A Scientist’s Cause

Nature names UNH's Elena Long one of 10 people who mattered in 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016
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UNH's Elena Long
Elena Long Courtesy photo

Elena Long is well known at UNH for her efforts to make a difference.

Now, many more people across the globe know about her: Long is featured in “Nature’s 10: Ten people who mattered this year” from Nature magazine.

Long, who is a postdoctoral research associate in UNH’s physics department, was selected for her work raising awareness about the difficulties and discrimination faced by physicists who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or from other sexual or gender minorities.

Nature is hailing Long as a “diversity trailblazer.”

Author Elizabeth Gibney writes about Long’s work as “one of the architects of a first-of-its-kind survey run by the American Physical Society (APS), charting the experiences of physicists who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or from another sexual or gender minority (LGBT).”

Long, who was also recently awarded the 2016 Jefferson Science Associates Postdoctoral Research Prize, served on the APS ad hoc committee on LGBT Issues, which released the survey's report in March on the climate for LGBT physicists and provided recommendations for how a national professional organization could be more inclusive.

“This is the first rigorous study of its kind to specifically look at LGBT issues and demographics within the field of physics,” Long explained prior to the survey report’s release.

The report was the culmination of more than five years of effort that began when she founded the organization lgbt+physicists. The committee found that one-third of LGBT physicists had considered leaving their field, that many experience and observe harassment and discrimination or face uneven protection and supportive policies within their institutions and that those with multiple marginalized identities face greater obstacles in their careers as physicists.

Read more about Long and her work in the Nature article.