will be male and come from privileged socioeconomic backgrounds.
I believe that to diversify Physics the key is to reach out to young people and demonstrate that everyone is welcome. Throughout my career I have taken practical action to welcome all young people to the Science including:
As an undergraduate at Oxford University, I helped organise and deliver the ‘Oxford Hands-On-Science’ roadshow. This campaign visited deprived high schools across the U.K. giving pupils from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to find out more about Physics and how to get involved.
As a PhD researcher at Cambridge University, I continued my involvement with the ‘Hands-On-Science’ initiative and also volunteered at the Cambridge Science-Festival.
During my postdoc at Cornell University, I have continued my work to widen participation in Physics by volunteering on programmes organised by the Centre for Materials Research.
Inclusivity is about helping people currently in Physics to thrive independent of their background, sex, disability status etc. As I have severe dyslexia, I have a particular interest in helping to include people who are neurodiverse. For example:
To increase access, when possible, I provided video abstracts of my papers and upload versions of my seminars to YouTube.
When I present, I tell participants that I am dyslexic. I do this to help increase awareness about the neurodiversity that exists in Physics.
I have used the opportunity at Cornell to talk to the arXiv team about accessibility issues.
Through my volunteering and how I conduct my research my long-term goal is to leave Physics a more diverse and inclusive place then when I first joined the community.