Prof. Hannah Rubin presents “Discrimination and Diversity in Science”

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Location: 315 Behrakis Health Sciences Center
Sponsored By: PPE Program and Philosophy and Religion Department
Contact: Rory Smead ( or Katie Molongoski (

Speaker: Dr. Hannah Rubin, assistant professor at Notre Dame.

Philosophers of science and social scientists have argued that diverse perspectives, methods, and background assumptions are critical to the progress of science. One way to achieve such diversity is to ensure that a scientific community is made up of individuals from diverse personal backgrounds. In many scientific disciplines, though, minority groups are underrepresented. In some cases, minority members further segregate into sub-fields, decreasing the effective diversity of the community.

Rubin will discuss joint work with Cailin O’Connor in which we provide agent based models to show that, in collaboration networks, small minority groups may be more likely to be discriminated against while collaborating solely by virtue of their small numbers. Further, we show that this discrimination can lead members of different social groups to mostly collaborate with in-group members. Then, she will discuss work with Mike Schneider and Cailin O’Connor which shows how this formal framework can provide a platform to discuss the potential efficacy of various types of initiatives aimed at improving the diversity of collaborative groups. In particular, our models suggest that there is a tension between social and epistemic goods: certain proposals may successfully increase effective diversity, furthering the epistemic goals of the community, but at the cost of introducing further inequity.


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