The first professional American astronomer was Benjamin Banneker, a freed Black slave. Yet today, 50 years after the Civil Rights Act prohibited discriminatory hiring practices, professional astronomers in the US are 90% white and < 1% Black, compared to 65% and 12.7% of the US population, respectively. Prof. Johnson will discuss why astronomy has remained so racially homogenous for so long, explain why previous attempts to diversify have failed, and lay out a plan for rectifying this embarrassing feature of our scientific community. His short presentation will be followed by a discussion.
Coffee, light refreshments beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Professor Johnson received his Bachelors degree at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla and his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley. He was formerly a professor at the California Institute of Technology and a researcher with NASA's Exoplanet Science Research Institute.