Meet the organizers of #BlackInPhysics Week

#BlackInPhysics organizers.
Clockwise from top left: #BlackInPhysics Week organizers Jessica Esquivel, Charles D. Brown II, Cheyenne Polius, Vanessa Sanders, Xandria Quichocho, Ciara Sivels, Bryan Ramson, Eileen Gonzales, Ashley Walker, LaNell Williams, Jessica Tucker, and Marika Edwards. Credits: Photos courtesy of the organizers

Throughout the week of 25 October, Black physicists, their allies, and the general public are invited to participate in #BlackInPhysics Week, a social media–based event dedicated to celebrating Black physicists and their contributions to the scientific community and to revealing a more complete picture of what a physicist looks like. Programming includes professional panels, a job fair, and an open mic night. If you are interested in learning more and registering for the events, check out blackinphysics.org or @BlackInPhysics on Twitter.

The lead organizers of #BlackInPhysics Week are Charles D. Brown II, an atomic and condensed-matter physicist; Jessica Esquivel, a particle physicist; and Eileen Gonzales, an astronomer studying brown dwarfs and exoplanets. Co-organizers include Jessica Tucker, a quantum information scientist; LaNell Williams, a biophysicist; Vanessa Sanders, a radiochemist; Bryan Ramson, a particle physicist; Xandria Quichocho, a physics education researcher; Marika Edwards, an astrophysicist and engineer; Ashley Walker, an astrochemist; Cheyenne Polius, an astrophysicist; and Ciara Sivels, a nuclear engineer.

Brown, Esquivel, Gonzales, Quichocho, and Polius answered questions about #BlackInPhysics Week and described how physics became their passion.

Charles D. Brown II

Charles D. Brown II
Photo courtesy of Charles D. Brown II

Charles D. Brown II is a postdoctoral scholar and Ford fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a passionate science communicator and a champion for Black Americans in STEM. His research focuses on the effects of geometric frustration on the behavior of ultracold atoms trapped in an optical kagome lattice.

How did you get interested in physics?

My interest in science was initiated by my mother, an avid fan of science fiction and anything related to space and astronomy. Although she never was a scientist, she often spoke to me about science when I was a child and took me to a lot of science museums, which sparked a deep curiosity about how different aspects of the universe work. I enrolled in college as an engineering major but quickly realized that I was most deeply fascinated by my physics courses and by the engineering course content that described at a fundamental level why different physical systems behave the way they do.

Jessica Esquivel

Jessica Esquivel.
Photo courtesy of Jessica Esquivel

Jessica Esquivel is a postdoctoral researcher at Fermilab working on the Muon g–2 experiment. She is an AAAS If/Then Ambassador, a member of the Change-Now Collective, a science communicator, and a vocal advocate for increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM.

Esquivel was interviewed for Physics…


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