A Bangor native and prominent space archaeologist got a bit of good news in an uncertain time.

Sarah Parcak, who is the founding director of the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, learned this week that she’s been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. Image from TED talk video

Sarah Parcak, the founding director of the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, learned this week that she’s been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.

“Uh, I have news,” Parcak wrote on her Twitter page Wednesday evening. “I was just named a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, for my next book project (which was proposed *last September* so my crystal ball is LIT) Surviving Collapse: The Global History of Human Resilience.

“It’s been a day y’all. Feeling overwhelmed, grateful, and humbled.”

Parcak, who is active on social media, had shared with her nearly 46,000 followers earlier in the day some of the challenges she’s been having with her son, a first-grader, since the coronavirus outbreak closed his school.

“We just wrote a hard email,” she wrote early Wednesday. “I told our son’s (lovely, kind, caring) teacher that, no, we will not be participating in her ‘virtual classroom,’ and that he was done with the 1st grade. We cannot cope with this insanity. Survival and protecting his well being come first.”

Many followers sympathized with her plight, although she had to clarify that she was in no way maligning teachers.

” … pay them a million dollars a year they are incredible I cannot do what they do,” she wrote.

A few hours later, she learned about the fellowship.

Parcak, 41, was among 175 recipients across 53 fields of study who were selected “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise,” according to an announcement by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Each fellow is awarded a grant, but the amount varies and Parcak’s total was not announced. The foundation was established 95 years ago and has awarded grants totaling more than $375 million.

Parcak did not respond Friday to an interview request through her publicist.

The new book, her third, will add to an already full plate. In addition to her work at University of Alabama, she founded a nonprofit online platform called GlobalXplorer that allows for crowdsource analyzing of satellite photos. Her specialty is using infrared technology and satellite imagery to identify undiscovered archaeological sites in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, and to track changes at existing sites.

Her research has been cited extensively and her TED talks have millions of views. In 2015, she won a $1 million prize from the TED Foundation, whose past winners include U2 front-man Bono and former president Bill Clinton. She’s even been a guest on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

She has an undergraduate degree in Egyptology and archaeological studies from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

Parcak has worked on excavations all over the world since 1999 and has spent a lot of time in Egypt, along with her husband, Greg Mumford, who is an Egyptologist.

Her new book, with its subtitle “The Global History of Human Resilience,” is likely to be at least partially written during a time when resilience is on a lot of minds.

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