Stephon Alexander selected for the 2024 Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Achievements in Science, Philosophy and Leadership

The Caribbean Philosophical Association’s 2024 Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Achievements in Science, Philosophy and Leadership Goes to Stephon Alexander

On behalf of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, Lewis R. Gordon, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Global Affairs, Head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Connecticut and Chairperson of the Awards Committee for the Caribbean Philosophical Association announced that Professor Stephon Alexander is the 2024 recipient of the Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Achievements in Science, Philosophy, and Leadership.

Selection of recommended recipients is made annually by the Caribbean Philosophical Association’s Awards Committee, which consists of all prior recipients of the Frantz Fanon, the Nicolás Guillén, and the Stuart Hall Awards, two appointed senior scholars, and two appointed junior scholars. For more information, please consult: 

Frantz Fanon Awards

The Caribbean Philosophical Association is acknowledging each recipient for the importance of their work for the association’s ongoing project of “Shifting the Geography of Reason.” In the words of 2014’s Guillén Lifetime Achievement Laureate Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

[We] celebrate the new recipients of the awardssisi kwa sisi (we for us/for one another/from us to us), we used to say in Kiswahili.

Unusually, this year’s Frantz Fanon achievement awards include two psychologists and a theoretical physicist. Their contributions speak to Fanon’s legacy as a philosopher, scientist, clinician, and activist for building a world of dignity and freedom. 
Stephon Alexander is a theoretical and computational physicist, and an author whose work is at the interface between cosmology, particle physics, AI, quantum gravity and music technology. His expertise is in constructing new theories of the early universe and elementary particle physics that has predictions for the universe at present, such as dark energy and dark matter. He also combines mathematics and tools from theoretical physics into machine learning, the geometry and cognition of musical perception, signal processing and computational algorithms.

Alexander is a Professor of Physics at Brown University and a past President of the National Society of Black Physicists. Alexander was also the Executive Director of the Harlem Gallery of Science. He had previous appointments at Stanford University, Imperial College, Penn State, Dartmouth College, and Haverford College. Alexander is a specialist in the field of string theory and cosmology, where the physics of superstrings are applied to address longstanding questions in cosmology. In 2001, he co-invented the model of cosmic inflation based on string theory.
In his critically acclaimed book, The Jazz of Physics (Basic Books, 2017), Alexander revisits the ancient interconnection between music and the evolution of astrophysics and the laws of motion. He explores new ways music, in particular jazz music, mirrors modern physics, such as quantum mechanics, general relativity, and the physics of the early universe. He also discusses ways that innovations in physics have been and can be inspired from “improvisational logic” exemplified in Jazz performance and practice. His most recent book is Fear of a Black Universe: An Outsider’s Guide to the Future of Physics (Basic Books, 2021).
The great Antiguan Brown University Professor Emeritus Paget Henry, the first winner of the Frantz Fanon Award for his classic Caliban’s Reason (2000) and a member of the Awards Committee states:
The Philosophy of Science in the Caribbean is still very much an underdeveloped area.  But I see the future of it very much in the hands of Stephon Alexander. I would say more than any other individual, he is at least the future face of Afro-Caribbean Philosophy of Science.
Dr. Jacqueline Martinez, President of the Caribbean Philosophical Association, adds:
Stephon Alexander’s work shows us how deeply relevant our human artistic endeavors, especially jazz, are to the very energies through which life and matter emerge and evolve at the sub-atomic level.  His work reminds us that a concern with the interrelatedness of all life in the universe always marks our highest scientific achievements.
The Chair of the Awards Committee will formally confer the awards at a special ceremony at the Caribbean Philosophical Association’s annual meeting, which will take place this June 27–30th, 2024 in Quintana Roo, Mexico