We do research in the area of Gender Studies in STEM and "Science and Technology Studies" (STS) on physics. One focus lies on intersectional research of science cultures. Using a mix of qualitative methods such as ethnographies and interviews, we investigate how categories of social inequality are inscribed in the culture and practices of “doing physics”. Another focus is on the interrelations between science, technology and society. The close ties of the research group to the department of physics enable a direct integration of research results into research, teaching and the cultures of physics.
Science cultures are complex structures of attitudes, norms and routines of practice that by many members of a scientific discipline are more or less taken for granted. Adopting to those implicit norms and routines can foster a sense of belonging to the community. We analyse the impact of categories such as gender, race, and the social background of researchers for these processes of becoming a fully-fledged member of a scientific community. Beyond this we are interested inasmuch how these categories shape the production of scientific knowledge and even contribute to the co-production of emerging technologies. We ask for instance, in which ways do certain technologies reproduce and reinforce existing social equalities by excluding potential users?
Another focus deals with the interaction of science, technology and society and analyses the potentials and challenges of diversity-sensitive participatory design in science and technology. How can society participate in the political and content-related modelling of ideas and technologies? As consumers, users, or co-creators, people of wide-ranging backgrounds can substantially contribute to alternative perspectives on gender, class, race, age and other categories of diversity, that should be accounted for when engaging in participatory processes.
Our research perspective offers a broadening of physics around sociologically relevant issues and thus contributes to raising awareness of gender and diversity issues.
Our research perspectives will open the professional horizon of physics for sociologically relevant questions that have been given little consideration to this date and shall thereby sensitize the discipline for gender and diversity issues.