Dr. Hakeem M. Oluseyi 


Dr. Hakeem M. Oluseyi is an internationally recognized astrophysicist, science TV personality, and global science education activist. His research includes astrophysics, technology development, and STEM education. He is a Robinson Professor of Physics and Astronomy at George Mason University and President-Elect of the National Society of Black Physicists. He has authored over 100 scholarly publications and nine books and holds 12 patents. Oluseyi chronicles his journey of overcoming the odds stacked against him to show what's possible when you dare to dream big and shoot for the stars.




12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Capitol Park Museum, First Floor Auditorium
Book Talk
A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey from the Street to the Stars

1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Cavalier House Booksellers Tent
Book Signing

A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey from the Street to the Stars

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.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS •“You’ll encounter one extraordinary turn of events after another, as the extraordinary chess player, puzzle solver, and occasional grifter works his way from grinding poverty and deep despair to worldwide acclaim as a physicist.”—Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society

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 is a soft target, and 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.


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