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William Massey

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Information about William Massey

Profile image of William Massey

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Mathematician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steamed Crab Legs
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
Think outside the hypercube.

Birthplace

Born:
9/4/1956
Birth Location:
Jefferson City, Missouri

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Mathematician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steamed Crab Legs
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
Think outside the hypercube.

Birthplace

Born:
9/4/1956
Birth Location:
Jefferson City
See how William Massey is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Mathematician William A. Massey was born in 1956 in Jefferson City, Missouri; the younger of two sons of Richard A. Massey, Sr. and Juliette Massey. Massey attended the public schools of St. Louis, Missouri and high school in University City, a suburb of St. Louis. Upon graduating from University City High School, Massey received a Harvard Book Award and a National Achievement Scholarship. He enrolled at Princeton University in 1973 and encountered his first real introduction to research mathematics in an honor calculus course taught by the late Ralph Fox. Massey wrote his undergraduate senior thesis, “Galois Connections on Local Fields,” under the direction of Bernard Dwork, and graduated from Princeton in 1977 with his A.B. degree in mathematics with honors – magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi. Massey was then awarded a Bell Labs Cooperative Research Fellowship for minorities to attend graduate school in the department of mathematics at Stanford University. Massey wrote his doctoral theses, “Non-Stationary Ques,” under the supervision of Joseph Keller, and graduated from Stanford University in 1981 with his Ph.D. degree in mathematics.

In 1981, Massey became a member of the technical staff in the Mathematical Sciences Research Center at Bell Laboratories, a division of Lucent Technologies. His research there included queuing theory, applied probability, stochastic processes, and the performance modeling of telecommunication systems. Massey published over fifty papers in those areas, one of which credits him as the co-author of a U.S. Patent on server staffing. In the area of mentoring, Massey has organized every annual Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences, which he co-founded in 1995. He founded the Council for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (1996) and is a lifetime member of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM). In 2001, Massey was named the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Operations, Research, and Financial Engineering at Princeton University, making him the first tenured African American mathematician at an Ivy League University.

Massey received the Distinguished Service Award from NAM in 1996 and was invited to give its William W. S. Clayton Lecture. He has given invited lectures at the American Mathematical Society national conference, the Congreso Nacional de la Sociedad Matematica Mexicana, and the Edward Bouchet Conference for African and African American Physicists and Mathematicians that were held in Ghana, Canada, and Germany. The Blackwell-Tapia Prize Committee awarded Massey its 2006 prize and U.S. Black Engineer and Technology magazine honored Massey as the Black Engineer of the Year in 2008.

William A. Massey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2013.

See how William Massey is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Massey's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Massey lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Massey describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Massey describes his mother's education and her career as a teacher
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Massey describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Massey talks about his parents' employment in Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Massey talks about his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Massey describes his childhood's neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Massey describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Massey describes the sights, smells and sounds of growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Massey describes his childhood interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Massey discusses the portrayal of black scientists on television
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Massey describes his childhood toys
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Massey describes his experience in grade school and his early interest in mathematics and drawing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Massey talks about his childhood friends
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Massey talks about the political atmosphere in the 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Massey talks about his experience in a mixed-race schooling system
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Massey talks about attending church as a child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Massey describes his involvement with church and in sports while growing up
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Massey talks about his training in mathematics in school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Massey discusses his summer jobs, and his high school activities and achievements
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Massey describes his decision to attend Princeton University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Massey describes his experience at Princeton University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Massey discusses his concerns about education and violence in the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Massey talks about the misrepresentation of statistics in the media
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Massey describes his mathematics coursework at Princeton University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Massey describes his senior thesis on Galois connections on local fields
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Massey describes his experience at Bell Labs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Massey talks about African American scientists at Bell Labs in the 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Massey describes the queueing theory and his dissertation research on non-stationary queues
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Massey talks about his Ph.D. thesis advisor, Joseph Keller
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Massey describes his experience as a doctoral student at Stanford University and his summer experience at Bell Labs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Massey talks about his contemporary generation of African American mathematicians
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Massey describes his decision to work at Bell Labs and explains the queueing theory
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Massey talks about his research at Bell Labs in the 1980s and 1990s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Massey describes the concept of Jackson networks
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Massey talks about other African American mathematicians at Bell Labs and in academia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Massey describes his most significant research contributions at Bell Labs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Massey describes how his research has advanced the theory of dynamic rate queues
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Massey describes his involvement in establishing the Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Massey describes his involvement in mentoring students
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Massey describes his research in congestion pricing, and his transition from Bell Labs to Princeton University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Massey describes his decision to accept a professorship at Princeton University in 2001
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William Massey describes his current research in decision-making, at Princeton University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William Massey talks about his involvement with the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) and the African American legacy at Bell Labs
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William Massey talks about his professional awards
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William Massey talks about his mentorship of African American students
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William Massey reflects upon his career's legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William Massey reflects upon his career's choices
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William Massey describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William Massey describes the role of African American organizations in discussing social issues
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William Massey talks about how he would like to be remembered