Informal Networks

Talk: No sexuality please, we're scientists

40/S2-C01 - Salle Curie (CERN)

40/S2-C01 - Salle Curie


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In this talk, given in connection with LGBTQ+STEM Day, Dr. T. Ben Britton will explore the challenges facing LGBTQ+ people in STEM, recent research on the experiences of LGBTQ+ people working in STEM, and initiatives to make science spaces more inclusive of LGBTQ+ people.

Free Admission, No Registration Necessary

About the Speaker: Dr. Britton is a materials scientist and engineer, based at Imperial College London, where he leads the Experimental Micromechanics Group. Dr. Britton is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Scientist, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining (IOM3), and a trustee of Pride in STEM. He is the 2014 winner of the IOM3 Silver Medal and the 2016 winner of the RAEng/Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year Award.

Abstract: It is tempting to suggest that science can be conducted in a social vacuum, disconnected from the reality of everyday society and the human actors who call themselves scientists. However, there is significant evidence [1] to suggest that enabling humans to be human enables them to think freely and supports the long-term prosperity of the scientific discourse. Enabling individuals to bring their whole selves to work promotes the ability for us to form diverse teams who can draw from a range of perspectives to provide robust decision making and find exciting new avenues of inquiry. In the diversity space, a significant amount of attention is placed upon understanding challenges in attracting and retaining women and girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). Many of these challenges are shared by LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, plus more) colleagues, people of different races, people with disabilities (both visible and invisible), and different social class. In this talk, we will explore the motivations and recent research around the issues of LGBTQ+ in STEM [2], as well as initiatives to queer up science spaces and science up queer spaces to promote and embrace a more accessible, equal, diverse and inclusive STEM culture.
In the lead up to this talk, if you want to find out why coming out in STEM matters, you can read
[1] S.E. Page “The difference: How the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools, and societies” (Princeton Univ. Press 2008)
[2] B. E. Hughes “Coming out in STEM: Factors affecting the retention of sexual minority STEM students” (Science Advances 2018)

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