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Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

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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
Scientific career
Quantum gravity
Equality activism
InstitutionsGoddard Space Flight Center
University of Washington
University of New Hampshire

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is an American and Barbadian cosmologist, science writer and equality activist based at the University of New Hampshire. From 2016-2018, 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 "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 earned the Barbados House Canada Inc. Gordon C Bynoe Scholarship in 2007.[10] In 2013 she won the MIT "Infinite Kilometer Award".[16] 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".[17]

Prescod-Weinstein was recognized by Essence Magazine as one of 15 Black Women Who are Paving the Way in STEM and Breaking Barriers.[18] 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.[19]

Public engagement[edit]

Prescod-Weinstein is an advocate[20] for increasing the diversity within science by considering intersectionality[21] and proper celebration of the underrepresented groups who contribute to scientific knowledge production.[22] She has been a member of the executive committee of the National Society of Black Physicists.[23] In 2017 she was a plenary speaker at the Women in Physics Canada meeting.[24]

Prescod-Weinstein has contributed popular science articles for Slate, American Scientist, Nature Astronomy, Bitch media, and Physics World.[25][26][27][28][29] She is on the Book Review Board of Physics Today and was editor-in-chief of The Offing.[30] The American Physical Society described her as a "vocal presence on Twitter".[31] Prescod-Weinstein maintains a "Decolonising Science Reading List.[32] Prescod-Weinstein has given several interviews and public talks.[33][34][35][36]

In 2018, Prescod-Weinstein was one of 18 authors of "Particles for Justice", a statement condemning Alessandro Strumia's controversial comments on women in physics at CERN.[37][38][39]

Prescod-Weinstein's book, The Disordered Cosmos, is forthcoming from Bold Type Books in Spring 2021, and draws from her experience and knowledge as a Black woman theoretical physicist.[40]

Prescod-Weinstein is an active member of the Society for the Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in the Sciences at the University of New Hampshire. She is also part of the committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy at UNH. [41] Prescod-Weinstein is also a member of the Peace Academic Advisory council. [42]

Personal life[edit]

Prescod-Weinstein is queer and agender.[2] She is married to a lawyer. 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.[43] Prescod-Weinstein is a very active Twitter activist.


  1. ^ a b Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda Rosalyn Sojourner (2010-09-22). "Cosmic Acceleration As Quantum Gravity Phenomenology". UWSpace. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b Pitney, Nico (2015-06-24). "Meet The 63rd Black Woman In American History With A Physics Ph.D." HuffPost UK. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  3. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (July 29, 2015). "Hold Fast to Blackness". Medium. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  4. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (2018-02-06). "A study of winds in active galactic nuclei /". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "Guest Post: Chanda". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  6. ^ "Cosmic acceleration as quantum gravity phenomenology", WorldCat.
  7. ^ "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | Perimeter Institute". Retrieved 2018-02-15.
  8. ^ Nowogrodzki, Anna (2015-12-07). "Tiny dark matter stars would harbour particles that act as one". New Scientist. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  9. ^ "Meet a Scientist - Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | Perimeter Institute". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  10. ^ a b c d "Curriculum Vitae". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  11. ^ a b "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | Perimeter Institute". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  12. ^ "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Physics – Martin Luther King Jr. Scholars". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  13. ^ "How I Got Here". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  14. ^ "FQXi - Foundational Questions Institute". Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  15. ^ "Making a Universe with Axions | Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC)". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  16. ^ "MIT School of Science". Archived from the original on 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  17. ^ "lgbt+physicists - Acknowledgement of Excellence Awards". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  18. ^ "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  19. ^ "My Science". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  20. ^ Sokol, Joshua (2016-08-23). "Why the Universe Needs More Black and Latino Astronomers". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  21. ^ Kaplan, Sarah (2017-07-11). "Women of color face staggering harassment in space science". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  22. ^ Bradford., Edwards, Sue (2016-12-06). Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA. New York: ABDO Digital. ISBN 978-1680797404. OCLC 1003680291.
  23. ^ "Guest Post: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein". Sean Carroll. 2006-10-22. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  24. ^ Institute for Quantum Computing (2017-08-15). "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein - Fields of Cosmological Dreams". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  25. ^ "Writing for the Public". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  26. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (2017-08-09). "Stop Equating 'Science' With Truth". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  27. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (2017-08-14). "Scientists Must Challenge What Makes Studies Scientific". American Scientist. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | Bitch Media". Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  30. ^ Thompson, Rachel. "#LitMagLove: The Offing's Chanda Prescod-Weinstein | Room Magazine". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  31. ^ "APS Member Chanda Prescod-Weinstein Gets the HuffPo Treatment". 2015-07-06. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  32. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (2015-04-25). "Decolonising Science Reading List". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  33. ^ "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD: A day in the life of an astrophysicist". Spark Plug Labs. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  34. ^ "Speaker". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  35. ^ "In the News". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Archived from the original on 2018-02-06. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  36. ^ Calkins, Isabel (2017-02-06). "10 Black Women in Academia That You Need To Know About". NYLON. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  37. ^ "Home". Particles for Justice. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  38. ^ "Physicists Condemn Sexism Through 'Particles for Justice'". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  39. ^ "Thousands of physicists sign letter condemning 'disgraceful' Alessandro Strumia gender talk – Physics World". Physics World. 2018-10-08. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  40. ^ "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  41. ^ "My Science". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  42. ^ "My Science". Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  43. ^ "Executive Board". Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health. Retrieved 2019-05-29.

External links[edit]