Berkeley Lab

Undergrad’s Poster Project Honors Black Physicists

Inspired by the nation’s grappling with issues of race and racial discrimination in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 killing by police during his arrest in Minneapolis, UC Berkeley physics major and Berkeley Lab student assistant Ana Lyons turned to art as a way to contribute to the conversation.

Aware of the scientific community’s own self-reflection for its history of racial inequity and discrimination, Lyons found solace and positivity in a poster project honoring the contributions of Black American physicists. The project will feature a series of 12 posters, and she has already completed her first set of six.

Among the physicists featured in her series: Willie Hobbs Moore, the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics, and Harry Lee Morrison, longtime UC Berkeley professor of theoretical physics and a founding member and fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists. Moore earned her Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of Michigan, and Morrison served as a professor for 22 years before his retirement in 1994. He continued to serve as assistant dean in the UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science for 11 years after his retirement.

Profile photo - Ana LyonsAna Lyons

A third-year physics major, Lyons plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics after completing her undergraduate studies. She is a part of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) project that is led by Berkeley Lab. The DESI experiment will produce the biggest-ever 3D map of the universe, and Lyons works on data-visualization and quality-assurance tools for DESI.

Lyons recently rekindled her dabblings in painting and drawing – she had put art aside for a time to focus on her university studies.

Learn more about Lyons’ scientific pursuits and her poster project in this Q&A.