Challenges and Changes in Physics

Addressing the challenges that physics and physicists face, and working to push for change


Lecture 1: Dr Jess Wade (Mon 26 Oct 2020, 15:30 – 16:30)

In the first lecture of this new series from the Department of Physics, we will hear from Dr Jess Wade, a research fellow at Imperial College, London where she works on chiral organic light emitting diodes. She is an advocate for minority voices in science and has created hundreds of Wikipedia pages to amplify the achievements of women and people of colour in science.

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Lecture 2: Dr Clara Barker (Wed 11 Nov 2020, 15:30 – 16:30)

In the second lecture of this new series from the Department of Physics, we will hear from Dr Clara Barker [she/her], a thin-film material scientist who manages the Centre for Applied Superconductivity in the Materials Department at Oxford University. Clara is the Chair of the Oxford University LGBT+ advisory group and runs a youth group for LGBTI+ people, as well as giving many talks in schools and beyond in which she shares her story of being a trans scientist. In 2017 she won a Prime Minister's Points of Light Award for her outstanding volunteer work.

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Lecture 3: Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Mon 23 Nov 2020, 15:30 – 16:30)

In the third lecture of this new series from the Department of Physics, we will hear from Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell [she/her], an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who discovered the first pulsar while a graduate student at Cambridge. In 2018, Jocelyn was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. She gave all of the £2.3 million prize money to found a scholarship supporting female, minority and refugee students to become physics researchers.

More information and booking here:


Who we are and the experiences we go through shape the way we see the world around us. As physicists our experiences shape how we do our research and the problems we choose to tackle. It is important we have physicists with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds working on the answers to fundamental questions about the universe around us. Through this we will ensure we are tackling issues which go beyond one specific group of people or experiences and that we are ensuring an accurate view of the world around us. Without this we will not be able to achieve the ultimate goal of research in physics: understanding how the universe behaves.

The problem of a lack of diversity within the sciences and the scientific workforce is universal across the disciplines. In this lecture series we will be discussing some of the challenges we face in Physics to making our community more diverse, equal and inclusive.

The series

We will be hearing from speakers from a wide range of backgrounds about what they think some of the challenges are, the work they have done and are doing to make real changes and how we can all do our part to build a better physics community.

This is a open lecture series hosted by the Department of Physics where we welcome everyone to come and learn in a welcoming and inclusive environment. The speakers will present their research in physics to the Department during the talks, however you do not need a high level of physics understanding to attend.

Challenges and Changes in Physics is hosted by Dr Alex Ramadan.

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