Support the Asian+ Community in Physics and Astronomy

An open letter to our physics and astronomy colleagues

Dear colleagues,

In light of the horrific acts in the Asian+ community in Atlanta, San Francisco, and New York City in recent times [1], we in the physics community would like to express our strongest support for the Asian+ community during this difficult time. Between March 2020 and February 2021, nearly 3800 racially motivated incidents against Asians have been reported in the US, with about 70% of the incidents against women [2].

These incidents of hate and discrimination toward people of Asian descent reflect an acceleration of disturbing patterns that have been visible for some time. Many of our Asian colleagues have experienced discrimination and even violence in their daily or academic lives even prior to the pandemic.

One can have discussions of the context and backgrounds of these events, and every case is different. Yet, one thing is clear: the Asian+ community is particularly vulnerable to these acts of violence in our society [3].

We would also like to bring light to the story of Angelo Quinto, a Filipino Navy veteran, who suffered a death similar to that of the other police-involved events [4], yet his story is rarely reported properly, particularly the fact that he was a member of the Asian community.

Beyond violence and physical/verbal aggravation, members of the Asian+ community are routinely subject to discrimination. These range from subtle to severe, and routinely include mocking of accents, as well as the dismissal of their opinions and voices in professional settings based on their background. It has also been documented that Asian people using their traditional names on job applications are less likely to receive job interviews than those using common western names [5].

We would like to encourage everyone to contribute in their own unique way. A few suggestions for ways in which the physics community can help support its Asian+ members include:

  • listening to the struggles of the Asian members of our community, especially the junior members, and expressing support for them in true demonstrations of solidarity;

  • taking steps to actively protect them from experiencing discrimination and hate;

  • creating platforms for them to speak and share their experiences in a non-judgmental space.

In addition, we want to provide resources for the readers of this statement [resources] (you can also find statements against sexism and in support of Black lives written by physicists there). Please encourage people to utilize these resources as appropriate. Our hope is that this letter can act as an inspiration for those who are struggling, and those who wish to provide their support.

We want all the Asian+ people in physics to know that our field values you, cares about you, and will listen to you. We are here to help amplify your voice.

Finally, we are fully aware that this letter does not reflect everyone's opinion and is limited. We strongly ENCOURAGE YOU to make your own statements, or provide other support. We believe collectively we will be able to provide tremendous help to the situation. If you wish to support our statement, please consider cosigning this letter by filling out your information here [cosign form].


The authors would like to emphasize ways in which overlapping aspects of our identities can enhance and amplify the effects of discrimination and violence against Asians. Most prominent among these is gender, which has been brought to focus because of the tragic targeting of Asian women in the recent incidents we mentioned, and is worth our special attention and extended discussions.

Other aspects of identity are also important including age, ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, class, ability or disability, and sexual orientation among many others, and shape how violence is inflicted in members of the Asian+ community. We affirm the importance of standing in solidarity with all who face discrimination, marginalization, and violence, while bringing attention to the particular impact of hate crimes targeting Asians. Because many physicists have already cosigned the original statement, this clarification is made by the authors alone, although it has been made in discussion with many of our colleagues and cosigners.


*Note that the authors/editors/co-signers do not blanketly agree with all the discussions in these references. We simply believe some of the contents may be informative for the readers.


[2]; (We noticed that this document does not include the discussion of incidents reported for discrimination against South Asians and West Asians. We plan to contact the authors and the AAPI reporting center regarding this concerning issue of the report.)

[3] In the early versions of this letter, we mentioned the situation of Yingying Zhang, a visiting Chinese student murdered by a former Physics Ph.D. student. We received many comments regarding the discussion, so we want to emphasize our position here: there could be complicated motivations for this incident, yet one thing is clear: severe violence towards Asian people has occurred and was done by a member of our Physics community before the pandemic. This incident deserves our attention and we need to work hard in preventing such incidents from happening, regardless of the motivations and other complications. See a feature-length documentary about this incident.




Yu-Dai Tsai (Fermilab / U Chicago, USA)

Andrea Welsh (University of Pittsburgh, USA)

Tim M.P. Tait (University of California, Irvine, USA)

Ayngaran Thavanesan (University of Cambridge, UK)
Xuan Chen (The University of Illinois at Chicago, USA)

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (University of New Hampshire)
Sabrina B
erger (McGill University)

P. Q. Hung (University of Virginia)

Tracy Slatyer (MIT)

Sarah Eno (U. Maryland)

Suvrat Raju (International Centre for Theoretical Sciences)
Meenakshi Narain (Brown University)
Cenke Xu (UCSB)
Yuxuan Wang (University of Florida)

Xiaoliang Qi (Stanford University)

Glennys Farrar (New York University)

Tao Han (University of Pittsburgh)
André de Gouvêa (Northwestern University)

Adrian Liu (McGill University)
Tim Cohen (University of Oregon)

Cathie Clarke (University of Cambridge)

Peter Adshead (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Daniel Baumann (University of Amsterdam)

Anne-Christine Davis (University of Cambridge)
Christopher Reynolds (University of Cambridge)
Jan Pieter van der Schaar
(University of Amsterdam)

Maxim Perelstein (Cornell University)

Above are the cosigns we received before making the letter public.
The editors will update the cosign list weekly.

