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Donald Lyons, Sr.

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Information about Donald Lyons, Sr.

Profile image of Donald Lyons, Sr.

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Physicist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
4/2/1954
Birth Location:
Stamps, Arkansas

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Physicist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
4/2/1954
Birth Location:
Stamps
See how Donald Lyons, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Physicist and physics professor Donald R. Lyons was born in 1954 in Stamps, Arkansas. His father, Patrick Donald Lyons, Jr., was a bricklayer; his mother, a housewife. After attending J.L. Jones Elementary School and J.A. Phillips Jr., High School, Lyons graduated from, Webster High School in 1972. While in high school, Lyons enrolled in the Upward Bound program. With his parents unable to pay for college, the Upward Bound program provided Lyons with the opportunity to earn college credit prior to graduation, gain experience working in a university laboratory, and earn a full academic scholarship to attend Grambling State University. Lyons graduated from Grambling State University in 1976 with his B.S. degrees in physics and mathematics. He then enrolled in Stanford University where he studied under Nobel Laureates Arthur L. Schawlow and Theodor Hansch and received his M.S. degree in physics in 1978 and his Ph.D. degree in physics in 1982.

From 1975 to 1976, Lyons served as a research fellow at Bell Telephone Laboratories in the Solar Physics Group, and as a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory in the Solid State Physics Department. He then joined Corning, Inc. in 1982 and was appointed as a senior scientist in the Applied Physics Department. Lyons moved to California in 1985 and was hired as a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Applied Technology Section until 1990. Lyons continued his career in industry as scientist for Grumman Aerospace Corporation where he directed the Sensor Sciences and Materials Structures Groups at the Grumman Corporate Research Center. In 1993, Lyons joined the faculty of Hampton University and was named the University Endowed Professor of Physics. At Hampton University, Lyons also served as the director of the Research Center for Optical Physics.

Lyons has successfully applied for and received several U.S. Patents and fifteen research grants and contracts related to the use of distributed Bragg reflection sensors for commercial applications. In addition, he has created projects for the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. Lyons was recognized by the Upward Bound program for directing successful programs that center on mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. The American Physical Society and the Virginia Business Observer have both featured Lyons and recognized his contributions to science and technology.

Donald R. Lyons was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 20, 2013.

See how Donald Lyons, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald Lyons' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons describes his mother's family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons talks about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about his father's growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about his father's club
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald Lyons talks about his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald Lyons describes when he decided to become a physicist
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald Lyons talks about his father's talents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons talks about his father's building projects
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons talks about living with his neighbor growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons talks about the church he attended as a youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about his elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about the disturbances in his schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald Lyons describes segregation in Minden, Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald Lyons talks about being in the band in middle and high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons describes his experience with Upward Bound in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons describes his approach to learning while at Grambling State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons talks about his discipline in learning at Grambling State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons describes his time at the Bell Summer Internship Program
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons talks about the African American physicists he met at the Bell Summer Internship Program
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about his work at the Bell Summer Internship Program
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons talks about his time at Grambling State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons describes his summer working at Argonne National Laboratory
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons describes why he chose Stanford University for graduate school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons describes becoming a Xerox Fellow at Stanford University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describe how a laser is formed
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about his graduate research on intermodulation and polarization modulation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about his first talk before the American Physical Society
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons describes why he chose to concentrate on optical physics
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons discusses his doctoral dissertation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons describes being hired by Corning
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons describes how he designed and built his laboratory at Corning
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describes learning the patent development process at Corning
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons describes writing the patent on the Braggs grating wavemeter
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about his research on nerve fibers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons talks about the transition from Corning to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons talks about being demoted at Livermore National Laboratory for his research
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons describes the transition from Livermore National Laboratory to Grumman Aerospace Corporation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons talks about his patent at Grumman Aerospace Corporation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describes the transition from Grumman Aerospace Corporation to Hampton University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about the physics department at Hampton University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons talks about historically black colleges and universities
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons talks about his grants and projects at Hampton University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons talks about professors at Hampton University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons explains why he chose to become a professor at Hampton University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describes his work on fiber optic artificial nerves
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons describes how artificial fiber optic nerves interact with human nerves
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about his inability to procure funding for his research on artificial fiber optic nerves
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons talks about his mentoring of students at Hampton University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons talks about teaching and research at Hampton University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons reflects on his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons reflects on his life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about his family
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about the mother figures in his life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Donald Lyons talks about how he would like to be remembered.
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons describes his photographs