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Head of Department letter June 2022

Dear Colleagues,
What is a physicist like?
That was not really the question that ethnologist Maria Gedoz Tieppo started out with when she began her study on equality, inclusion and diversity in the bachelor's program in physics in October last year. Although, this was one of many exciting aspects that Maria brought up when she presented the results of the study at a teachers' meeting on May 30 in Rydbergsalen. Unfortunately, I myself could not attend because I was at a funeral, but the department management had a long meeting with Maria the week before where she presented her conclusions.

What is a physicist like? First of all, it is obvious that physicists, like all other people, are individuals and that they are all different. But overall, there still seems to be a lot of common features. For example, many physics students are really passionate about the subject of physics, and it is really something that is extremely positive and that we can and should use in our education. There are many other positive aspects, but also challenges. I will not try to summarise them here; Maria is in the process of writing a report and we already have a lot of material from her that we can use in the design of our education.

What is a technical physicist like then? Maria has only looked at the bachelor's program and her study thus says nothing about this. In the management group, we have sat and thought about it and concluded that there are great similarities, but also a lot of differences between the physics student group and the student group in technical physics. It makes a lot of sense that we have the different programs because they appeal to different people. This is not the same as saying that there should always be a strict boundary between one education and the other (and especially at the advanced level it is not).

What are we like and who are we at the Department of Physics? This is a question that I can send with you into the summer break, regardless of whether you intend to enjoy the wonderful Nordic summer or if you are going to travel further afield. Relax, take it easy, think of something other than work - see you again in August!