Bernice Durand has been affiliated with the Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1970, currently as Professor Emerita. Her research was in theoretical aspects of high-energy interactions at large particle accelerators.
Early experience as one of very few women in her field stimulated Bernice's interest in gender equity, then equity in general, which led to the second aspect of her university career and has carried over into her current work. She served as the University's first vice provost for diversity and climate, providing leadership to ensure that faculty, staff and student diversity issues, including race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual preference, as well as classroom and general campus climate issues, were addressed.
Bernice won university awards for outstanding leadership in campus diversity, for outstanding woman faculty or staff, and for outstanding and innovative teaching, including for her courses ranging from "Physics for Poets" (modern physics for non-science majors) to topology for advanced math and physics graduate students.
She served on the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Committee on the Status of Women; the national Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP); and currently chairs the STScI visiting Committee on Diversity, Climate and the Future of the Workplace, and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) Workforce and Diversity Committee. She is vice-chair of the Iowa State University Physics and Astronomy Council.
Bernice and her husband Loyal "Randy" Durand have been long-time participants at the Aspen Center for Physics, where they are both Honorary Trustees. Her "Physics for Poets" was broadcast on Aspen GrassRoots TV for several years. Additionally, Bernice has given numerous popular lectures on physics in Aspen. The Durands recently moved full-time to Aspen.