The first Black British scientist to be named a US Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences is Bolton’s autistic psychologist Lee Chambers.
The first Black British scientist to receive a Kavli Fellowship is Lee Chambers, a Black autistic psychologist and founder of a wellness company.
The Fellowship is given to 40 young scientists who are expected to become global scientific leaders and are high achievers in their fields. It is awarded by the prestigious American Institute for Science and the National Academy of Sciences.
Chambers was awarded one of this year’s fellowships, a program that has been running for 33 years. Since the program began in 1989, more than a thousand fellows have been recognized, and 18 scientists have gone on to win Nobel Prizes. He is the only British-born scientist to be chosen this year and the first Black Briton to ever win the US prize.
National Academy of Sciences
As a non-profit organization, the National Academy of Sciences, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., and California, was established in 1863 to promote best practices, independence, and fairness in science. Former US President Abraham Lincoln was one of the founding members; They remain one of the most influential voices in science worldwide to this day.
Chambers was welcome to California to accept his honor in acknowledgment of his work in his field on the impact of the pandemic on mental health, and he introduced his discoveries to the next awardees in participation. This year’s cohort includes researchers from well-known universities such as Columbia University, Yale, Harvard, and Stanford. They specialize in nuclear fusion, space telescopes, cancer treatments, and artificial intelligence, among other topics.
Chambers said that he is so proud to be able to represent the UK on the world stage for the work he has done, given his humble beginning and the difficulties he has faced. Being the first Black scientist to receive this honor is an honor but also a disappointment, and he wants to make sure he is not the last. Being featured alongside other leading minds is an important step in his journey.
He explained that because he is autistic, he is delighted to demonstrate what can be accomplished because so many people focus on what we are unable to do. He believes that the Black and autistic scientists of the future will undoubtedly accomplish far more than he has. He wants to be a role model for them.
Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing
Chambers is not only leading his field in science, but he is also making an impact in business. His company, Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing, was recognized for their ground-breaking VR training in this year’s Startups 100 Index and Elite Business 100. He was also inducted into the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton at the end of 2022 to commemorate their 40th anniversary.
However, despite the achievement, Chambers provides a perspective that sums up his vision by stating that everything is relative once you have to learn to walk again. He just puts in a lot of effort to lead by example and leave a legacy of which he is proud.