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Space, Hope, and Charity: The Remarkable Journey of Astrophysicist Charity Woodrum

Space Hope and Charity film banner.

Space, Hope, and Charity is a new documentary film based on the life of Charity Woodrum, a Ph.D. candidate in astrophysics and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at Steward Observatory, University of Arizona. The Heising-Simons Foundation supported the filming and post-production of the documentary film with a grant from the Science program.

Charity was a nontraditional university student, raised in poverty, the first in her family to graduate from high school. She was in her mid-20s, married and nine months pregnant, when she decided to return to school to study physics. Then, her world was abruptly upended by a family tragedy.

With help from friends, she found her way back to science: she is currently part of NASA’s JWST Near-IR Camera (NIRCam) science team, using the universe as a time machine to tell the story of how galaxies evolve over cosmic time.

You can listen to a recent podcast on Physics World Stories about how Charity found purpose in academic research. The film will premiere at the Phoenix Film Festival, with screenings and Q&A sessions over three days, March 31—April 2, 2023. You may find the Festival’s program here and watch the documentary’s trailer here.