Black History Month 24 Hero
Celebrating Black History
Throughout February, AIP is highlighting resources and materials that celebrate the rich history of Black scientists.
Black History Month Spotlights Achievements and Challenges in the Physical Sciences Community

February is a time to reflect on and honor the profound legacy of Black leaders who have shaped our world. It’s also a time to refocus efforts on creating a brighter and inclusive future brimming with opportunities.

Research shows that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to the success of the physical sciences. Black scientists are valued contributors to that success. AIP has an archive of materials that highlight their inspiring stories from the past, aligning with our future-focused mission to advance the physical sciences with a unifying voice of strength from diversity.

No two scientists are alike — learn about a Black medical physicist’s journey in the video below.

The Element of Chance

Julianne Pollard-Larkin, Ph.D.
Physics Section Chief, Thoracic Service
MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • Black history is a rich narrative of resilience, strength, innovation, and triumph. As a proud Black female leader at AIP, it fills my spirit with joy to lead meaningful initiatives that both honor my ancestors and help pave the way for future physical scientists. As we turn the pages of history, I’m excited to continue championing inclusivity, respect, and shared brilliance to make way for the next generation of Black excellence.
    Jovonni Spinner headshot
    Diversity, Equity and Belonging Officer American Institute of Physics
  • As we celebrate and honor inspiring and impactful achievements of Black scientists this month, it’s important we continue to forge a path to future successes. The physical sciences thrive when cultivating diverse perspectives and empowering inclusive participation are a priority. AIP and its Member Societies have a shared commitment to creating a culture of inclusion and belonging in the physical sciences, thereby advancing our science and our community’s success.
    Michael Moloney headshot
    Chief Executive Officer American Institute of Physics
Inspiring Backstories: Curated Physics Resources and News for Black History Month

Finding the right mentors and support systems is an integral contributor to Black students’ degree attainment and overall success and persistence in the physical sciences (TEAM-UP Report). Societies like the National Society of Black Physicists promote the professional well-being of African American physicists and physics students, while grassroots organizations like Black in Physics , Black in Astro , and Black in Biophysics offer systems of support, guidance, and networking for Black scientists within their specialized fields.

We’ve collected our archival images, statistical data, teaching resources and news and analysis to inform and inspire you during Black History Month and beyond. As you do, be sure to follow our channels and join in on the conversation.

Ronald McNair playing saxophone
Ronald E. Mickens Collection
Explore archival photographs and portraits of notable Black physicists.
Anthony Johnson working in a ultrafast laser lab
Teaching Guides featuring Black Scientists
Celebrate Black History Month with your students using these free science history teaching guides.
Stories from Black Physicists in Our Collections
Listen to the experiences of Black scientists in their own words.
Portrait of Lawson in the lab
Initial Conditions Episode 7: The African American Presence in Physics
Learn the history of the community of Black physicists in the United States.
Black History Month Book Recommendations
Black History Month Book Recommendations
Delve into a curated collection of books celebrating Black scientists and science fiction protagonists.
In the Scientific Community, Black History Month is Also a Call to Action

We’re sparking a revolution in the community through the TEAM-UP Together collective action initiative with a goal to double the number of African Americans earning bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy by 2030. 

Based on the findings and recommendations in the groundbreaking report, “The Time is Now: Systemic Changes to Increase African Americans with Bachelor’s Degrees in Physics and Astronomy,” we are empowering stakeholders across the scientific ecosystem to catalyze systemic change and enhance the lived experiences of Black undergraduates in physics and astronomy.

TEAM-UP Together is championed by five organizations: AIP, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), American Astronomical Society (AAS), American Physical Society (APS), and the Society of Physics Students (SPS).

Physics remains one of the least diverse fields in science. Here’s how individuals at all career stages can contribute to fostering an inclusive environment for everyone.

It’s not enough to try to be nonracist. The physics community needs to act. It can start by hiring, including, and listening to Black scientists.

An NSBP Student Council Representative shares how her path in physics was shaped by conferences, community, and mentoring.

Learn about the life and work of theoretical physicist and National Medal of Science recipient Sylvester James “Jim” Gates.

Essayists describe the paths through which they find joy and discuss the challenges that exist in the physics community to attain it.