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Sekazi Mtingwa

Research physicist and physics professor Sekazi K. Mtingwa was born on October 20, 1949 in Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving his B.S. degrees in physics and pure mathematics (Phi Beta Kappa) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1971, Mtingwa enrolled at Princeton University and graduated from there with his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in theoretical high energy physics in 1976. Mtingwa was awarded doctoral fellowships from the National Fellowships Fund and the Ford Foundation. Upon graduation, he was awarded post-doctoral fellowships and research assistantships at the University of Rochester, the University of Maryland at College Park, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab).

In 1981, Mtingwa joined Fermilab as a research physicist where he, along with James Bjorken, developed a theory of particle beam dynamics, “intrabeam scattering,” which standardized the performance limitations on a wide class of modern accelerators. Mtingwa also played an important role in the design and construction of two of the Antiproton Source accelerator systems at Fermilab that were used in the discovery of the top quark and other particles. During 1988-1991, Mtingwa joined the staff of Argonne National Laboratory where he performed research on a futuristic accelerator concept called wakefield acceleration. In 1991, Mtingwa joined the faculty at North Carolina A & T State University as Chair and Professor of physics. Mtingwa was named J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Physics at Morgan State University in 1997 and then returned to North Carolina A & T State University in 1999. He served as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor of Physics at MIT from 2001 to 2003. He joined the faculty at Harvard University in 2003, where he served as Visiting Professor of Physics for two years. Returning to MIT in 2006, Mtingwa was named Lead Physics Lecturer in the Concourse Program in the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education. He was also appointed as the Faculty Director of Academic Programs in the Office of Minority Education. In 2011, he became Principal Partner of Triangle Science, Education & Economic Development, LLC and he was appointed Senior Physics Consultant at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

In addition to his research activities, Mtingwa is involved in a number of national and international initiatives. He is a founder of the African Laser Centre (ALC) and was the principal author of the Strategy and Business Plan upon which the ALC is based. In 1977, Mtingwa was a co-founder of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) and served as NSBP President from 1992 to 1994.

Mtingwa has been recognized by national and international organizations for his contributions to science. In 1996, he received the Outstanding Service Award for Contributions to the African American Physics Community from the National Society of Black Physicists. The National Council of Ghanaian Associations honored Mtingwa with the Science Education Award in 2007 for advancing science education among African peoples. Mtingwa was inducted into the African American Biographies Hall of Fame in 1994, and he was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2008.

Sekazi Mtingwa is married to W. Estella Johnson; they have two daughters.

Research physicist and physics professor Sekazi K. Mtingwa was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 6, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.076

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/6/2013

Last Name

Mtingwa

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Kauze

Occupation
Schools

Princeton University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Henry McNeal Turner High School

Alonzo F. Herndon Elementary

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sekazi

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

MTI01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town, South Africa

Favorite Quote

Stay yourself.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

10/20/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hillsborough

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sea Bass (Mediterranean)

Short Description

Nuclear physicist Sekazi Mtingwa (1949 - ) contributed to the design and construction of the accelerator systems used in the discovery of the top quark at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Mtingwa is a founder of the National Society of Black Physicists and the National Society of Hispanic Physicists, and he has made significant contributions to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Harvard University

North Carolina A&T State University

Morgan State University

Argonne National Laboratory

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

University of Rochester

University of Maryland, College Park

Favorite Color

Salmon

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sekazi Mtingwa's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his schools

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes when he first decided to become a physicist

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his high school mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about transitioning from high school to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about the formation of the black student union at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about the black student union at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about why he chose physics as his field

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his mentors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about Alexander Pushkin pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about Alexander Pushkin pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his time at Princeton University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about changing his name

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes assisting in the establishment of a university in Tanzania

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes what he did after receiving his doctoral degree from Princeton University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his work at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa explains the Higgs boson, dark matter, and dark energy

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his involvement in the Harold Washington Campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes why he joined the group at Argonne National Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about being featured in several magazines

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his involvement in various African organizations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his physics research as an exchange scholar in the Soviet Union

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about racial prejudice in the field of physics

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about the International Linear Collider

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his time as the Chair of the Physics Department at North Carolina A & T University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his involvement in the African Laser Centre

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes how the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has changed since he was a student

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about visiting Russia for a nuclear waste disposal examination

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa reflects on his awards and recognitions

