Meet The 63rd Black Woman In American History With A Physics Ph.D.

Meet The 63rd Black Woman In American History With A Physics Ph.D.

The Huffington Post

Nico Pitney

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is a 32-year-old theoretical astrophysicist. Her academic home is arguably the nation’s most elite physics department, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In one sense, she is among a dying breed. Prescod-Weinstein is a pen-and-paper theorist. “Basically I do calculus all day, on paper,” she told HuffPost. “I’m a little bit of a hold-out. There are things I could be doing by computer that I just like to do by hand.”

But she is also part of a vanguard, a small but growing number of African-American women with doctorates in physics.

Just 83 Black women have received a Ph.D. in physics-related fields in American history, according to a database maintained by physicists Dr. Jami Valentine and Jessica Tucker that was updated last week…

…I think making sure that I remain engaged with my Jewish identity, and particularly the rituals of lighting the Shabbat candles and so forth. I think understanding that all things can’t be sacrificed on the altar of academic career and physics has been really important, and understanding that that balance is not just for my own sake, but is in fact really in some sense in service of doing the physics. I can’t just sit around feeling angry about the number of Black women, or worrying a lot about dark matter. I also have to allow myself to do these other things…

Read the entire interview here.

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