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Neither the Moon Nor the Cosmos Are Impossible: Breanna J. McDaniel in conversation with Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Event date: 
Wednesday, June 15, 2022 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.

Charis and The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History welcome Breanna J. McDaniel in conversation with Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein for a conversation about Black girls and women in science, especially astronomy and physics, to celebrate the release of Breanna's new children's book, Impossible Moon, in which a young girl undertakes an impossible trip to the moon, makes friends with the stars, and brings back something priceless. We will also celebrate the paperback release of The Disordered Cosmos and discuss how the two books, though geared to different ages, speak to each other across space and time! 

About Impossible Moon:

In this gentle and lyrically told picture book about family, history, and memory, Grana used to tell the best stories, and Mabel used to long to soar through the heavens. Nowadays, Grana mostly lies in bed and Mabel stays close to home. But one day, Grana asks, “If we can touch the moon, then what is impossible?” So Mabel decides to do just that, embarking on a journey through the stars where The Seven Sistahs, The Big Dipper, and other constellations help her on her quest and teach her about African mythology and African American history. With the support of her new companions, Mabel reaches for her biggest dream yet: to make her sick grandma well again.

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—along with a perspective 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 nontraditional, and grounded in Black and queer feminist lineages. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, misogyny, and other forms of oppression. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society, beginning 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.

Breanna J. McDaniel is the author of the picture books Hands Up!, Impossible MoonGo Forth and TellCute Toot plus a few more on the way! She is also a book reviewer, education consultant and researcher. She holds an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons University and is currently pursuing her PhD at a university in the UK with research focused on representations of black children as comestible in contemporary picture books. She's the co-founder of the conference and network Researchers Exploring Inclusive Youth Literature (REIYL) and although she splits her time between the US and UK she is proud to have been born and raised in Atlanta, GA, her home.

Dr. 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. Her research in theoretical physics focuses on cosmology, neutron stars, and dark matter. She additionally does research in Black feminist science, technology, and society studies. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein is also a columnist for New Scientist and Physics World. Nature recognized her as one of 10 people who shaped science in 2020, and Essence magazine has recognized her as one of “15 Black Women Who Are Paving the Way in STEM and Breaking Barriers.” A co-founder of Particles for Justice, she received the 2017 LGBT+ Physicists Acknowledgement of Excellence Award for her contributions to improving conditions for marginalized people in physics and the 2021 American Physical Society Edward A. Bouchet Award for her contributions to particle cosmology. Her first book The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred won the 2021 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the science and technology category and was named a Best Book of 2021 by Publishers Weekly, Smithsonian Magazine, and Kirkus. It has been a finalist for multiple awards including the 2022 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. The Disordered Cosmos was also longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize in Caribbean Literature. Originally from East L.A., she divides her time between the New Hampshire Seacoast and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage

You may watch this event with AI captions in google chrome. If you would like to request ASL interpretation for this event, please email info@chariscircle.org. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to info@chariscircle.org. We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

By attending our virtual event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to info@chariscircle.org immediately.

Event address: 
CROWDCAST
Impossible Moon Cover Image
By Breanna J. McDaniel, Tonya Engel (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534478978
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books f - June 14th, 2022

A young girl undertakes an impossible trip to the moon, makes friends with the stars, and brings back something priceless in this gentle and lyrically told picture book about family, history, and memory.

Grana used to tell the best stories, and Mabel used to long to soar through the heavens. Nowadays, Grana mostly lies in bed and Mabel stays close to home.


The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781541724686
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bold Type Books - May 10th, 2022

From a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos—and a call for a more liberatory practice of science.

Winner of the 2021 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science & Technology
A Finalist for the 2022 PEN/E.O.


Hands Up! Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780593326640
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Puffin Books - December 15th, 2020

This triumphant picture book celebrates Black joy by reclaiming a charged phrase and showing readers how resistance can be part of their everyday lives.


Hands Up! Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525552314
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - January 22nd, 2019

This triumphant picture book recasts a charged phrase as part of a black girl's everyday life--hands up for a hug, hands up in class, hands up for a high five--before culminating in a moment of resistance at a protest march.


Event Summary: 
A conversation about Black girls and women in science, especially astronomy and physics, to celebrate the release of Breanna's new children's book.