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his study 'Readiness of the U.S. Nuclear Workforce for Twenty-first Century Problems'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his involvement in President Barack Obama's campaigns

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about being the chair of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Study

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his visit to Tanzania

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his involvement with organization that provide access to scientific instruments

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his involvement in the African Physical Society

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his work on textbooks

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa reflects on his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa reflects on his life

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Sekazi Mtingwa talks about the black student union at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sekazi Mtingwa describes his study 'Readiness of the U.S. Nuclear Workforce for Twenty-first Century Problems'
Transcript
Tell us about the beginnings of the black student union at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts]?$$Okay. So we had a group, maybe about ten students, who would get together informally to meet. And you have to understand that the context of that period, with the Vietnam War, protests going on all over the place, you know, the Black Liberation Movement was in full swing. So, some of us, you know, were a part of that type of way of thinking, and we wanted to try to move MIT ahead. So we formed around 1968, probably the fall of '68 [1968]. The first co-chairs were Shirley Jackson, and I think The HistoryMakers did an interview of her. She's now president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute [Troy, New York]. And James Turner, who was a graduate student--in fact, at that time, they were both graduate students. Shirley was three years ahead of me. So my sophomore year, she was a first-year graduate student. James Turner, I think he must have been about a third or fourth-year graduate student in physics; they were both in physics. And James Turner actually most--he went on to become a top official at the Department of Energy, and most recently, I think, he's been at the Department of Commerce. But he had quite a career at the top levels of federal government. But, yeah, we basically met and we decided, "Hey let's just do this." And so we formed. And we tried to--one of the biggest initiatives was to get more black students into MIT. So we worked hard on that. And so, at the end of my sophomore year going into the junior year, that entering class went from the typical five-ish to fifty-three. And so the numbers have been big ever since. And, in fact, to this day MIT, again, admits only out of a thousand, eleven hundred students; about 20 percent of those are African Americans; and another 20 percent or so are Latino-Americans. So that we've (simultaneous)--$$(Unclear)--$$--come a long ways. Yeah. But it's interesting. One of the interesting things that helped the African American presence is the students who are immigrants or who are children of African Caribbean immigrants, because that's one thing that you note from the names when you meet many of the students. So that has really helped us intellectually. The black community in this country intellectually has been tremendously enhanced by immigrant students. They come here with a parent wanting a better life for their children, and so they come with that, you know, "Go to college, get your degree," and all that. And you can see the pay off. I don't think we could hit 20 percent of the students, African American students, if we didn't have the immigrants.$$They have a good observation.$$Yeah. It's a great thing. I tend to be a Pan-African, is to me, whether you're from the Caribbean, the continental of the U.S., we're all African peoples.$$Is this something you learned at home or something that you--$$No. I got so much at home, but just as I developed as a graduate student--really as a graduate student, I really became, you know, convinced that, you know, we're all the same. And then having traveled to Africa, you know, so many times. I think that the way people colonize, it's just--it's very similar to--the stories you hear are very similar to the stories of people like me out of Jim Crow South.$$Okay. Just in a different location.$$Just in a different location.$$Similar situations.$$Similar situations, yeah. Yeah.$$And--now. All right. So, the BSU [black student union] really made some gains (unclear).$$Oh, yeah. Definitely. Definitely.$$And I know it still exists actually.$$It still exists. It still exists.$$Shot a picture of it when I was there (simultaneous) (unclear)--$$Oh, you did? All right. That was great.$$--I was walking down the hallway and I saw it. And I said, "Oh, this is the famous BSU at MIT." And I thought--I shot it on my phone (simultaneous) (unclear)--$$Oh, really. Okay.$$--as to--yeah.$$(unclear), you know, it's still alive and well.$$Yeah. Yeah. So many of the people we met were a part--$$It was a part of that, yes.$Now, you were on the Nuc-- the 'Readiness of the U.S. Nuclear Workforce.'$$Okay, yeah. So that was a study I did because I'm--we have a real problem with training, you know, the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers. And at one point, the Department of Energy, DOE, was cutting back funding the university programs, so I was concerned. You know, if you start cutting back, who is going to operate? Who's going to design the next generation of nuclear reactors if the people are not being educated? So we did this study, and we pointed out to them, you know, how many people are graduating, how much money is going into the university programs. And this report turned out to be extremely important in convincing DOE to turn its attitude around toward university education. And so since this report, their 20 percent of the nuclear fuel--Research and Development Budget--nuclear fuel cycle, Research and Development Budget is going to universities. So, I mean, that's like a big flip from not wanting to give in until now, 20 percent of your funding is going to universities. And that's important. Most of the money goes to the National Laboratories to work on the big problems of nuclear waste storage and so forth. But you need to have university professors and students working on new ideas. You know, turn them loose and let them dream and pursue blue-sky research, because you don't know what major revolution they may start up; what major breakthrough. And so that was the point of that whole story, to try to get more money going to universities to promote students and new ideas.

