The disordered cosmos : a journey into dark matter, spacetime, and dreams deferred

by Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda,

Format: Print Book 2021
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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 experience and understand the wonders of the universe.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Particle physicist Prescod-Weinstein presents a provocative and richly detailed critique of the largely white and male scientific community and her place in it as a Black queer woman. She rejects assumptions that science is "neutral" and apolitical, based on objective empiricism, and more rigorous than social science. Her examples are amusing and tragic, such as when she points out that infrared motion detectors designed by white engineers often don't work on black skin. Prescod-Weinstein urges scientists to apply scientific observation to social phenomena. If we can accept that light is simultaneously a wave and a particle and thus nonbinary, why do we resist the nonbinary possibilities of human sexuality and gender? She questions why white scientists who are adept at observing and recognizing patterns in the natural world are so reluctant to observe and recognize patterns of racism and sexism in their own community, despite ample evidence. Finally, Prescod-Weinstein notes that the push to diversify STEM typically focuses on the benefits to be extracted from Black and Brown talent as opposed to the benefits to communities of color, while the dangers of science, including military technology and climate destruction, are most often borne by Indigenous, Black, and Brown people. A fascinating and disquieting look at a discipline that often holds itself above interrogation."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Prescod-Weinstein, a particle cosmologist, debuts with an eye-popping and innovative look into the nature of the universe and her "awakening as a Black scientist." In lucid prose, she takes readers through the "strange, fantastical" world of particle physics, describing quantum mechanics, theories such as string theory and quantum gravity, and and the axion, a hypothetical particle and a subject of her own research. Woven in is an account of Prescod-Weinstein's evolution as a scientist and a critique of the discipline's "social environment." "White empiricism," she writes, relies on inaccurate language, and she objects to the dark matter analogy in academia, which compares dark matter to Black people when in fact dark matter is invisible. She rebukes "intellectual colonialism" that dismisses Indigenous knowledge and claims to land, and pushes back against a culture she argues is rife with exploitation and sexual assault. As a remedy, she proposes an institutional restructuring ("science needs an anti-colonial code") that allows children "of every shade, gender identity, sex identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, romantic orientation, (dis)ability, and religion" access to the night sky. In addition to her urgent critique, Prescod-Weinstein's explanation of physics remains accessible. The result is a resonant paean to the beauties of the cosmos and a persuasive appeal for solutions to injustices in science. Agent: Jessica Papin, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Mar.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Particles (Nuclear physics)
African Americans -- Study and teaching.
Feminist theory.
Science -- Methodology.
Publisher New York :2021
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description pages cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 9781541724709
Other Classic View