Department of Applied Physics Diversity Team
Physics should offer equal opportunities to everyone, be a welcoming environment and a place for individuals to thrive. At present we recognize the need for a change in our current working culture that has to start in our community.
We envision a future where everybody feels at ease, exercises their research in an environment free of harassment and enjoys being a part of our community.
We embrace a mutual culture of respect and professionalism among our Department’s community.
Following a climate survey on equality in the summer of 2019, the Physics Department has held a series of community events discussing our current diversity and equality situation and future efforts. As a result of these events, the PHYS Diversity Team was brought to life in May 2020, backed by our Departmental leadership.
We are a team of 11 people representing all layers of the Physics Department with two representatives/group- students and researchers, staff and faculty. We operate under a shared leadership model and our efforts are guided by tools offered by the APS IDEA network (see below). We hold regular meetings where we discuss our learnings, plan new actions, challenge our views and exchange ideas.
Our vision is to help the Department produce a strategic but realistic, long term (10-20 years) plan to thrive for a culture change. We work closely with our departmental leadership and HR to make this vision a reality.
Lise Meitner (Physicist, 1878 - 1968)
The life must not be easy if it is only rich in contents
What We Want to Do
In addition to our regular discussions, we plan concrete actions at the Department. We have an annual budget available to support these actions.
- education and making diversity issues visible- our members also represent the Department in various committees where we raise awareness to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) issues. This website is one such example, but we also distribute information by email and via our info screens in campus buildings
- we aim for an official EDI statement and strategic plan at our Department and at the University in conjunction with the leadership
- actively promoting shared leadership in other University committees and lobbying on behalf of EDI efforts at Aalto
- we aim to host local events such as themed breakfasts and lunches, communal get-togethers for students and newcomers, and physical presence throughout our buildings
- we have installed an online anonymous drop box- this tool can be used to send us anonymous feedback, comments, concerns but also praise about the Department’s and our work. See information below.
- raising awareness: we have hosted a screening of the documentary PICTURE A SCIENTIST for all Aalto members in December 2020. Viewers were invited to express their impressions of this movie in an anonymous online discussion forum. We have collected this feedback and passed it on to the School and Aalto leadership
- better representation of diversity in art in our buildings: our plan is to install a new set of artworks better representing our community in our building galleries- the plan is to have this new artwork in addition to the existing one
- we aim to collect data on diversity at our Department
- We support research groups together with HR to develop group charters where they can set rules for good practices and norms
- we aim for social media presence in the future to highlight our cause
- we aim for a more diverse set of speakers at our departmental seminars
- we serve as contact points for diversity issues at PHYS- please contact any of our members if you would like to get in touch
Anonymous drop box has been activated: see the info below with link to leave comments anonymously (also with non-anonymous option). Only visible for Aalto members (make sure you are logged in with your profile).
To celebrate the International Women's Day of 2023, we are organizing a social breakfast event with guest speaker Azra Tayebi. See the event announcement for more details.
To mark Women's Day in 2022 we interviewed our female physics professors. The interviews can be found here: https://www.aalto.fi/en/news/meet-our-female-phys-professors.
Some earlier highlights
- We wrote a Letter to Aalto leadership to raise EDI (equality, diversity and inclusivity) issues for example in hiring practices. A few of our members were met by the provost for subsequent discussions on the topic.
- In January 2021, to enhance the visibility of women in physics and to provide online teaching material, two of our female students made four exercise problem videos using the Aalto Studios' lightboard system. Thanks to SCI Diversity and Inclusivity Fund for funding the pilot project!
- We hosted a screening of the documentary PICTURE A SCIENTIST for all Aalto members in December 2020. Viewers were invited to express their impressions of this movie in an anonymous online discussion forum. We collected this feedback and passed it on to the School and Aalto leadership.
Find Out More About Us!
Article highlighting the accomplishments of the women from the Physics Department
A new study published and highlighted by APS dispels myth about men outperforming women in physics
The APS Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (APS-IDEA) is a new initiative with a mission of empowering and supporting physics departments, laboratories, and other organizations to identify and enact strategies for improving equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). It will do so by establishing a community of transformation.
PICTURE A SCIENTIST is an award-winning documentary highlighting systemic bias and discrimination in science
FinDiP (Diversity in Physics Finland) is an active working group of the Finnish Physical Society active in promoting EDI efforts at Finnish physics institutions
Documentary film addressing systemic bias available for free watching to all Aalto members.
Discussing diversity and inclusiveness in our community
Color of Science
The Code of Conduct is one way of putting our values and way of working - the foundation of our community culture - into practice.
Twelve Principles Trainees, PIs, Departments, and Faculties Can Use to Reduce Bias and Discrimination in STEM
Practical tips for fostering diversity and inclusion.