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Black People in Astronomy: Why so few? 9:45 AM; 9:30 AM coffee and light refreshments

Friday, December 5, 2014
12:00 AM
411 West Hall

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. Professor 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.

John Johnson, Harvard University