Leland Melvin

Aerospace engineer Leland D. Melvin was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on February 15, 1964 to Deems and Grace Melvin. Upon graduating from Heritage High School in 1982, Melvin was awarded a football scholarship to attend the University of Richmond. He earned his B.A. degree in chemistry from the University of Richmond in 1986, and his M.S. degree in materials science engineering from the University of Virginia in 1991.

From 1982 to 1985, Melvin was a wide receiver on the University of Richmond football team, where he became the all-time reception leader and was an Associated Press All-America selection in 1984 and 1985. The Detroit Lions selected Melvin in the eleventh round of the 1986 National Football League player draft. Several months later, he suffered a hamstring injury and was unable to fully recover. Melvin’s NASA career began in 1989 in the Fiber Optic Sensors group of the Nondestructive Evaluation Sciences Branch at NASA Langley Research Center, where he conducted research in the area of physical measurements for the development of advanced instrumentation for nondestructive evaluation. In 1994, Melvin was selected to lead the vehicle health monitoring team for the cooperative Lockheed/NASA X-33 Reusable Launch Vehicle program.

In 1998, Melvin was selected into the NASA Astronaut Corps. He flew into space twice on the
STS-122 in 2008 and STS-129 in 2009. Both missions were aboard the orbiter Atlantis. Melvin has logged more than 565 hours in space. Additionally, Melvin has served the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch and the Robotics Branch of the Astronaut Office. In 2010, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden selected Melvin as the associate administrator for education. In this position, Melvin travels throughout the U.S. engaging thousands of students and teachers in the excitement of space exploration and inspiring them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Melvin was also selected to serve on the White House National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education and is the U.S. representative on the International Space Education Board.

Melvin is a member of the American Chemical Society and the Society for Experimental Mechanics. He also holds honorary doctorates from Centre College, St Paul's College and Campbellsville University.

Leland D. Melvin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 15, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.018

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/15/2013

Last Name

Melvin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

Heritage High School

University of Richmond

University of Virginia

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Leland

Birth City, State, Country

Lynchburg

HM ID

MEL03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Favorite Quote

Believe in yourself. Don't limit yourself. The sky is the limit.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

