APS News

New APS Webpage Hosts Statistical Graphics and Related Data

Percentage of Degrees Awarded to Minorities Percentage Of Degrees Awarded to Minorities


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Physicists looking for presentation-ready graphics illustrating general statistics on physics degrees granted in the US, as well as the representation of women and minorities in physics, have a new tool in their repertory. The APS Education & Diversity Department has published a webpage devoted to physics data and statistics. The webpage features more than 10 graphs available in both PDF and Powerpoint formats. In addition to the graphs, the raw data is provided allowing users to recreate or revise the graphs.

The demand for statistics on the number of physics degrees awarded annually has recently increased with the heightened pressure on physics departments to graduate at least five majors per year averaged over five years (see Theodore Hodapp’s Back Page on “The Economics of Education” from the December 2011 APS News for more information on this crisis). The goal of this new webpage is not only to provide easily accessible graphics and data for professionals seeking to follow trends but also to generate discussion and bring attention to how the physics community compares to other disciplines in educating students in the US.

All data is collected from the National Science Foundation’s WebCASPAR Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System. The database contains a large body of statistical data resources for science and engineering at US academic institutions. Among those resources are the IPEDS Completions Survey and the NSF-NIH Survey of Graduate Students & Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering.

This new resource will supplement the information available from the American Institute of Physics' Statistical Research Center and provide additional views of data, as well as access to the raw data behind the graphs.

“We hope that this page will fill an important role in educating the community about the progress the US is making in educating students in physics,” said Deanna Ratnikova of the APS Department of Education and Diversity. “The page also seeks to promote conversations amongst leaders in physics education on diversity and related issues,” she added.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos