As pointed out by the 2016 Portfolio Review Committee report Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 20251 (hereafter, “ICCGS”), there are few data available on diversity that is specific to solar and space physics. However, data are available for physics and astronomy, fields that overlap with solar and space physics.
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program in Solar and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, which the ICCGS report cites, shows that 4 percent of the participants from 2007-2015 were Latino/as and 5 percent were African Americans (ICCGS Table 4.7). Although there are little data specific to solar and space physics, these REU data meet or exceed the representative percentages of Latino/a and African American groups graduating with a bachelor degree in physics2 and astronomy.3 However, as shown in Table C.1, the total number of Latino/as achieving bachelor’s degrees in these fields has been significantly increasing, a growth that is not reflected in the diversity of REU participants from 2007-2015 (Table C.1). The number of Latino/a physics Ph.D.’s has increased nearly 300 percent over the last decade, with 8-12 awarded each year from 1997-2004 to an average of 32 awarded in both 2011 and 2012. The data for African American physics Ph.D.’s are not so positive. The number has stayed relatively constant with an average of 10-20 earned each year from 1997 to 2012.4
For women, the data on SHINE workshop students supported by the National Science Foundation from 2006-2009 show that only 31 percent were women, and that the absolute number per year has essentially stayed the same since 2007 (ICCGS Table 4.9), suggesting that progress toward equal representation has stalled.
1 National Science Foundation, 2016, Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025, Geospace Section of the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Science, February 5, https://www.nsf.gov/geo/adgeo/geospace-review/geospace-portfolio-reviewfinal-rpt-2016.pdf.
2 American Institute of Physics (AIP), 2015, African American Participation among Bachelor’s in Physical Sciences and Engineering, College Park, Md., https://www.aip.org/sites/default/files/statistics/minorities/africanamer-pse-13.1.pdf.
4 AIP, 2014, Trends in Physics PhDs, College Park, Md., https://www.aip.org/sites/default/files/statistics/graduate/trendsphds-p-12.2.pdf.
TABLE C.1 Numbers of Bachelor’s Degree Recipients for Latinos(as) and African Americans in Physics and Astronomy
|2002a||2012a||Δ 2002 to 2012a|
|Total Bachelor’s Degree Recipients||Latino/a||95,492||7.3||176,699||9.8||81,207||85.0|
|2003b||2013b||Δ 2003 to 2013b|
|Total Bachelor’s Degree Recipients||Af. Am.||120,175||8.4||168,981||9.1||48,806||40.6|
|Physical Sciences||Af. Am.||982||5.3||1,365||4.8||383||39.0|
NOTE: Af. Am., African American.
b American Institute of Physics, 2015, African American Participation among Bachelor’s in Physical Sciences and Engineering, College Park, Md., https://www.aip.org/sites/default/files/statistics/minorities/africanamer-pse-13.1.pdf.