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Ronald Mickens

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Information about Ronald Mickens

Profile image of Ronald  Mickens

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Physics Professor
Physicist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
It Wasn't Me.

Birthplace

Born:
2/7/1943
Birth Location:
Petersburg, Virginia

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Physics Professor
Physicist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
It Wasn't Me.

Birthplace

Born:
2/7/1943
Birth Location:
Petersburg
See how Ronald Mickens is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Physics professor and research physicist Ronald Mickens was born in Petersburg, Virginia on February 7, 1943 to Daisy Brown Mickens and Joseph Mickens. Mickens spent much of his youth with his maternal grandparents, and his grandfather, James Williamson, was responsible for introducing him to science. By the time Mickens was eight years old, he knew he wanted to become a scientist. Mickens attended Peabody High School in Petersburg where he took algebra, plane and solid geometry, chemistry, biology, and physics. Because he took courses during the summer, Mickens graduated early at the age of seventeen.

After high school, Mickens entered Fisk University with a full scholarship where he studied chemistry, mathematics and physics. He graduated in 1964 with his B.A. degree in physics and one of the highest academic averages in the history of the school. Mickens immediately enrolled in a graduate program at Vanderbilt University where, in 1968, he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics. By that time he had been elected to the honor societies of Sigma Chi and Phi Beta Kappa. Additionally, Mickens won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, a Dansworth Fellowship, and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, which allowed him to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Beginning in 1968, Mickens spent two years conducting research in elementary particle physics at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics. In 1970, Mickens returned to Fisk University where he accepted a teaching position in the physics department. During that time, he spent brief stints conducting research at other institutions including Vanderbilt University and the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics in Boulder, Colorado. In 1982, Mickens became a professor at Clark Atlanta University and was named a Callaway professor of physics in 1985. In 1987, he published a book on chaos theory entitled, Difference Equations .

Mickens has conducted research in the areas of complex functions, theoretical elementary particle physics, mathematical epidemiology and modeling of non-linear oscillations. He has authored five advanced mathematics textbooks in addition to his contributions to over 120 scientific research papers. In 1990, Mickens produced an edited volume entitled, Mathematics and Science . Mickens' research in the area of African Americans in science allowed him to write, The African American Presence in Physics and Edward Bouchet: The First African American Doctorate as well as biographies of several African American women scientists. Mickens and his wife Maria, had two children, Lea Mickens and James Williamson Mickens.

Ronald Mickens was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 11, 2006.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ronald Mickens' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens shares his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about his father's side of the family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens talks about his mother's side of the family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens shares stories from his maternal grandparents about Br'er Rabbit, Night Riders and folk medicine
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ronald Mickens talks about his church experience
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ronald Mickens talks about his mother and his childhood community
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ronald Mickens talks about his father and his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ronald Mickens talks about growing up in Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens remembers childhood games and holiday activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about radio shows and integrating the library
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens talks about his teachers and elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens talks about his interest in science in junior high and high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ronald Mickens talks about his decision to attend Fisk University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ronald Mickens talks about being a paperboy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens talks about Petersburg, Virginia's racial diversity
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about his participation in the soap box derby
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens talks about Fisk University and its then president Stephen Wright
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens discusses the study of science and mathematics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ronald Mickens talks about his classes at Fisk University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ronald Mickens talks about President Kennedy's death and avoiding the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens talks about SNCC and Stokely Carmichael at Fisk University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about his Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens recalls his grandfather's death
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens explains his mathematics research in complex functions
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ronald Mickens explains theoretical elementary particle physics
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ronald Mickens talks about particle accelerators
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens talks about mathematical epidemiology and the ethics of vaccination
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about his work on non-linear oscillations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens talks about his work on the history of African Americans in science
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens talks about his NSF post doc at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ronald Mickens explains his decision to return to Fisk University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ronald Mickens talks about his research, teaching and textbook writing at Atlanta University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ronald Mickens describes his published books
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ronald Mickens talks about his project honoring African American physicists
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ronald Mickens talks about his wife and children
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ronald Mickens reflects on his career and his message to future generations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ronald Mickens describes his photographs