Greetings from the New FinDiP Chair

Diversity in Physics, Finland (FinDiP) is the working group of the Finnish Physical Society.

David Weir

I’d like to thank Milica for her hard work over the past year. I’m honoured to have taken over as chair and I will try to continue her sterling work.

Never has the need for our organisation been greater. Although our name is now FinDiP, we were previously FinWiP, Finnish Women in Physics. Our work to improve the representation of women continues apace. One effect of the coronavirus situation has been that women have been posting less preprints and starting fewer research projects (paper): We must work together to find ways to stop these disparities becoming further entrenched.

Furthermore, we have recently seen the protests of Black Lives Matter spread across the US. This has sparked a broader debate about racism in public society, including here in Finland; for example, this 2018 report from the EU makes for sobering reading about the experiences of Black people in this country.

In turn, there have been discussions about racism in academia. Last week events such as #ShutDownSTEM sought to both show solidarity with the broader Black Lives Matter movement but also shine a light on the experiences of Black people in academia, including in physics. As an organisation committed to improving not only the diversity but also the wellbeing of all physicists in Finland, I think this gives something for us to reflect upon.

I would echo the words of Milica about our wish to act as a clearinghouse for information and resources about diversity and representation in physics departments across the country. Please get in touch with FinDiP if you have further information to share. In addition, I will be contacting each physics (and applied physics) department in the country to ask for details of their official wellbeing or diversity committees to add to our pages and improve our contact with these groups.

There’s a lot more to do, and I’m excited to be a part of FinDiP. I’m looking forward to working with everyone.