Author Topic: Imperial College Physics Professor writes about Brexit in Physics Today  (Read 2568 times)


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'Scientists without borders': President Gast argues for academic mobility
by Andrew Scheuber
05 January 2017
Fibre optics pioneer Charles Kao's global journey is
highlighted by President Gast

Science needs "pragmatic ideas to foster mobility", writes Professor Alice Gast in Physics Today.

In a commentary for the world’s most influential physics magazine, Imperial’s President reflected on the political shocks of 2016 and how physicists and the wider academic community can respond.

“In this period of populist retreat from globalization, we need to promote the benefits of freedom of movement.”
– Professor Alice Gast
Physics Today
Professor Gast said: “As an American in London and president of one of the world’s great universities, I woke up early to the European Union referendum result that Friday morning in June and paused for thought. I reflected deeply about the value of international collaboration and mobility, and I realized Brexit was not the only concern. The rhetoric in the US presidential campaign was also isolationist... We have run hot and cold on immigration in the US, and I have been dismayed at the experiences many highly accomplished scientists have had at the nation’s borders.”

She added: “we must consider the political realities of wide swathes of people who feel that globalization has left them behind and that international mobility harms them. Even so, we need to make the case for scientists—and physicists in particular—to move freely across borders and around the planet.”

Charles Kao

Fibre-optics pioneer and Nobel laureate Charles Kao’s journey shows us why, said President Gast. He “was born in Shanghai, China, moved to Hong Kong, and studied in Greenwich and London in the UK. He then went back to Hong Kong, moved to the US, spent a year in Germany, returned to Hong Kong as vice chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and then took a sabbatical at my institution, Imperial College London. He now lives in California. One can only imagine the visas he has held and the paperwork he has had to fill out.”

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