Dismantle Racism in Science

Updated: Apr 17

Dr. EBONY OMOTOLA MCGEE

William Shockley Jr. of Stanford University was an American physicist who jointly won the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for his role in inventing the transistor. Modern computing and communications would have been unthinkable without Shockley’s work. But the Nobel laureate was also a proponent of eugenics and firmly committed to the racial inferiority of Black people. Shockley was not just a physicist who held racist views. He was part of a wider academic system that then, and now, perpetuates racial inequality. The persistence of this biased ecosystem means that dismantling it will require unrelenting tenacity by all of academia. William Shockley Jr. of Stanford University was an American physicist who jointly won the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for his role in inventing the transistor. Modern computing and communications would have been unthinkable without Shockley’s work. But the Nobel laureate was also a proponent of eugenics and firmly committed to the racial inferiority of Black people. Shockley was not just a physicist who held racist views. He was part of a wider academic system that then, and now, perpetuates racial inequality. The persistence of this biased ecosystem means that dismantling it will require unrelenting tenacity by all of academia.


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