As The National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) approaches our 50th anniversary, our mission of supporting and facilitating the success of black physicists at all levels and walks of life is more important than ever. We must celebrate each other’s achievements and stand united in our commitment to promote the success of our members in these challenging times.
NSBP is in a unique position to meet these goals thanks to the hard work, vision and leadership of our past leadership, most recently Dr. Renee Horton and Dr. Willie Rockward. I am happy to report that we have already met some modest goals, and, with the support and ideas of NSBP members, we hope to accomplish further concrete milestones during my tenure. While we have traditionally focused on our annual conference, we are currently expanding our activity to enable each other’s successes as scientists throughout the year. In this spirit, since March 2020, we have accomplished the following:
- NSBP has created a new 12-member Student Council that reflects our diversity as an organization. This serves to activate more student mentoring, participation and scientific activities among our student members. Please refer to our website for the Student Council statement of purpose, as well as member biographies and information about their activities.
- Since March we have expanded our budget to about four hundred thousand dollars from donations. We will use our resources to support both student and professional mentors in their academic and professional success. Please contact us with ideas on how to best utilize these resources.
- To share our passion for physics with the black community at large, NSBP and the Harlem Gallery of Science will launch a K-12 mentoring program by September to serve underserved middle and high school students in Harlem and the South Bronx. This is a pilot program that is intended to be expanded at the national level.
- In partnership with the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, we have initiated the NSBP-Innovate seminar series. This series highlights the research of mostly NSBP student and postdoc researchers to a general physics audience and provides a platform to elevate the opportunities for and profiles of members and the scientific activities of our organization.
- With a $100,000 gift from the Simons Foundation, through the Simons Observatory and the Center for Computational Astrophysics, we have launched the NSBP-Simons Scholars Program. As a result, 28 NSBP undergraduate and graduate students are participating in paid research internships as NSBP-Simons Fellows this summer.
- The Executive Board voted to endow a merit-based research award to recognize and support exemplary NSBP junior professionals in their research and mentoring. This award will be named after legendary NSBP luminaries in their respected sub-fields. For example, we will endow a Joseph Johnson Award for excellence in experimental physics.
Our near future goals will be to take new steps to engage in fundraising to build a substantial endowment so that NSBP has more capacity to develop programs and more funds to support the success of black physicists at all levels of their careers. I want to encourage members and stakeholders to bring their ideas to me and the Board as we continue to support each other’s successes in physics and contribute to the black community at large.
Dr. Stephon Alexander
President, National Society of Black Physicists