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William Jackson

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Information about William Jackson

Profile image of William Jackson

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Astrophysicist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Warm
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/24/1936
Birth Location:
Birmingham, Alabama

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Astrophysicist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Warm
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/24/1936
Birth Location:
Birmingham
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Biography

Chemist and academic administrator William M. Jackson was born on September 24, 1936 in Birmingham, Alabama. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from Morehouse College in 1956 and Catholic University of America, CUA in 1961, respectively. His expertise is in photochemistry, lasers chemistry, and astrochemistry.

Jackson has been a research scientist in industry at Martin Co (now Lockheed-Martin) and the government at the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). He has been an academician at the University of Pittsburgh (1969-1970), Howard University (1974-1985), and the University of California, Davis (UCD). He joined the faculty at UCD as a chemistry professor in 1985. He then became a distinguished professor in 1998, and chair of the chemistry department from 2000 to 2005. He was awarded millions of dollars in research and education grants and has taught and mentored under representative minority students at Howard University and UCD. Under his direction, the minority student population of the UCD chemistry graduate students increased. He continues to do research, as well as, recruiting and mentoring minority students in chemistry, even though he is officially retired.

In the field of astrochemistry, Jackson observed comets with both ground-based and satellite telescopes and used laboratory and theoretical studies to explain how the radicals observed in comets are formed. He led the team that made the first satellite (IUE) telescope cometary observation. His laboratory developed tunable dye lasers to detect and determine the properties of free radicals formed during the photodissociation of stable molecules. He continued to use lasers in the laboratory to map out the excited states of small molecules important in comets, planetary atmospheres, and the interstellar medium decompose into reactive atoms and radicals and are important in the chemistry of these astronomical bodies. Jackson published over 176 scientific papers, has a United States patent, and has edited two books.

Jackson is the recipient of many awards from universities and scientific organizations. They include the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) Percy Julian Award (1986), a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1989), the CUA alumni award for scientific achievements (1991), the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Award (1996), the Morehouse College Bennie Trail Blazer award (2011) and election as a Fellow in the American Physical Society (1995), in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2004) in, and American Chemical Society (2010). He is one of the six founders of NOBCChE; and in 1996, the Planetary Society named asteroid 1081 EE37 as (4322) Billjackson in his honor for contributions to planetary science.

William M. Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2012.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Jackson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Jackson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes his mother's family baclground
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes his father's educational background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Jackson describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Jackson talks about his parents' personalities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes the sights, smells, and sounds of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes the racial climate of Birmingham, Alabama in his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Jackson talks about his home on Dynamite Hill
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes the difference between "black" and "colored"
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Jackson describes his experience with polio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his involvement in sports
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his recovery from polio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes his experience at Immaculate Catholic School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Jackson talks about his decision to attend Morehouse College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his experience at Morehouse College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes his social life at Morehouse College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Jackson talks about Dr. Benjamin Mays
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Jackson talks about Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Jackson talks about those that influenced him
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Jackson talks about his decision to attend the Catholic University of America
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his influences at the Catholic University of America
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Jackson talks about meeting is wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Jackson describes his research
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Jackson talks about completing his Ph.D. degree
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his work at the Martin-Marietta Company and the National Bureau of Standards
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes his work at the Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes the faculty at Howard University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his work at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes his inspiration for building his laser
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his work at Howard University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his decision to work at the University of California, Davis
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes his work at the University of California and abroad
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Jackson talks about efforts to produce more minority Ph.D.s in science (part 1)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Jackson talks about efforts to produce more minority Ph.D.'s in science (part 2)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Jackson talks about his work as Chair of the Chemistry Department at University of California, Davis
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his early interest in chemistry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his early interest in chemistry, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William Jackson talks about his decision to become a physical chemist
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes how he came to attend Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William Jackson talks about his research assistant position at Catholic University of America
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William Jackson remembers his classmates at Catholic University of America
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William Jackson talks about his Ph.D. work at the National Bureau of Standards, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William Jackson talks about his Ph.D. work at the National Bureau of Standards, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William Jackson talks about the instruments he used in his Ph.D. work
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes the history of instruments and processes in chemistry
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes his work at Martin Marietta Corporation
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes his reasons for leaving Martin Marietta Corporation, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his reasons for leaving Martin Marietta Corporation, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William Jackson recalls his reasons for returning to the National Bureau of Standards
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - William Jackson describes his research at the National Bureau of Standards
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - William Jackson remembers his coworkers at the National Bureau of Standards
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his experiences with racial discrimination at Martin Marietta Corporation
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - William Jackson talks about the role of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - William Jackson talks about his family
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - William Jackson recalls his reasons for leaving the Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his role at the Goddard Space Flight Center, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes his role at the Goddard Space Flight Center, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - William Jackson talks about his research on photodissociation at the Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - William Jackson talks about his research of free radicals using tunable light sources
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - William Jackson talks about the applications of his work in free radicals
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - William Jackson remembers the formation of NOBCChE
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - William Jackson talks about the creation of NOBCChE, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - William Jackson talks about the creation of NOBCChE, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes the NOBCChE's Minority Resource Centers for Science and Engineering, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes the NOBCChE's Minority Resource Centers for Science and Engineering, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - William Jackson talks about the early years of the Minority Resource Centers for Science and Engineering
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - William Jackson talks about women in the sciences
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - William Jackson remembers the faculty and staff of the Howard University Department of Chemistry
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - William Jackson talks about the funding of the Howard University Department of Chemistry
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - William Jackson remembers his professorship at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his sabbatical at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Erlangen, Germany
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - William Jackson recalls his reasons for coming to the University of California, Davis, pt. 1
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - William Jackson recalls his reasons for coming to the University of California, Davis, pt. 2
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - William Jackson talks about his rank of professorship at the University of California, Davis
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes his positions at the University of California, Davis
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - William Jackson talks about the lack of African American professors at the University of California, Davis
  • Tape: 11 Story: 8 - William Jackson describes his role as chair of the chemistry department at the University of California, Davis
  • Tape: 11 Story: 9 - William Jackson talks about his research at the University of California, Davis
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his research in surface chemistry
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - William Jackson talks about the implications of his research on climate change
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - William Jackson talks about the effect of politics on the STEM industries
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - William Jackson reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - William Jackson remembers the Ph.D. students he taught
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes the role of a Ph.D. mentor and advisor
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - William Jackson reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 12 Story: 8 - William Jackson shares his advice for aspiring chemists