This is a good article. Click here for more information.

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Becoming Interplanetary.jpg
Prescod-Weinstein at "Becoming Interplanetary" talk at the Library of Congress in 2018
Alma materHarvard College
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of Waterloo
RelativesMargaret Prescod (mother): Selma James (grandmother)
Scientific career
Quantum gravity
Equality activism
InstitutionsGoddard Space Flight Center
University of Washington
University of New Hampshire

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is an American theoretical cosmologist, and is both an assistant professor of physics and astronomy and a core faculty member in women's and gender studies at the University of New Hampshire. From 2016 to 2018, she was the principal investigator on a Foundational Questions Institute (FQXI) grant titled "Epistemological Schemata of Astro | Physics: A Reconstruction of Observers."

Early life and education[edit]

Prescod-Weinstein was born in El Sereno in East Los Angeles, California, and went to school in the Los Angeles Unified School District.[1][2] She is of Barbadian descent on her mother's side and Russian-Jewish and Ukrainian-Jewish descent on her father's side.[3] She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics and Astronomy at Harvard College in 2003. Her thesis, "A study of winds in active galactic nuclei", was completed under the supervision of Martin Elvis.[4] She then earned a master's degree in astronomy in 2005 at the University of California, Santa Cruz, working with Anthony Aguirre.[5] In 2006, Prescod-Weinstein changed research directions and ultimately moved to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics to work with Dr. Lee Smolin. In 2010, Prescod-Weinstein completed her Ph.D. dissertation, titled "Cosmic acceleration as Quantum Gravity Phenomenology",[6] under the supervision of Lee Smolin and Niayesh Afshordi at University of Waterloo, while conducting her research at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.[1][7]


Prescod-Weinstein's research has focused on various topics in cosmology and theoretical physics, including the axion as a dark matter candidate,[8] inflation, and classical and quantum fields in the early universe.[9]

From 2004 to 2007 Prescod-Weinstein was a named National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.[10]

After Prescod-Weinstein's Ph.D., she was a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow in the Observational Cosmology Lab at Goddard Space Flight Center.[10][11] In 2011, she won a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was jointly appointed to the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research and the department of physics.[10][11][12] At MIT, Prescod-Weinstein worked in Alan Guth's group in the Center for Theoretical Physics.[13]

In 2016, she became the principal investigator on a $100,522 FQXI grant to study “Epistemological Schemata of Astro | Physics: A Reconstruction of Observers” seeking to answer questions regarding how to re-frame who is an "observer", to acknowledge those existing outside of the European Enlightenment framework, and how that might change knowledge production in science.[14]

She is working on the NASA STROBE-X experiment.[15]

Prescod-Weinstein's research has been cited about 800 times with an h-index of 15.[16]


Prescod-Weinstein earned the Barbados House Canada Inc. Gordon C Bynoe Scholarship in 2007.[10] In 2013 she won the MIT "Infinite Kilometer Award".[17] In March 2017, Prescod-Weinstein won the LGBT+ Physicists Acknowledgement of Excellence Award "For Years of Dedicated Effort in Changing Physics Culture to be More Inclusive and Understanding Toward All Marginalised Peoples".[18]

Prescod-Weinstein was recognized by Essence Magazine as one of 15 Black Women Who are Paving the Way in STEM and Breaking Barriers.[19] Prescod-Weinstein's personal story and ideas have been featured in several venues, including Huffington Post, Gizmodo, Nylon, and the African-American Intellectual History Society.[20] She was named to Nature's list of "ten people who helped shape science in 2020" in January 2021,[21] as well as one of VICE Motherboard's "Humans2020," "honoring scientists, engineers, and visionaries who are changing the world for the better."[22]

Prescod-Weinstein received the 2021 Edward A. Bouchet Award from the American Physical Society, in recognition "For contributions to theoretical cosmology and particle physics, ranging from axion physics to models of inflation to alternative models of dark energy, for tireless efforts in increasing inclusivity in physics, and for co-creating the Particles for Justice movement."[23]

Prescod-Weinstein's 2021 work The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred won the Los Angeles Times Book Award in the Science & Technology category.[24]

Public engagement[edit]

Prescod-Weinstein is an advocate[25] for increasing the diversity within science by considering intersectionality[26] and proper celebration of the underrepresented groups who contribute to scientific knowledge production.[27] She has been a member of the executive committee of the National Society of Black Physicists.[28] In 2017 she was a plenary speaker at the Women in Physics Canada meeting.[29]

Prescod-Weinstein has contributed popular science articles for Slate, American Scientist, Nature Astronomy, Bitch media, and Physics World.[30][31][32][33][34] She is on the Book Review Board of Physics Today and was editor-in-chief of The Offing.[35] The American Physical Society described her as a "vocal presence on Twitter".[36] Prescod-Weinstein maintains a Decolonising Science Reading List.[37] Prescod-Weinstein has given several interviews and public talks.[38][39][40][41]

In October 2018, Prescod-Weinstein was one of 18 authors of a public letter titled "High Energy Physics Community Statement" hosted on a website called "Particles for Justice." The statement condemned Alessandro Strumia's controversial claim at CERN's first Workshop on High Energy Theory and Gender that male scientists were victims of discrimination.[42][43][44] Within a day of publication, nearly 1,600 academics had signed the letter in support.[43] As of October 13, it had received nearly 4,000 signatures, including those of John Ellis, Howard Georgi and David Gross.[45][46]

In June 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Prescod-Weinstein, Brian Nord, and the Particles for Justice group organized a global "Strike for Black Lives."[42] Prescod-Weinstein authored a note on the Particles for Justice page titled "What I wanted when I called for a Strike for Black Lives." On June 10, the day of the strike, over 4,500 academics pledged participation in the strike. Additionally, numerous organizations including Nature, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Physics supported and/or participated in the strike.[47]

