Nia Imara

American astrophysicist and artist

Nia Imara is an American astrophysicist, artist, and activist. Imara's scientific work deals with galactic mass, star formation, and exoplanet detection. Imara was the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in astrophysics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Quotes edit

  • I paint mostly black people because I am black...I think it’s a cultural crisis in America, how people see themselves, and I think that should be an ambition in any art form to uplift people in some way.

Quotes from "'Pursue your love. Stay hopeful. You’re needed': an interview with Dr. Nia Imara '03" edit

Kenyon Lyceum (April 26, 2019)

  • It’s the strangeness of the universe that has always been my favorite part of physics.
  • Astronomers are masters of light; light we can see and most of which we can’t see.
  • Pursue your love. Stay hopeful. You’re needed. (Responding to the question "If there was a word you could give to other young people of color who want to be scientists, what would you tell them?")

Quotes from "Artist, Activist, and Astrophysicist Nia Imara Keeps Her Eyes on the Sky" edit

Berkeley Arts + Design" (February 25, 2021)

  • I grew up in an environment where love for my people and for our culture was expressed all around me. I was raised to identify with Black people around the globe.
  • Astronomers are experts on understanding what light is. We can’t touch or sense most of the objects that we study, other than from the light that we receive from them.
  • Everyone’s captivated by astronomy, by the stars, what’s out there in the universe...And so I made a conscious choice a long time ago that I wanted to share my work with the community, with Black folks and other people of color, especially.
  • One strong motivation [for painting portraits] has been wanting to portray Black people in all the beauty that I see in them...I take a lot of joy in that.
  • It’s frustrating for me, when people just talk about things at a superficial level and then try to solve the problem through diversity programs.

Quotes from "The Astrophysicist Who Sculpts Stars Before They Are Born" edit

Quanta (July 20, 2022)

  • We can never make assumptions about the entire universe based on what’s happening in our own backyard...we don’t want to have a theory of star formation just for the Milky Way — we want a universal theory.
  • We know that molecular clouds are elaborate, and that their complex geometry is tied to star formation. But the images we have of them are flat — they’re inherently two-dimensional.
  • Imagination is a huge part of what it means to do science, and I often imagine what it would be like to be up close to these environments.

Quotes from "This Astrophysicist Makes Stellar Nurseries That Fit in the Palm of Your Hand" edit

Scientific American (February 21, 2024)

  • ... part of the challenge with astronomy is that images are inherently flat... 3-D models uniquely tap into the human brain’s ability to detect patterns. And so that was the idea behind the 3D printing was to have a new way of visualizing stellar nurseries — visual.
  • Now, most astronomers hate dust; dust can dim the light from background stars and galaxies that we're trying to observe. But I love dust. Stellar nurseries are dusty. And we can use our knowledge of dust to understand the structure of molecular clouds. Stellar nurseries are threaded by these long, dense noodlelike structures called filaments. Embedded within filaments are these compact knots of gas called cores — the final stage before star formation.
  • The link between art and science for me is my love of color and my love of light.

Quotes about Nia Imara edit

External links edit

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