Brian Shuve (Harvey Mudd College)

Bilyana Tomova (University of Cambridge)

Cora Uhlemann (Newcastle University)

Benjamin K Tippett (College of the Rockies)

Jessie Shelton (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Shane Coleman (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Charles Gammie (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Cora Dvorkin (Harvard)

Neal Weiner (New York University)

Natasha Sachdeva (Northwestern University)

Jacquelyn Noronha-Hostler (University of Illinois Urbana Champaign)

Michael W. Busch (SETI Institute)

Paul M. Ricker (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Sam McDermott (Fermilab)

Florian Herren (Fermilab)
ei Huang (University of California, Irvine)

Manoj Kaplinghat (University of California, Irvine)

Kevin Andrade (University of California, Irvine)

Jessica N. Howard (University of California, Irvine)

Anne-Katherine Burns (University of California, Irvine)

Jason Baretz (University of California Irvine)

Jason Arakawa (University of California, Irvine)

Dennis Silverman (University of California, Irvine)

Jesse Thaler (MIT)

Charalampos Markakis (University of Illinois / Queen Mary University of London)

Ryan Plestid (UKY)

Brian Batell (University of Pittsburgh)

Max Fieg (University of California, Irvine)

Sean Johnson (University of Michigan)

Francesca Vidotto (Western University)
Elina Fuchs (Fermilab)

Ré Mansbach (Concordia University)
Huanqing Chen
(University of Chicago)
Seyda Ipek
(University of California, Irvine)

Yuhan Liu (University of Chicago)
Qinrui Liu
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Mingjiamei Zhang
(University of Chicago)
Zhuoni Qian
(DESY/Shandong University)
Mateus F. Carneiro
(Brookhaven National Laboratory)

Ameen Ismail (Cornell University)

Jeremy Wolcott (Tufts University)

Yixiao Zhou (Aarhus University)

Dana (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

R. Sekhar Chivukula (UC San Diego)
Sophia Gad-Nasr (University of California, Irvine)

Lucien Mulberg (University of Oxford)
Robert McGehee
(University of Michigan)

Jorge Torres (Ohio State University)
Hyun Lim
(Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Benjamin Lehmann (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Roseanne M Cheng (Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Thomas Gessey-Jones (University of Cambridge)

Nick Cooper (Queen Mary University of London)

Grant David Meadors (Los Alamos National Laboratory)

James Matthews (University of Cambridge)

Matthew Nixon (University of Cambridge)

Rosie Talbot (University of Cambridge)
Neil Shah
(Tufts University)

Ian Shoemaker (Virginia Tech)
Denis Werth
(Sorbonne University)

Francesca Chadha-Day (Durham University)

Amelia Drew (University of Cambridge)

Garvita Agarwal (SUNY - University at Buffalo)

Erica Smith (Indiana University)

Chelsea Bartram (University of Washington)

Zhengkang Zhang (Caltech)

Zihui Wang (NYU)

Biprateep Dey (University of Pittsburgh)
Scott Kravitz

Micah Buuck (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

Cara Giovanetti (NYU)
Yi-Hsuan "Cindy" Lin

Kate Storey-Fisher (NYU)
Shawn Westerdale
(INFN Cagliari)

Marco Muzio (New York University)
Kelli Rubrecht

Michael Kirby (Fermilab)

Nick Gnedin (Fermilab)

Sara Simon (FNAL)

Yi Xie (Fermilab)
Yun He

Genfa Wu (Fermilab)
Will Barker (University of Cambridge)

Oleksandr Tomalak (UKY)

Christine Simpson (University of Chicago)

Brian Nord (Fermilab and University of Chicago)

Luca Grandi (The University of Chicago)

Erik Shirokoff (University of Chicago)

Cosmin Deaconu (University of Chicago)

Jennifer Rittenhouse West (LBL)

Chihway Chang (University of Chicago/KICP)

Vladimir Shiltsev (Fermilab)
Fei Xu
(University of Chicago)
Andrés Alejandro Plazas Malagón (Princeton University/Rubin Observatory)
Xin Liu (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Robert Gruendl (University of Illinois/NCSA)

Jennifer Locke (University of Pennsylvania)

Mandeep S. S. Gill (Stanford Univ)

Felipe Menanteau (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Anna Porredon (Ohio State University)

Jenny Wurster (Cornell University)

Ali Rida Khalifeh (Institute of Cosmos Sciences, University of Barcelona)

Sunny Vagnozzi (University of Cambridge)

Benjamin Wallisch (IAS & UC San Diego)

Daniela Saadeh (University of Portsmouth)

Abhishek Maniyar (New York University)

Jahmour Givans (The Ohio State University)

Cristiano Sabiu (University of Seoul)

Rossana Ruggeri (The University of Queensland)

Johan Sebastian Bonilla Castro (University of California, Davis)

Steven Gardiner (Fermilab)
Arnab Ghosh (Fermilab)