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Wikipedia Dispatches: LGBT Physicists and Astronomers


A hypothetical illustration of Wikipedia in print as of January 2020. 2657 volumes, 14 stacks. The present depend as of this writing is 3278 volumes and 17 stacks (June 16, 2023). Credit score: Wikipedia consumer The_Anome


When searching for info on underrepresented folks in any area, it’s oftentimes tough to seek out folks. This is because of numerous elements; in lots of circumstances, marginalized folks might be reticent to debate the subject of id and private life outdoors of labor. It may be very helpful, and certainly important, to know of people that belong to underrepresented teams within the historical past of physics: for learning traits and understanding how a area works and the right way to make it extra engaging and a welcoming setting for everybody, for making connections with folks nonetheless alive, and for having function fashions. 

The Niels Bohr Library & Archives (NBLA) has been fairly energetic on Wikipedia, the world’s largest encyclopedia and the seventh most visited web site on the earth, these days – try our undertaking web page! Due primarily to the success and endeavors of our phenomenal former Wikipedian-in-Residence, Camryn Bell, our Wikipedia contributions have exploded within the final 12 months (try our different Wikipedia-related weblog articles to see extra of her work), and we just lately hosted an Edit-a-thon, led by our fantastic SPS Intern MJ Keller (weblog publish on this right here!). Persevering with this pattern, we at NBLA created the class pages LGBT physicists and LGBT astronomers, which didn’t beforehand exist on Wikipedia*.

We’d like your assist so as to add articles to those classes! We now have been including physicists and astronomers who self-identify in these classes:

LGBT physicists

LGBT astronomers

Please be a part of us on this effort! Enhancing Wikipedia is free and simple and it’s one thing everybody can do. You may even edit with out creating an account, although it may be enjoyable to take action (hyperlink to account creation web page). Should you need assistance modifying Wikipedia for the primary time, try the Wikipedia editor introduction web page, and you may ask us for assist by emailing [email protected]

Listed below are some primary directions for including classes to an article in Visible Editor mode:

  • Log in to Wikipedia (optionally available)
  • Discover article in query (ex. Sally Experience)
  • Hit “Edit” on the highest proper aspect of the article
  • Scroll all the best way to the underside to the Classes field
  • Click on on the Classes field
  • Sort within the class title (capitalization issues!) – LGBT physicists or LGBT astronomers
  • Hit Apply adjustments
  • Scroll to the highest and choose “Publish”


Listed below are a couple of folks I discovered about from Wikipedia on account of this initiative!

Omer Blaes. From Wikipedia: “His analysis focuses on theoretical astrophysics (X- and gamma-ray astronomy) and compact objects (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes). A lot of his work in astrophysics focuses on the physics of accretion on black holes. He has checked out magneto rotational instability (MRI) and MRI turbulence within the innermost components of accretion disks.” 

Picture caption: Portrait of Omer Blaes, courtesy


Nergis Mavalvala. From Wikipedia: “Mavalvala has labored on the event of unique quantum states of sunshine, and particularly the technology of sunshine in squeezed coherent states. By injecting such states into the kilometer-scale Michelson interferometer of the LIGO detectors, her group tremendously improved the sensitivity of the detector by lowering quantum noise; such squeezed states even have many different functions in experimental physics.” NBLA holds an oral historical past interview with Mavalvala; discover it right here.

Picture caption:  Astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala in an MIT lab, 2010. Credit score: Picture by Darren McCollester/for MacArthur Basis


Rebecca Oppenheimer. From Wikipedia: “She holds three patents, is the co-discoverer of the primary brown dwarf, Gliese 229B, and is energetic in analysis on exoplanets. She has led or co-led many novel instrumentation initiatives, together with the Lyot Venture, Venture 1640, the Gemini Planet Imager, Palomar Adaptive Optics, and the Palomar Superior Radial Velocity Instrument.”

Picture caption: Rebecca Oppenheimer, courtesy


Clyde Wahrhaftig. From Wikipedia: “Wahrhaftig was a devoted consumer of public transportation, partially motivated by his concern concerning the setting influence of fossil fuels. He eschewed cars and airplanes and routinely traveled by sea to his area work in Alaska. He continued to make use of horse-pack trains whereas working within the area for so long as the USGS permitted it. His help of public transportation additionally helped him fulfill his dedication to creating geology accessible to the general public by writing area guides that may very well be understood by laymen and didn’t require lengthy journeys by automotive to see the related websites. A few of his hottest area guides embody Streetcar to Subduction and Different Plate Tectonic Journeys by Public Transport in San Francisco, A Walker’s Information to the Geology of San Francisco, and The Hayward Fault in Hayward and Fremont, by way of BART.”

Picture caption: Clyde Wahrhaftig. Credit score: Scott Sine, NPS

* When creating these new class pages, we adopted Wikipedia’s tips on categorization. For extra info, see Wikipedia’s Class names web page and Categorization/sexuality web page:


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