Columbia University Press Signs Lisa M.P. Munoz for a Book Inspired by the Documentary Film Picture a Scientist on Creating a New Culture of Equity for Women Scientists

Miranda Martin, Editor in Physical and Life Sciences for Columbia University Press, recently signed seasoned science writer Lisa M.P. Munoz to a contract for worldwide rights for her first book, tentatively titled A New Picture of a Scientist: Creating a New Culture for Science That Overcomes Obstacles in Equity. The signing includes a collaboration with the Picture a Scientist film team to expand on materials from their award-winning independent film, which chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Some of the scientists featured in the book are biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring, along with many others across the physical and social sciences. Through personal stories and data, the book will illuminate the scale and scope of harassment and discrimination faced by women in science while interweaving research-based solutions to make the culture of science  more diverse, inclusive, and equitable for everyone. The book is tentatively scheduled for release in the fall of 2022.

Martin says of the book, “This is a really exciting project for the Columbia University Press science list. The book will build from the film and move beyond it, continuing to push the conversation forward.”

“The film Picture a Scientist beautifully captures the complexity of the obstacles facing women in science,” Munoz says. “With this book, I want to continue to bring more people to the problem to solve it, by sharing new and groundbreaking work in the behavioral sciences that is leading the way for a more equitable future for all scientists.”

Directed by Sharon Shattuck and Ian Cheney, the film Picture a Scientist received a 2021 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award, was an official selection of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, and had its U.S. broadcast premiere on PBS Nova in April 2021. It is currently available for viewing on Netflix. The Boston Globe called the film “Quietly devastating.” For more information, visit Picture A Scientist.

About the Author and the Picture a Scientist Team

Lisa M.P. Munoz has translated complex scientific topics into digestible stories for broad audiences throughout her twenty-year career. Munoz began her career as a radio producer, then worked as a magazine reporter and editor for Geotimes magazine; served as a press officer for the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland; and founded a science communications consulting firm. As founder and president of SciComm Services, Inc., Munoz works with academic groups, nonprofits, and startups across the sciences on strategic communication and content development. She was the publicist and outreach producer for Picture a Scientist. Munoz has an engineering degree from Cornell University with a specialization in science writing and is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the Authors Guild.

Picture a Scientist was directed by Sharon Shattuck (From This Day Forward) and Ian Cheney (The City Dark, The Most Unknown), produced by Manette Pottle (Behold the Earth), and executive produced by Amy Brand (MIT Press). Since its virtual theatrical release in the summer of 2020, some 2,000 institutions worldwide have screened the film. Major funding for the film was provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; additional funding was provided by Nancy Blachman, the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program with support from Sandbox Films, The New York State Council on the Arts, Chicken & Egg Pictures, the Educational Foundation of America, Erica Brand and Adam Brand, the Benevity Community Impact Fund, Mar Hershenson, Kate Korsh, and Jennifer Kane.

The film was also produced with support from the Science Communication Lab’s Wonder Collaborative, which is using films to tell compelling stories about science and scientists while forging new models for production, evaluation, and outreach in filmmaking. For more information, visit the Science Communication Lab.

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