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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

Talks at Google brings the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers all to one place. Every episode is taken from a video that can be seen at

Aug 22, 2023

Astrophysicist Sarafina El-Badry Nance visits Google to discuss her book “Starstruck: A Memoir of Astrophysics and Finding Light in the Dark.” The book is an inspirational and science-packed memoir that details how she carved out a place in the field of astrophysics, grounding herself in her passion and a lifelong love of the stars.

As a child, Sarafina spent nearly every evening with her father gazing up at the flickering stars and pondering what secrets the night sky held. The daughter of an American father and Egyptian mother who both pushed her toward academic excellence, Sarafina dreamed of becoming an astronomer and untangling the mysteries of the stars overhead. But it wasn’t long before she was told, both explicitly and implicitly, that girls just weren’t cut out for math and science.

In “Starstruck”, Sarafina invites us to consider the cosmos through fascinating science lessons to open each chapter. But she also traces more earthbound obstacles, such as misogyny and racism, abuse and intergenerational trauma, anxiety and self-doubt, and cancer diagnoses and recovery. As her career and passion for space brought her from UT Austin to UC Berkeley, and even to a Mars astronaut simulation in Hawai’i, Sarafina learned how to survive—and ultimately thrive—in a space that was seldom welcoming to women.

 Visit to watch the video.