Synopses & Reviews
From a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos — and a call for a more just practice of science.
In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter -- all with a new spin informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek.
One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions.
Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, sexism, and other dehumanizing systems. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society that begins with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to tap into humanity's wealth of knowledge about the wonders of the universe.
"In this powerful and compelling book, Prescod-Weinstein lays it out patently: Racist and sexist policies and behaviors are rampant across all scientific disciplines... From the hunt for dark matter (her area of expertise) to the often fraught relationship among Indigenous peoples, their lands, and high-tech experiments, Prescod-Weinstein's deep dives into complex subjects are accessible and exhilarating... A timely, necessary, stellar book — a game-changer." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Afrofuturists seeking a deeper grounding in sciences beyond Earth's terrain will enjoy this well-crafted book that centers both Black Lives and space theory in a quest to understand the universe." Ytasha L. Womack, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi & Fantasy Culture
"What a cosmic testimony this is! A science-sermon to the Black, the queer, the trans, the disabled and all others who seek to be as free as the cosmos allows. This book proves that there is plenty of room in the universe for those who, on Earth, are forced to fold themselves up. Rejoice! For we have the space." Robert Jones, Jr., author of The Prophets
"Celebrated scientist Dr. Prescod-Weinstein uncovers how systematic racism limits humanity's potential. Using the universe as her classroom, she highlights the value of equality in laboratories and society at large." Essence
"There are very few books that will ignite the finest poets, memoirists, scientists, novelists, and folks who love reading. The Disordered Cosmos does all that, but what's most otherworldly is that it's a book that families in this world must read. It will change how we talk, think, communicate, and, most of all, imagine." Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir
Watch the Powell’s virtual event with Chanda Prescod-Weinstein and Elissa Washuta!
About the Author
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Core Faculty in Women's and Gender Studies at the University of New Hampshire. She is also a columnist for New Scientist. Her research in theoretical physics focuses on cosmology, neutron stars, and particles beyond the standard model. She also does research on feminist science studies, with a specific focus on the experiences of Black women in physics. Essence Magazine recognized her as one of 15 Black Women Who Are Paving the Way in STEM and Breaking Barriers. She has been profiled in several venues, including Tech Crunch, Ms. Magazine, Huffington Post, Gizmodo, Nylon, and the African-American Intellectual History Society's Black Perspectives. She received the 2017 LGBT+ Physicists Acknowledgement of Excellence Award "For Years of Dedicated Effort in Changing Physics Culture to be More Inclusive and Understanding Toward All Marginalized Peoples." She divides her time between Durham, New Hampshire, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Emily B. on PowellsBooks.Blog
The books below are a starting point for delving into the scientific legacy of Black women around the world and for inspiring the next generation to follow in their footsteps...