Jess Wade on Chiral Materials, Open Knowledge, and Representation in STEM | Conversations with Tyler
Jessica Wade, a physicist at Imperial College London, delves into her work on chiral materials and their potential applications in semiconductors and quantum technology.
She also discusses her efforts to correct gender and racial biases in STEM through her Wikipedia contributions and public engagement activities.
AI and Gender Participation Gaps
While AI could potentially exacerbate biases if not properly managed, Wade suggests that it could be used effectively in allocating scientific funding in a less biased manner, provided the data used is unbiased.
The Role of Wikipedia in Sharing Knowledge
Wade views Wikipedia as a democratized platform for sharing information and knowledge.
However, she acknowledges that it has gaps in content due to the demographics of its contributors, who are predominantly male.
Increasing the diversity of Wikipedia contributors could help address these gaps.
Impact of Commercial Book Market on Women in Science
The commercial book market has played a significant role in advancing women in science, according to Wade.
However, she questions whether the achievements of women scientists are taken as seriously as those of men in today’s market.
Success of Women in Astronomy and Crystallography
The historical success of women in astronomy and crystallography can be attributed to the fact that women who were allowed to be scientists were often wealthy and had a husband or father who was a scientist.
This allowed them to interact with science at home, which facilitated their research.
Stereotypes in Science
Stereotypes suggesting that women are naturally better at certain scientific fields due to biological reasons are not useful.
Any perceived gender differences in scientific abilities are societal, not biological.
Discrimination Across Sectors
Discrimination against women is prevalent across all sectors, including education, academia, financial sectors, and government.
While the private sector has made some progress in providing flexible work opportunities, there is still a long way to go in addressing sexism and racism.
The Role of AI in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
AI could be used in writing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) statements for scientific funding proposals.
However, there is a concern that AI could be used to generate these statements without genuine commitment to EDI.
I don’t want people to be stereotyped by their gender or their ethnicity or their physical ability. I want everyone to have the same opportunity and then to just be able to work out exactly what it is that they love and how they’re going to make the world better. – Jessica Wade
The Story of Gladys West
The story of Gladys West, a mathematician who did the calculations that enabled GPS, is a testament to the importance of recognizing underrepresented figures in science.
Since Wade wrote about West on Wikipedia in 2018, West has been recognized in various lists of top women in the world and has received numerous accolades.
The Future of Wikipedia
The Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that facilitates Wikipedia, is forward-thinking and always pushing boundaries to improve the user and editor experience.
To prevent Wikipedia from becoming stagnant, it is important for the editorship to represent the global community who read Wikipedia.