Prescod-Weinstein's book The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred was published by Bold Type Books in March 2021 and draws from her experience and knowledge as a Black woman theoretical physicist.[19] She is a monthly contributor to New Scientist, with a column titled "Field Notes from Space-time,"[48] and a contributing columnist for Physics World.[49]

Prescod-Weinstein was a founding member of the American Astronomical Society Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy.[20] Prescod-Weinstein has in the past also been a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory council.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Prescod-Weinstein is queer and agender.[2] She is married to a lawyer.[50] Her mother Margaret Prescod emigrated from Barbados as a teenager, and in New York was a founder of International Black Women for Wages for Housework in 1974.[51] Prescod-Weinstein is the grandchild of feminist Selma James and the step-granddaughter of Trinidadian writer and historian C. L. R. James.[52] Prescod-Weinstein advocates for social justice issues on Twitter.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda Rosalyn Sojourner (September 22, 2010). "Cosmic Acceleration As Quantum Gravity Phenomenology". UWSpace. Bibcode:2010PhDT.......299P. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b Pitney, Nico (June 24, 2015). "Meet The 63rd Black Woman In American History With A Physics Ph.D." HuffPost UK. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  3. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (July 29, 2015). "Hold Fast to Blackness". Medium. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  4. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (February 6, 2018). "A study of winds in active galactic nuclei /". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "Guest Post: Chanda". January 21, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  6. ^ "Cosmic acceleration as quantum gravity phenomenology", WorldCat.
  7. ^ "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | Perimeter Institute". Archived from the original on November 22, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  8. ^ Nowogrodzki, Anna (December 7, 2015). "Tiny dark matter stars would harbour particles that act as one". New Scientist. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  9. ^ "Meet a Scientist - Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | Perimeter Institute". Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d "Curriculum Vitae". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | Perimeter Institute". Archived from the original on November 22, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  12. ^ "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Physics – Martin Luther King Jr. Scholars". Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  13. ^ "How I Got Here". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Archived from the original on March 13, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  14. ^ "FQXi - Foundational Questions Institute". Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  15. ^ "Making a Universe with Axions | Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC)". Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  16. ^ "C. Prescod-Weinstein | Semantic Scholar". Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  17. ^ "MIT School of Science". Archived from the original on March 6, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  18. ^ "lgbt+physicists - Acknowledgement of Excellence Awards". Archived from the original on February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  20. ^ a b c "My Science". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  21. ^ "Nature's 10: ten people who helped shape science in 2020". Nature. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  22. ^ "The Physicist and Social Theorist Fighting for Equality in Science". Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  23. ^ "Awards". American Physical Society. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  24. ^ "Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners Announced". Los Angeles Times. April 22, 2022.
  25. ^ Sokol, Joshua (August 23, 2016). "Why the Universe Needs More Black and Latino Astronomers". Smithsonian. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  26. ^ Kaplan, Sarah (July 11, 2017). "Women of color face staggering harassment in space science". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  27. ^ Bradford., Edwards, Sue (December 6, 2016). Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA. New York: ABDO Digital. ISBN 978-1680797404. OCLC 1003680291.
  28. ^ "Guest Post: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein". Sean Carroll. October 22, 2006. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  29. ^ Institute for Quantum Computing (August 15, 2017). "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein - Fields of Cosmological Dreams". YouTube. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  30. ^ "WWriting for Popular Media". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  31. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (August 9, 2017). "Stop Equating 'Science' With Truth". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  32. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (August 14, 2017). "Scientists Must Challenge What Makes Studies Scientific". American Scientist. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  33. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (2017). "Curiosity and the end of discrimination". Nature Astronomy. 1 (6): 0145. Bibcode:2017NatAs...1E.145P. doi:10.1038/s41550-017-0145. ISSN 2397-3366.
  34. ^ "Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | Bitch Media". Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  35. ^ Thompson, Rachel (January 9, 2017). "#LitMagLove: The Offing's Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | Room Magazine". Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  36. ^ "APS Member Chanda Prescod-Weinstein Gets the HuffPo Treatment". July 6, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  37. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (April 25, 2015). "Decolonising Science Reading List". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  38. ^ "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD: A day in the life of an astrophysicist". Spark Plug Labs. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  39. ^ "Speaker". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  40. ^ "In the News". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  41. ^ Calkins, Isabel (February 6, 2017). "10 Black Women in Academia That You Need To Know About". NYLON. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  42. ^ a b "Home". Particles for Justice. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  43. ^ a b Chen, Sophia (October 5, 2018). "Physicists Condemn Sexism Through 'Particles for Justice'". WIRED. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  44. ^ Banks, Michael (October 8, 2018). "Thousands of physicists sign letter condemning 'disgraceful' Alessandro Strumia gender talk". Physics World. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  45. ^ "Scientists condemn professor's 'morally reprehensible' talk". BBC News. October 6, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  46. ^ Mandelbaum, Ryan F. (October 5, 2018). "More Than 200 Physicists Denounce Sexist Lecture at CERN". Gizmodo. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  47. ^ Burke, Lilah (June 11, 2020). "Scientists strike for black lives, a more inclusive academia". Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  48. ^ "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein". New Scientist. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  49. ^ Banks, Michael (November 3, 2020). "Reflecting the community: Physics World's new contributing columnists expand our team of opinion writers". Physics World. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  50. ^ "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein". American Institute of Physics. January 25, 2021. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  51. ^ "Executive Board". Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  52. ^ "Black Intellectual History and STEM: A Conversation with Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein – AAIHS". August 29, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2020.

External links[edit]