Physicists have always relied on models to better understand reality. From Newton’s theory of gravity and Maxwell’s equations to Einstein’s relativity, models provide a descriptions of certain phenomena. Without models, there would not be any physics. What we often forget is that physicists themselves are models for younger generations. We learn about their stories, empathize with what they have lived through, and are inspired by their works and their teachings. We know that models have to reflect and describe as much as possible reality. However, the models of physicists, and scientists in general, that we learn at school only reflect a part of reality, due to the phenomenon of epistemicide. This consists in canceling from history all contributions of minority and underrepresented groups, such as women or non-Western researchers. The Matilda effect, for example, coined by historian Margaret Rossiter, describes how women’s contributions to science have been wrongly attributed to men.
The lack of representation of women scientists in science classes is one of the factors keeping girls away from scientific degrees. It is, of course, not the only one and more measures are needed to address the issue. The publication of this calendar featuring women in physics by the European Physical Society is a significant step in the direction of equality and diversity.
Developing reliable models can be time-consuming, as evidenced by the ongoing quest for a unifying model that merges quantum physics and general relativity. By providing materials that can be used in classrooms, EPS is offering valuable inspiration to women and girls seeking to pursue careers in physics. It is crucial to have a diverse range of models available, from oil viscosity to the expansion of the universe. This extends to the need for a diverse representation of women models in physics. We need to showcase the contributions of women in physics, regardless of their cultural background, from Nobel Prize winners to early career researchers, who, despite the prejudices of society, keep pushing the limits to achieve their dreams.
langue originaleAnglais
TypeEuropean Physical Society's 2024 Calendar - Editorial
EditeurEuropean Physical Society
Nombre de pages1
VolumeEPS Calendar
Etat de la publicationPublié - 1 janv. 2024

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