Elevating the Representation of African Americans in the Physical Sciences


To elevate the representation of African Americans in the physical sciences.


Funded and published a major study on underrepresentation of Blacks in physics and astronomy. Released a public statement on racism and protests; Established AIP’s 2020-21 Diversity Action Fund to support Member Society projects and recognize Black leaders in the physical sciences.


Enabled the extended AIP and physical sciences community to pursue actions and initiatives.

The AIP Board of Directors commissioned the AIP National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy (TEAM-UP) in 2018-2019 to investigate the persistent underrepresentation of African Americans in physics and astronomy and produce a report with its findings. In this groundbreaking report released in January 2020, TEAM-UP uncovered long-standing systemic issues within the physics and astronomy communities that contribute to the underrepresentation. The report makes actionable recommendations for community-wide efforts to reverse this trend. In 2020, AIP dedicated full-time staff to promote, educate, catalyze, convene, and collaborate, with the goal of advancing the TEAM-UP report recommendations. With support from the Heising-Simons Foundation, two TEAM-UP implementation workshops in 2021 are facilitating the sharing of learnings from the TEAM-UP report, developing strategic plans for implementing the recommendations, and establishing a set of best practices and guidance for departments as they pursue the goal of doubling the number of African American students earning bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy by 2030. Growing the number of Black scientists will not only allow us to solve complex problems with the best talent, but also comports with AIP’s goals of increasing access and opportunity for all minoritized groups. Additionally, in direct response to one recommendation of the TEAM-UP report to raise a $50M endowment to support students’ education, AIP is facilitating a federation-wide taskforce to assess the feasibility of achieving this ambitious goal with support from the philanthropic and donor community. A persistent barrier for African Americans is the lack of access to intergenerational wealth. Raising these funds will help mitigate the persistent overrepresentation of African Americans and students of color in poverty and their underrepresentation in the physical sciences.


Michael H. Moloney, Ph.D., CEO


The work toward achieving racial equity in the physical sciences is something we will enthusiastically continue at AIP. Our groundbreaking TEAM-UP Report outlines specific recommendations our academy community can implement to bridge the systemic racial exclusion that has contributed to the underrepresentation of African Americans in physics and astronomy. In addition to our TEAM-UP Report, AIP will continue to support our Member Societies’ actions on projects that recognize and elevate Black voices from our fields.

Michael H. Moloney, Ph.D.
CEO, American Institute of Physics
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