Physics and Astronomy


The Value of Diversity in Science

Professor Philip Harris

Professor Philip Harris, Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) at the University of Sussex, said:

“It’s been an important week for those of us who are passionate about the crucial role of women in physics. On Tuesday, we celebrated the truly outstanding achievements of Donna Strickland who, along with Arthur Ashkin and Gérard Mourou, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for her work in creating groundbreaking tools from beams of light.  And while I hope that such a long gap doesn’t pass between women winning the prize in future, it was certainly a welcome moment for all of us in the world of physics.

“Sadly, the week was also marred by ignorant and offensive comments about female physicists during a workshop presentation at CERN on gender issues in physics. As is clear to all of us in MPS, the views presented there had no scientific merit or substance, and I was very pleased to see CERN take decisive action in response.

“I feel both proud and privileged to lead this School, which is a place of tolerance, collegiality and mutual respect. Among MPS faculty we have 14 female scientists, including five professors, who are all leading lights in their areas of expertise and who show all our students that what matters in science is not your gender or your background but your ability, passion and dedication to the subject.  Our School is absolutely committed to the University of Sussex’s equality objectives, and we are always keen to showcase the diversity of talent that we have here.  I passionately believe that we become stronger by being more inclusive, and my door is always open for anyone to discuss these matters further with me."

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By: Justine Charles
Last updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2018