Starstruck: A Memoir of Astrophysics and Finding Light in the Dark, Sarafina El-Badry Nance
Starstruck is an inspiring and beautifully crafted memoir by Egyptian-American astrophysicist Sarafina El-Badry Nance. It takes readers on a journey through her life, highlighting her remarkable path to becoming an astrophysicist whilst confronting significant challenges and experiences as a woman of colour in the scientific world, forging ahead to embrace her passion for the cosmos and her advocacy for women’s health.
Each chapter of Starstruck begins with captivating science lessons, offering the reader insights into the universe. In addition to her scientific pursuits, Sarafina candidly discusses the real-world challenges she has faced, including misogyny, racism, abuse, intergenerational trauma, anxiety, self-doubt, and her battle with cancer (along with her subsequent recovery). Starstruck is a testament to resilience, showing how one can pursue their passion for science and space exploration whilst navigating adversity. It resides at the intersection of cosmic exploration and the transformational power of perseverance. Sarafina’s story is honest and empowering, encouraging readers to embrace their dreams even in the face of societal barriers and personal hardships.
Ultimately, Starstruck is a compelling narrative of a woman who defied stereotypes and pushed through the boundaries of what was expected of her, all whilst exploring the wonders of the universe and encouraging others to overcome obstacles in pursuit of their dreams.
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Hear Sarafina talk about her book here.
About the author
Sarafina El-Badry Nance is an Egyptian-American astrophysicist and women’s health advocate. Her fascination with space began in her Texas childhood, listening to StarDate on the radio and finding solace in the night sky, which ignited her passion for astronomy.
She is currently pursuing her PhD at UC Berkeley; however, beyond her scientific pursuits, she is a dedicated science communicator, emphasising the importance of failure in science. She is also an advocate for women’s health, sharing her own experience with the BRCA2 gene and using social media to raise awareness about cancer testing and preventive measures.
In 2021, she was recognised by Forbes as one of 30 inspirational women, and was featured on the Arab American Foundation’s 40 Under 40 list. She has hosted the astronomy series Constellations on Seeker, showcasing her commitment to public engagement in science. Additionally, she has been awarded fellowships by the National Science Foundation, and her work has been featured by the BBC, NPR, and National Geographic.
You can follow Sarafina El-Badry Nance’s work here:
With thanks to Synergy for their support.