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James Mitchell

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Information about James Mitchell

Profile image of James Mitchell

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Chemist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gold, Purple, Red, White
Favorite Food:
Turkey, Greens (Collard), Fish, Barbecue
Favorite Time of Year:
Holiday Season
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Alaskan Cruises
Favorite Quote:
When times get tough, the tough get going.

Birthplace

Born:
11/16/1943
Birth Location:
Durham, North Carolina

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Chemist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gold, Purple, Red, White
Favorite Food:
Turkey, Greens (Collard), Fish, Barbecue
Favorite Time of Year:
Holiday Season
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Alaskan Cruises
Favorite Quote:
When times get tough, the tough get going.

Birthplace

Born:
11/16/1943
Birth Location:
Durham
See how James Mitchell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Research chemist James W. Mitchell was born on November 16, 1943 in Durham, North Carolina as the eldest and only son of tobacco factory workers. Mitchell’s interest in chemistry stemmed from the disciplines logical principles and their reliability. Mitchell received his B.S. degree in chemistry from North Carolina A & T State University in 1965, and his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Iowa State University in 1970. His doctoral thesis focused on analytical chemistry, a branch of chemistry concerned with analyzing the characteristics and composition of matter.

Mitchell first joined AT & T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey after receiving his doctorate. He chaired the Lab’s Affirmative Action Committee and was one of the founders of the Association of Black Laboratory Employees. In 1982, Mitchell was promoted to supervisor of the Inorganic Analytical Chemistry Research Group. Mitchell became head of the Analytical Chemistry Research Department in 1975. Under his leadership the department was transformed into an internationally renowned research organization. In 1985, Mitchell was named an AT & T Bell Laboratories Fellow, and, in 1989 he was extended membership into the National Academy of Engineering. He has written nearly 100 publications with as many citations attached to his work. He earned the 1999 Lifetime Achievement in Industry Award by the National Society of Black Engineers.

In 2002, Mitchell began his tenure at Howard University. He served as the David and Lucille Packard Professor of Materials Science, Director of the CREST Nanoscale Analytical Sciences Research and Education Center, Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dean of the College of Engineering. Mitchell has also lectured internationally. In addition, he co-authored a book, Contamination Control in Trace Analysis, published more than seventy-five scientific papers, and invented instruments and processes. He also served as a member of the editorial advisory boards of Analytical Chemistry and Mikrochimica Acta. Mitchell and his wife Jean live in Washington, D.C. They have three children.

James W. Mitchell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 11, 2012.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Mitchell's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Mitchell lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Mitchell describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Mitchell describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Mitchell describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Mitchell describes his childhood neighborhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Mitchell talks about his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Mitchell talks about his parents' separation and reconciliation
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Mitchell describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Mitchell describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Mitchell talks about his elementary schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about his elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Mitchell talks about his natural ability of taking things apart and reassembling them
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about what influenced him while growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Mitchell talks about his involvement in church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about his interest in music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Mitchell talks about growing up in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Mitchell talks about his childhood jobs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Mitchell talks about the importance of education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about the book rent policy in North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Mitchell talks about his father's return after a long absence
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about his relationship with his mother
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Mitchell talks about his experience at the summer science program at North Carolina Central University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about his high school experience
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Mitchell talks about his decision to attend North Carolina A&T University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Mitchell talks about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement (part one)
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Mitchell talks about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement (part two)
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about the segregation at North Carolina A&T State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Mitchell talks about his mentors at North Carolina A&T State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about his college experience
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Mitchell talks about his summer employment during college
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about his decision to attend Iowa State University for his Ph.D. degree
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Mitchell talks about his friend, Dr. Reginald Mitchner
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Mitchell talks about his experience at Iowa State University and his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Mitchell talks about his experience at Iowa State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Mitchell describes his dissertation on the separation of rare earth elements
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about the practical applications of his research on the separation of rare earth elements
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Mitchell talks about his employment prospects after graduating from Iowa State University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about the assassinations of prominent figures during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Mitchell talks about the work environment at Bell Laboratories
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about his work at Bell Laboratories
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Mitchell talks about his patents
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Mitchell talks about his professional activities and awards
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about AT&T Bell Laboratories' merger with Lucent Technologies
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Mitchell talks about his mentorship activities at Bell Laboratories
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about his colleagues at Bell Laboratories/Lucent Technologies
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Mitchell talks about his career at Howard University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about his goals for the college of engineering at Howard University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Mitchell describes the challenges he faces as dean of the college of engineering
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Mitchell talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Mitchell reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James Mitchell reflects on his life choices
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James Mitchell talks about his family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about his parents' reaction to his success
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Mitchell shares his advice for young people
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about how he would like to be remembered