Ballantine Books A Quantum Life
Ballantine Books A Quantum Life

A Quantum Life

By Hakeem Oluseyi

$28.00

Publication Date: June 15, 2021

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In this inspiring coming-of-age memoir, a world-renowned astrophysicist emerges from an impoverished childhood and crime-filled adolescence to ascend through the top ranks of research physics.

Navigating poverty, violence, and instability, a young James Plummer had two guiding stars—a genius IQ and a love of science. But a bookish nerd was a soft target in his community, where James faced years of bullying and abuse. As he struggled to survive his childhood in some of the country’s toughest urban neighborhoods in New Orleans, Houston, and LA, and later in the equally poor backwoods of Mississippi, he adopted the persona of “gangsta nerd”—dealing weed in juke joints while winning state science fairs with computer programs that model Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Once admitted to the elite physics PhD program at Stanford University, James found himself pulled between the promise of a bright future and a dangerous crack cocaine habit he developed in college. With the encouragement of his mentor and the sole Black professor in the physics department, James confronted his personal demons as well as the entrenched racism and classism of the scientific establishment. When he finally seized his dream of a life in astrophysics, he adopted a new name, Hakeem Muata Oluseyi, to honor his African ancestors.

Alternately heartbreaking and hopeful, A QUANTUM LIFE narrates one man’s remarkable quest across an ever-expanding universe filled with entanglement and choice.

Story Locale: New Orleans, rural Mississippi, Stanford University

About the Author

Hakeem Oluseyi is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, inventor, educator, television personality, and public speaker. Since 2007, he has been a professor of physics and space sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology, and has served at Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He appears regularly on the Science Channel’s highly popular program, Outrageous Acts of Science, as well as other science shows produced by Discovery, Inc.

Joshua Horwitz is the author of the New York Times bestseller War of the Whales: A True Story, which won the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

Author Residence: Fairfax, VA (author); Chevy Chase, MD (co-author)

Author Hometown: New Orleans, LA

Format: Hardcover

Length: 368 pages

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 9781984819093

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