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Physics Black History Month

Black History Month is celebrated every October. The university has a set of resources which can be accessed here

#BlackinPhysics is a week dedicated to celebrating Black physicists. Details of events for 2020 can be found here, and also on Twitter

An interview with some of the organizers of #BlackinPhysics week is published in Physics World here

The department of Physics is proud of its commitment to diversity, and as part of Black History Month a description of some inspirational Black Physicists can be found below; we will be adding fresh content to this page each day for one week, starting on 26th October 2020

Further support for black physicists can be found through Twitter under the Blackett Lab Family, a collective of UK based Black physicists: diversifying perceptions of physics and addressing Black underrepresentation at all levels in the field @blackettlabfam

Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a British space scientist, science educator and researcher. Born in London 1968, to Nigerian parents who separated when she was just four, a childhood diagnosis of dyslexia could not hold her back. In 1994 after graduating with a degree in physics from Imperial College London, Maggie continued her pursuit of academic excellence as a PhD student in the field of spectroscopy and interferometry also at Imperial. Recognized as an exceptional engineer, she would later work across industry, academia and government institutions spanning projects across high-tech defense equipment to astronomical telescopes. Dr Aderin-Pocock has long been passionate about inspiring the next generation of young scientists, especially for students in deprived areas of inner-city London. Her expertise has earned her consulting roles for scientific television productions, and more recently she found a natural flare for presenting in shows such as Do We Really Need the Moon? and The Sky at Night. In 2009 she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in recognition for her for services to science education. Today Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at University College London, and sits on the UK Research and Innovation Council

Mark Richards

Mark Richards is a British atmospheric physicist and teaching fellow at Imperial College London. Richards was born in Nottingham 1970 to his Jamaican parents, but was raised predominantly by his mother, a nurse who greatly valued education as a ‘passport out of poverty’. Mark Richards attributes his initial drive in pursuing an academic career to a high-school chemistry test where he achieved top marks much to the dismay of his fellow classmates. Upon completing a BSc in chemistry from Manchester, his determination to ‘battle the boffins’ saw him carry out a PhD also at Imperial College, as the only Black student in his cohort. After a short stint in finance, Richards took a research role at Imperial College and co-founded a spin-out company specialising in wireless air sensing technologies for real-time pollution monitoring. Dr Mark Richards is now a member of the Physics Teaching Staff at Imperial and heads the departmental outreach programme. He is an active member of the Imperial As One initiative which aims to address race equality issues across the university and is a passionate advocate for widening participation at higher-education institutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pyj42r5DRs

Stephon Alexander

Stephon Alexander is a professor of theoretical physics at Brown University in the USA, specialising in cosmology, string theory and quantum gravity. He previously did held postdoctoral research fellowships at Imperial College, London and the Stanford University Linear Accelerator Center, before gaining a faculty position at Penn State. He is currently president of the National Society of Black Physicists in America. A further interest includes the interplay between music, physics, maths and technology

The Jazz of Physics TEDxSanDiago

Chris Jackson

Professor Chris Jackson is a geophysicist currently at Imperial, with research focused in three main areas: the tectono-stratigraphic evolution of rift basins, salt tectonics, and using seismic data analysis to study deep-water sedimentology and stratigraphy He has recently been appointed Chair in Sustainable Geoscience at Manchester University, starting in February 2021. He is an excellent teacher and communicator, and in December 2020 presented one of the Royal Institution's Christmas Lectures looking at the Earth's inner workings

Meet Chris Jackson

It's not such a rocky road

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson was a physicist and mathematician who worked for NASA calculating trajectory analysis for their space program in the 1950's and 1960's. Her pioneering work enabled orbital flights to take place with confidence, and was made into a film 'Hidden Figures', which also featured fellow black scientists Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. She continued her work at NASA, and was involved with Project Apollo, the Space Shuttle and the Earth Resources Technology Satellite. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, age 97, and died on 24th February 2020.

Who was Katherine Johnson?

Hidden Figures trailer