Huh? Expert Claims Astrosphysics Is Systemically Racist

From images taken by NASA spacecrafts, this picture mosaic was created of six of the planets in our solar system and the Earth's moon. In the foreground is the Earth rising over the lunar surface with the sun flare at the edge of Earth. Venus is the first planet above the moon, and at the top left to right are the planets Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and Saturn. Photo credits are as follows: Earth - Apollo 17; Lunar Surface - Apollo 8; Sun - Apollo 12; Venus - Pioneer Venus; Jupiter - Voyager I; Mercury - Mariner 10; Saturn - Pioneer 11.

At a glance

  • A Colorado astrophysicist who says the field is paralyzed by “systemic racism and white supremacy” is speaking out about combating these issues in the classroom and beyond.
  • “As an astrophysicist, I’m a product of institutions that are steeped in systemic racism and white supremacy,” Natalie Gosnell, PhD, an assistant professor of physics at Colorado College, said in an interview published in the school’s newspaper this month.
  • Gosnell, who holds a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and is a recipient of the prestigious Cottrell Scholar Award, argued that “tenets of white supremacy” like “individualism and exceptionalism and perfectionism” shape everything from the direction of physics research to the language used by scientists.

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