Being able to conduct research is among the greatest priviliges we have in an open-minded society. Research has always required open access to information and facts, and has created wealth and freedom for many in the world. As researchers in turn, we have to obligation to look at the facts and promote the freedom of speech that allows us all to distinguish good from bad.

Racism cannot be tolerated, but remains too widely spread. Our own physics community is no exception. In support of the case, I want to share the following webpages: Why Are There So Few Black Physicists and African American Women in Physics.

Often, being in academia means being free, being curious, searching for deeper truth. That's the exciting part. But sometimes, academia is also brutal. We apply for positions, jobs, third-party funding, we write papers and try to get them published in the best journals, we try to solve complicated scientific problems ... and often enough we don't get the response we were hoping for. This can be even tougher if you're part of a system that you feel does not, cannot, or will not represent yourself that well. I know how much my own research has profited from my enthusiasm and passion for physics, and I want to share my experience with all of my colleagues.

I advocate for talking about the problems that arise too often in our field, to raise awareness and pave the way for changes in the future. Maybe even more importantly, I want to ensure nobody feels alone or left out. Two topics have recently attracted my particular attention:

  • Women in physics: In the US and Germany, only 16% of faculty in physics is female Nature Reviews Physics 1, 298 (2019). That's way too little.

  • Mental health: Almost 5% of the global population suffers from depression, and academics are at even higher risk: Nature 557, 160 (2018). Together, we can help.