My feel good post of the month: being recognized for all that I am is awesome.
Since I spend so much time on this blog highlighting things that fucking suck, here is something that didn’t. I gave a talk at the University of Michigan this week that was jointly hosted by the Department of Astronomy and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. It was exciting to do such a joint event, and it wouldn’t have happened in the way that it did without the help of several people, including Alejo Stark, who in addition to being a budding astronomer also has an undergraduate degree in Africana Studies from Brown University. Michigan is so lucky to have him. Above is an image of the intro he gave for my talk, and below a copy of the text. This kind of recognition felt like getting an award, and I appreciate that. Thanks, Alejo. ❤
Dr. Prescod-Weinstein has earned degrees in Physics and Astronomy and Astrophysics from Harvard as an undergraduate, a masters in astronomy and astrophysics from UC santa cruz and a Phd in physics at the University of Waterloo/Perimeter Institute. As a post-doc she has held a position at NASA Goddard and is currently the Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow & Visiting Scholar at MIT where she works on various problems in theoretical physical cosmology related to the mystery of cosmic acceleration and more recently on axion dark matter (as she talked about yesterday in the high energy physics seminar).
Dr. Prescod-Weinstein, however, is not only an extraordinary scientist. She is an committed activist and prolific writer.
For more than a decade now she has been deeply involved in the organization and articulation of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) — as a member of this organization’s executive committee, editor of the newsletter and also as the Chair of Cosmology, Classical and Quantum Gravity committee.
In between plane flights, Dr. Prescod-Weinstein mentors students of color across states and has written extensively on equity and inclusion in astronomy and physics — all of which is, of course, duly compensated. (chanda edit: THAT IS SARCASM)
More specifically, Dr. Prescod-Weinstein’s critical discursive interventions are in conversation with intellectuals such as Sojourner Truth, Kimberlé Crenshaw and the Black feminisms of the Combahee River Collective. You can find all her writings at her medium.com blog…where she also has put together vitally critical reading list (“Decolonising Science Reading List”; “A U.S./Canadian Race & Racism Reading List.”)
Moreover, it is within these critical intellectual traditions that this extraordinary scientist extolls us to imagine not only what is but what could be. That is, she extolls us to imagine other worlds, and more importantly, to organize ourselves to brings these worlds about. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein constantly calls us to interrogate not only everyday practices but also the very frameworks through which we make sense of the world, and mobilizes us to make the world anew — to forge a world in which Black Lives Matter.
With this, please join me in welcoming Dr. Prescod-Weinstein.