Pride flag flying above the Beecroft building

Taking pride in physics

Astronomy and astrophysics

The Department of Physics hosted its inaugural Pride lecture on 4 June to coincide with Pride Month this year. The lecture is the first in a new series that aims to share and celebrate speakers’ contributions both to their respective fields of physics as well as to the inclusion of LGBT+ in STEM.

Professor Peter Coles from the University of Maynooth, Ireland, delivered the inaugural lecture discussing the major advancements in cosmology over the last 40 years and sharing his experiences as an openly gay man.

The event welcomed some 60 attendees to the Martin Wood Lecture Theatre at the Department of Physics and was followed by a drinks reception.

Professor Coles said about the event: ‘I did enjoy giving [the lecture] although I did find it difficult in parts to speak about some very personal things. I was pleased that there was quite a good attendance, and I'm very grateful to the organisers for having invited me and making me feel so welcome.’

Dr Jake Taylor, Schmidt AI in Science Fellow at the Department of Physics, spearheaded the initiative: ‘I started the Pride Lecture series as a way celebrate LGBT+ role models in physics. Growing up, I couldn’t name any LGBT+ people in physics, and that was a problem because I didn’t see someone like me in a career I really wanted; I didn’t think I’d belong, or that it was a career that people like me have. With this public lecture series I want to highlight the outstanding role models we do have, so that young LGBT+ people can see someone like themselves in the field of physics. Hopefully, this might encourage them to pursue their dreams of studying the physical processes that govern the world around us. I’m extremely grateful that the Department of Physics and MPLS have been very supportive with this initiative, if you watch Professor Coles’ lecture, you’ll learn that something like this would not have been possible a few decades ago.’

Next year’s annual Pride Lecture will take place at the end of Trinity Term 2025, to coincide with pride month.

Couldn't make the lecture? Watch now