PHOTO COURTESY: NSBP.
Dr. Zohra Aziza Baccouche, the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics in Maryland and the first blind person to study physics at the College of William & Mary has died, The National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) announced in a statement. She was 45 years old.
It’s not clear when Dr. Baccouche died. NSBP released its statement on June 12 and some tweets wishing condolences began circulating the day before.
“Born with hydrocephalus and a benign brain tumor, Dr. Baccouche endured nine brain surgeries including intensive proton therapy treatment throughout her life and since the age of 8 years old,” NSBP says.
“Nonetheless, she faced them with admirable strength, faith, resilience, and perseverance.”
She graduated from William & Mary in 1995 with a BSc, earning a master’s degree from Hampton University in 1998. She began working with CNN in 1999, landing the role of special science correspondent for the Washingon Bureau, and earning a Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2002.
She also founded a film company, AZIZA Productions, which worked with non-profits and created films to draw attention to disabled and/or Black scientists.
“We know power is work over time, that strength is endurance over time. So I endured a lot of obstacles, but at the same time I created strength and vision and wisdom and endurance,” she once said.