Physicist Prescod-Weinstein honored by National Academies for writing

Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Woman with dark curly hair looks at the camera, painting of Black astronomers behind her

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, assistant professor of physics and astronomy and core faculty of women’s and gender studies, is a top award winner of the inaugural Eric and Wendy Schmidt Awards for Excellence in Science Communication, given by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in partnership with Schmidt Futures.

Prescod-Weinstein received the top prize in the category “Research Scientist: Mid-Career to Later Career” for three articles that advance science for the general public:

Enter the Axion” (American Scientist) 

Becoming Martian” (The Baffler)

A Black Femme Dreams in Equations” (Essence)

“Exceptional writing on complex topics, done in a voice aimed at marginalized audiences. Reading her writing is a joy.”

“Prescod-Weinstein makes dark matter and astrophysics personally meaningful and fascinating for readers by blending physics and metaphysics in jaw-dropping and beautiful ways,” says her award citation. “It’s not just science, it’s also literary, it’s worldly, it’s masterful. Exceptional writing on complex topics, done in a voice aimed at marginalized audiences. Reading her writing is a joy.”

Prescod-Weinstein, a theoretical cosmologist and particle physicist who studies dark matter, is also a prolific science communicator, writing articles and social media posts that bring complex ideas about physics, cosmology and social justice to broad audiences. She recently won the Phi Beta Kappa Book Award for Science and the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, both for her book The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred (Bold Type Books). In April, she received the received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the science and technology category.

Prescod-Weinstein is among 24 inaugural recipients of the award — 12 awards for best science communication by research scientists and 12 awards for science journalists, split among six categories. The winners will be honored during a recognition event and workshop on Nov. 11 and 12 in Washington, D.C.