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Physicist Ketevi A. Assamagan was born in Port-Gentil, Gabon in West Aftrica on March 12, 1963. After graduating from high school, Assamagan attended the University of Benin in Togo, West Africa and earned his B.S. degree in physics and chemistry in 1985. Assamagan was then awarded an U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grant award to persue higher education in the United States. He went on to graduate from Ball State University in 1989 with his M.S. degree in theoretical condensed matter physics and his Ph.D. degree in nuclear and particle physics from the University of Virginia in 1995.
After earning his Ph.D. degree, Assamagan became a postdoctoral research associate in the Jefferson Lab at Hampton University. There, he worked on a project called the spectrometer wire chamber, which helped gather information about light. Assamagan developed a system for the rotation and angular position of the spectrometer, which contributed to its data collection of certain properties of light. Assamagan remained at Hampton until 1998, when he took a position as a research associate at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. From 1998 to 2001, Assamagan worked with CERN’s particle accelerator to find the Higgs Boson, a large elementary particle whose existence has not yet been proven. It is thought to play a role in how other elementary particles get their masses. In 2001, Assamagan was hired by the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory where he works on a physics project called the ATLAS Project. In addition to his research in particle physics, Assamagan has also supervised and mentored both graduate and undergraduate students. Additionally, he helped to organize the African School of Fundamental Physics, an educational workshop funded in part by Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Assamagan is a member of the American Physics Society, the National Society of Black Physicist, and the African Physical Society. He is a recipient of the Brookhaven National Laboratory Outstanding Student Mentoring Award.
Assamagan lives and works in New York.
Physicist Ketevi A. Assamagan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 12, 2013.