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Stanford to host national gathering of black physics students

STANFORD -- The Physics Department at Stanford University will host the sixth annual National Conference of Black Physics Students, Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 13-15.

The conference is an important part of the attempt to attract more black physics students nationwide into the academic and professional "pipelines," according to Prof. Clayton Bates, the conference chair.

More than 100 physics majors at the undergraduate level from around the nation are expected to attend, many of them from Eastern and Midwestern schools. They will exchange ideas, share experiences and discuss common goals.

"Black Student Today, Black Scientist Tomorrow," will include workshops on physics issues and tours of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, and laboratories in the departments of Physics and Applied Physics.

Tours of other Bay Area research laboratories, including those at Hewlett-Packard, Varian, NASA Ames, Lockheed and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, also will be offered.

The national conference was first held in 1987 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The organizers were a group of black physics graduate students at MIT and Harvard who were concerned about the small number of black students in the field.

Their goals were to develop a network within the black physics community, make black students (particularly undergraduates) aware of academic and professional opportunities, and bring important issues and developments in the field to the attention of those students.

Over the years, conference attendance has grown from 34 to 68 to well over 100 each year.

The Stanford conference will feature the participation of Stanford scholars including President Donald Kennedy, Dean of Humanities and Sciences Ewart Thomas and many faculty members from physics and related departments. Professionals from the Xerox Corp., Lockheed Missiles and Space Company Inc., General Electric and Hughes Aircraft also will take part, Bates said.

The keynote address at the conference's Friday night banquet will be given by Prof. Jim Gates, chairman of the Physics Department at Howard University. Prof. Mary James of Reed College is a featured speaker on Thursday, and Howard Adams, executive director of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, will talk on Saturday.

Among the many Stanford physicists scheduled to take part are Nobel Laureate Burton Richter; director of SLAC, Prof. Steve Chu, chairman of the Physics Department at Stanford; Prof. Bates; Prof. Walter Meyerhoff; and Prof. A.B.C. Walker Jr. A number of Stanford graduate students also will be on panels.

For more information on the conference, contact Bates at (415) 723-4252.



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