Making a Physicist with Jazz

Making a Physicist with Jazz
Monday, October 2, 2017 - 3:30pm
Black Community Services Center, Community Room
Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Abstract / Description: 

In 2005, theoretical physicist S. James Gates related a story about Abdus Salam where Salam explained that once Black people entered physics in large numbers, they would create something like jazz. Is this an essentialization of Black people or getting at the essence of how Black people have responded to the wake of slavery and colonialism? Using texts from a diverse set of disciplines -- English, ethnomusicology, and science, technology, and society studies -- I will reflect on possible answers to this question, what they tell us about how physicists are made, and whether this framework offers lessons for how physicists should be made.

Open to all interested. Limited seating. To attend this talk and discussion, please register online via this link:


Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is a theoretical physicist and research scientist at the University of Washington. She specializes in early universe cosmology with an emphasis on classical and quantum fields in the early universe. Amongst her many activities, she is the principal investigator on a Fundamental Questions Institute (FQXi) funded project in the philosophy of science, with a particular focus on the presence and absence of Black and Native women in physics and astronomy. Chanda feels strongly about bad dark matter analogies.

WISE Ventures, a joint initiative of the Vice Provost for Faculty Development & Diversity and the Vice Provost for Graduate Education at Stanford, joins with the Department of Physics, and the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity to sponsor this WISE Research Roundtable, one in a series of discussions with research scientists whose work illuminates paths to advance equity in scientific and technical fields.

In addition to the talk below, Dr. Prescod-Weinstein will be visiting the department during the week of Oct 2-6 and will be giving the KIPAC Colloquium on Thursday October 5 at 11 am.

Please feel free to be in touch with Prof. Risa Wechsler if you would like to meet with her.