We are a grassroots group of early career astronomers and physicsts in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (A & A) and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago. We were originally founded in November, 2017.
Diversity and inclusion are integral to STEM fields. Supporting the ideas of equity in the workplace requires the dismantling of structural barriers that prevent marginalized communities from participating in science. IDEA was created with these fundamental principles in mind.Our Objectives
For more information on how we started, view our 2018 SACNAS poster.
Author's Note (written June 8, 2020):
Current events have reiterated the well-known fact that academia as an instution is systemically racist. It is our obligation to do better for our current and future Black colleagues.
Our department is no exception. The Black members of our community do not feel safe in the department. This is unacceptable and these issues must be confronted starting now. The objective should be to create an antiracist community at UChicago, where Black Astronomers and Physicists feel welcome.
Members of the A & A and KICP community have written a petition which contains concrete recommendations for our departments to commit to creating a safer and more welcoming community for our Black colleagues.
These demands were created after learning from and listening to Black activists in the Astronomy community, and represent a minimum proposal of changes which must be implemented in the department. Our hope is to accomplish these goals together as a collective department: undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists, staff, and faculty together.
The petition is recommending that the department develop a concrete strategic plan for completing these demands to be shared with the broader community by the start of the Fall 2020 quarter. The plan would be completed in collaboration with voluntary leadership from Black astronomers in the community, as well as the Equity & Inclusion Council in Astronomy & Astrophysics who should meet weekly to ensure consistent progress.