Physics Textbooks from 1960-2016: A History of Gender and Racial Bias

Timothy M. Lawlor, Timothy Niiler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


According to a report from the Statistical Research Center of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), 74% percent of BS physics degrees and 87% of PhD physics degrees were awarded to White recipients while Black recipients accounted for 3% and 2%, respectively. In 2016 only 2.5% of physics faculty members were African American. More striking, Palus reports that, "In the entire United States, of the thousands and thousands of college physics and astronomy faculty, only 75 are African American or Hispanic women."AIP also reported that in 2012 the percent of physics BS degrees completed by female students of any race was less than 18% and the percent of physics PhD degrees awarded to females was less than 20%. Between 2002 and 2014 the percent of women faculty in physics only rose from 10% to 16%. At the assistant professor level, this is 23%; however, at higher ranks the percent of associate and full professor was 18% and 10%, respectively, which may indicate barriers to promotion. These trends are too often reflected in widely used educational resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-323
Number of pages4
JournalPhysics Teacher
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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