Aziza Baccouche

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Aziza Baccouche
BornNovember 25, 1976
DiedJune 11, 2021
EducationCollege of William & Mary (BS, 1995)
Hampton University (MS, 1998)
University of Maryland, College Park (PhD, 2002)
AZIZA Productions

Zohra Aziza Baccouche ('Dr. Z') was an American physicist and science filmmaker. She was an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Science and Engineering fellow at CNN. Declared legally blind at the age of eight, she lost her sight due to a brain tumor at eight years old.[1] She died in 2021.[2]

Early life[edit]

Baccouche was born to an African-American mother and Tunisian father [3] on November 25, 1976 [4] and brought up in Tunisia. She developed a brain tumor as a child which caused a disorder called hydrocephalus when she was eight years old.[5] Hydrocephalus blocks cerebral fluid in the brain and creates pressure within the ventricles. In Baccouche's case, that pressure damaged her optic nerve causing her to lose all but 9% of her vision by the age of eight.[1]


Baccouche was the first blind person to study physics at the College of William & Mary, graduating in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science.[3] Her undergraduate advisor suggested that because she was blind she should she not study physics.[5] In 1998, she earned her master's degree from Hampton University.[6] As part of an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Fellowship in 1998, she joined CNN in Atlanta and was appointed the special science correspondent of the Washington Bureau.[3] In 2000, she established Aziza Productions.[7] She received her PhD in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2002.[8] Her dissertation entitled "Phenomenology of Isoscalar Heavy Baryons" focused on heavy baryons.[9][10]


After completing her PhD, Baccouche became a science correspondent for Evening Exchange with Kojo Nnamdi on Howard University Television.[7] She was involved with initiatives to increase the number of African-American women studying physics.[11] She worked as a science media producer and was a frequent contributor to the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) conferences.[12] In 2020 Baccouche authored a memoir titled "Seeking Vision" chronicling her life from when she was declared legally blind at the age of eight until her fifth brain surgery.[13]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Baccouche was honored with a HerStory Award at the Women's Federation for World Peace USA National Assembly in 2013.[14]


  1. ^ a b "CNN Transcript - Morning News: Aziza Baccouche Discusses Overcoming Blindness - August 11, 2000". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  2. ^ Miller, Jami (June 12, 2021). "Dr. Aziza Baccouche". National Society of Black Physicists.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b c Physics, Institute of. "Once a physicist: Z Aziza Baccouche". (in British English). Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  4. ^ Squared, POC. "Dr. Zohra Aziza Baccouche – Nuclear Physicist" (in British English). Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  5. ^ a b "Spotlight on Diversity". Science | AAAS. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  6. ^ "Mass Media Fellows Reflect on Internship Experience". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  7. ^ a b Roberson, Stephen. "Aziza Baccouche". (in British English). Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  8. ^ "Blind physicist Aziza Baccouche to give motivational talk tomorrow". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  9. ^ Carlson, Carl; Mecking, Bernhard A. (2003). Baryons 2002: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Structure of Baryons : Jefferson Lab, Newport News, Virginia, USA, March 3-8 2002. World Scientific. ISBN 9789812704887.
  10. ^ "Physics in Your Future" (PDF). APS. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  11. ^ "2018 National Society of Black Physicists Conference". Cvent. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  12. ^ "Aziza Baccouche". Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  14. ^ "Dr. Aziza Baccouche". Women's Federation for World Peace USA (in American English). Retrieved 2021-06-20.