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Daniel Akins

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Information about Daniel Akins

Profile image of Daniel Akins

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Chemist
Chemistry Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Miami, Florida
Favorite Quote:
Never give up.

Birthplace

Born:
7/8/1941
Birth Location:
Miami, Florida

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Chemist
Chemistry Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Miami, Florida
Favorite Quote:
Never give up.

Birthplace

Born:
7/8/1941
Birth Location:
Miami
See how Daniel Akins is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Physical chemist and chemistry professor Daniel Akins was born on July 8, 1941, in Miami, Florida, and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1960. Akins earned his B.S. degree in chemistry from Howard University in 1963 where he was inducted into Sigma Xi honor society. He received his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1968 under the mentorship of Professor C. Bradley Moore.

After finishing his graduate education, Akins worked at Florida State University as both a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Molecular Biophysics and visiting assistant chemistry professor. In 1970, he became an assistant professor in the chemistry department at the University of South Florida and was promoted to associate professor in 1975. Between 1977 and 1979, Akins served as a visiting program director of the physical chemistry subsection of the dynamics program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). After a brief period as a senior scientist with the Polaroid Corporation, he began his career at The City College of New York as a professor of chemistry in 1981. In 1988, Akins founded and served as director of what would become in 2000 the CUNY Center for Analysis of Structures and Interfaces (CASI), which has the goal of training minority scientists in high-level scientific research. Eleven years after establishment of CASI, he was awarded an NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant. In 2008, Akins became the principal investigator for a $5 million NSF grant to establish a center for nanostructure applications known as CENSES (Center for Exploitation of Nanostructures in Sensors and Energy Systems). Throughout his career, he has published more than 130 research papers in leading scientific journals. His principal research focuses on the development of new nanomaterials for use in molecular photonic devices (MPDs), chemical sensors and fuel cells.

Akins is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Chemical Society, the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, and NOBCChE (National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers). Throughout his career, Akins has shown a continued commitment to increasing diversity in the sciences and has mentored many doctoral students. For his work, Daniel has been recognized many times, including being named a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer and receiving the CCNY Faculty Service Award. In 2000, Akins received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) from President Bill Clinton. Daniel Akins lives in Teaneck, New Jersey with his wife Sondra Akins. They have two children, Dana, a mechanical engineer, and Meredith, an actress and dancer.

Daniel Akins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 14, 2012.

See how Daniel Akins is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Daniel Akins slates the interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Daniel Akins shares his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Daniel Akins talks about his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Daniel Akins talks about his grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Daniel Akins talks about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Daniel Akins talks about his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Daniel Akins talks about the church founded by his grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Daniel Akins talks about his grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Daniel Akins talks about how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Daniel Akins talks about his father's military experience
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Daniel Akins talks about his grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Daniel Akins describes the similarities between him and his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Daniel Akins describes his neighborhood growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Daniel Akins talks about his brother and the church he grew up in
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Daniel Akins talks about the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Daniel Akins talks about growing up in Miami, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Daniel Akins talks about his hobbies
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Daniel Akins talks about what he learned about being an artist
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Daniel Akins talks about grade school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Daniel Akins discusses the connection between art and mathematics
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Daniel Akins describes his personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Daniel Akins talks about race relations in Miami, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Daniel Akins talks about high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Daniel Akins talks about his extracurricular activities in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Daniel Akins talks about his heroes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Daniel Akins describes his first interest in science
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Daniel Akins talks about why he chose to attend Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Daniel Akins talks about his high school science projects
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Daniel Akins talks about his transition to Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Daniel Akins talks about his studies at Howard University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Daniel Akins talks about changing his major
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Daniel Akins talks about how he met his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Daniel Akins talks about early computers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Daniel Akins talks about black astronauts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Daniel Akins talks about his mentors
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Daniel Akins describes his professors at the University of California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Daniel Akins talks about graduate school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Daniel Akins talks about his post-doctoral studies
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Daniel Akins describes the Free Speech Movement and race relations
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Daniel Akins describes his experience at the University of South Florida
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Daniel Akins talks about his experience working for the Polaroid Corporation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Daniel Akins talks about working at CUNY
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Daniel Akins talks about his research at CUNY
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Daniel Akins talks about the challenges minorities face in academia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Daniel Akins talks about one of his publications
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Daniel Akins talks about the number of minorities that pursuing doctorate degrees
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Daniel Akins talks about the program IGERT and its mentorship philosophy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Daniel Akins talks about the practical uses of infinitesimal sensors
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Daniel Akins describes an average work day
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Daniel Akins talks about his work in research and science
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Daniel Akins talks about what he would do differently
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Daniel Akins talks about his goals for CUNY
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Daniel Akins talks about his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Daniel Akins talks about his concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Daniel Akins talks about his love for tennis
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Daniel Akins talks about his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Daniel Akins talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Daniel Akins describes his family photos