Most Wikipedia Profiles Are of Men. This Scientist Is Changing That.

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“Our science can only benefit the whole of society if it’s done by the whole of society.”

Dr. Jessica Wade, a physicist who adds biographies of female and minority scientists to Wikipedia daily

We don’t make as many encyclopedia books anymore, or as many textbooks. Wikipedia is really the only peer-reviewed, crowdsourced, democratized access to information for every single person in the world to be able to read and contribute to.

If you put content on there, people don’t only read it, it changes their perception about who they think does science and what they think science is.


And what is that perception?

I’ve always done a lot of work to try to get young people — particularly girls and children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and people of color — to think about studying physics at high school, because physics is still very much that kind of elitist, white boy subject.

Our science can only benefit the whole of society if it’s done by the whole of society. And that’s not currently the case.


Tell me about your process.

The process is finding people first — usually it’s an award holder, someone who’s been given a fellowship, someone who’s published a really great paper or somebody who’s done a recent really good talk. Every morning, I go on Twitter and I’ll look.

Then I check if they meet the notability criteria on Wikipedia, which is a set of rules to determine whether someone is important enough to be on the site.

And then I do a bunch of research, and I write as I go. So I’ll have like 20 tabs open with all different aspects of their career and then start to stitch together a biography from that. It’s really like a journey.

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