We might like to think that science is purely objective, driven only by scientific principles and free of social disturbances — but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In this episode, we read Chanda Prescod-Weinstein’s debut The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, a book exposing how racism and sexism persist across all scientific disciplines. Part introduction to particle physics, part biography, part cultural and social analysis, The Disordered Cosmos examines the colonialist thread running through science’s history and presents a vision of the cosmos as vibrant, inclusive and non-traditional.
We talk to Prescod-Weinstein — theoretical physicist, feminist theorist and one of the few Black US American women to ever earn a physics PhD — about her message to the next generation of scientists, and find out who should read this timely, provocative and necessary title.
You can also read Monserrat’s review of The Disordered Cosmos here.
For our next episode, we’ll be reading Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning through Making by Anna Ploszajski. In it, the material scientist explores the domain of makers and craftspeople whose knowledge accumulated over generations of hands-on trial and error leads them to understand popular materials like glass, steel and stone far better than any scientist with a textbook.
If you, dear listener, have any thoughts on The Disordered Cosmos or know of a book you would like us to discuss in an upcoming book club, let us know in the comments below or tweet at us @ChemistryWorld.
Thank you to editor Lee Oglesby for performing a sensitivity check on this episode.