2/15/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Astronaut Leland Melvin (1964 - ) , former astronaut serving twice as mission specialist on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis, is NASA Associate Administrator of Education.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4758,37:5437,46:10869,109:12906,158:20340,218:21060,229:21380,282:22420,300:22820,306:24660,335:25620,350:28340,391:28740,399:29380,408:31460,444:32100,453:39297,524:39881,533:41487,545:41925,552:44220,567:44572,572:45892,596:48708,665:49764,677:50204,683:50732,691:51172,697:62404,846:62692,851:63700,867:64204,876:64924,887:68308,961:68956,971:74066,998:75026,1016:75474,1025:79450,1078:79999,1088:80731,1106:81097,1111:84840,1154:89480,1235:91960,1279:92840,1299:93160,1304:93560,1310:93880,1315:94680,1324:98106,1343:98598,1350:99090,1362:99992,1374:102452,1435:103518,1450:104174,1459:104748,1468:105322,1476:106880,1505:111130,1547:113510,1587:114000,1595:115680,1624:117500,1663:124080,1740:126704,1789:127088,1801:127600,1811:129840,1860:130096,1865:130352,1870:131056,1886:131312,1891:132400,1911:133424,1928:133936,1938:134512,1948:140376,2012:140934,2019:143362,2046:143894,2060:146326,2125:150734,2192:151342,2201:152026,2212:159390,2277:162480,2308:166143,2356:171093,2422:172083,2434:173370,2449:179340,2505:182724,2583:186694,2612:190828,2678:199524,2846:199889,2852:202517,2904:202809,2909:208220,2952$0,0:7153,42:7421,47:8493,65:11034,85:12594,102:12984,108:14232,126:15714,153:16728,172:22973,239:24214,259:24579,265:27426,323:28156,335:28813,345:29397,354:30711,381:32317,415:33047,426:33777,437:34580,450:34945,456:39819,474:44882,552:47824,582:50780,644:51176,651:51836,663:52364,672:53750,701:54278,711:54674,719:55598,738:56126,747:56720,763:58106,792:58370,798:58634,803:58898,808:61472,868:62264,891:62594,897:68682,957:71742,1038:73480,1044:73795,1050:74047,1055:74677,1067:74992,1074:75307,1081:77365,1107:77885,1116:78600,1135:78860,1140:81005,1200:81330,1206:81785,1222:82305,1231:84125,1268:85100,1287:85555,1297:86075,1306:87245,1336:95922,1456:98901,1518:99923,1534:100434,1543:101164,1556:102989,1594:103719,1605:106639,1640:107296,1650:108464,1672:109486,1689:116496,1747:116912,1752:120760,1804:123705,1856:124119,1864:124533,1871:124947,1879:127569,1931:131157,1995:131571,2005:131847,2010:132261,2021:132675,2028:133296,2040:133848,2051:134124,2056:140388,2101:140718,2107:141444,2116:141774,2122:142236,2130:143490,2157:144282,2172:145008,2196:145800,2216:146064,2230:147120,2248:147516,2255:147912,2262:150222,2322:150486,2328:153522,2394:153852,2400:158292,2415:158788,2420:160480,2427:161628,2443:162366,2460:164006,2488:167242,2518:167686,2525:168278,2534:169980,2570:178582,2667:179542,2682:180054,2692:180502,2704:184751,2745:186959,2780:187649,2792:188270,2812:188615,2818:190202,2863:191099,2879:191375,2884:191651,2889:199724,2983:200056,2988:200388,2993:200969,3002:201467,3012:202712,3034:205036,3077:208548,3110:209352,3123:210290,3135:211027,3148:212568,3185:212836,3194:224821,3318:225370,3328:226102,3343:226468,3350:226773,3356:228298,3386:228847,3399:229335,3410:229701,3419:230006,3425:230494,3434:231348,3449:232141,3466:232751,3480:233422,3492:234886,3521:236228,3543:236960,3553:237448,3564:241758,3586:243433,3621:243969,3631:244572,3643:244907,3649:246448,3680:246850,3687:247654,3704:247989,3710:248659,3723:249932,3747:250736,3760:251339,3771:252076,3784:252746,3797:253014,3802:257040,3818:257260,3824:257480,3829:258305,3847:258800,3860:259130,3868:259735,3873:259955,3878:260285,3885:264139,3929:264776,3937:267506,3970:272544,4042:278941,4089:285454,4153:285830,4158:288650,4202:289308,4207:301716,4323:302220,4328:306820,4350:307228,4357:307908,4368:310418,4397:311111,4409:311650,4417:312035,4423:313036,4443:313652,4453:316270,4466:317230,4481:318350,4505:318830,4512:320910,4550:321470,4558:322110,4567:327752,4615:328137,4621:328907,4632:329600,4643:332680,4699:333065,4705:334836,4748:335606,4761:335914,4766:336530,4779:337377,4792:345360,4867:346080,4878:346710,4886:350657,4932:351260,4943:351930,4955:353203,4983:353605,4990:353873,4995:354744,5014:355414,5030:355950,5040:358295,5106:360238,5163:360774,5172:361444,5184:365720,5206:366360,5216:366680,5221:371560,5304:372040,5312:372360,5317:373720,5343:374280,5354:377474,5366:377992,5377:381770,5422:382086,5427:384377,5453:385325,5463:388327,5506:388880,5512:389828,5528:392160,5555:395460,5568:395720,5573:396630,5590:398385,5631:398775,5638:399815,5665:400530,5684:401050,5693:401375,5699:403065,5728:404300,5756:413214,5854:413486,5859:418592,5896:418997,5902:419564,5911:420536,5923:421103,5931:421832,5941:422156,5946:427046,5957:427574,5974:427904,5980:428366,5989:429686,6012:433672,6064:434736,6091:435268,6098:435800,6106:436484,6123:437092,6134:441199,6185:441443,6190:441870,6198:442114,6203:443029,6241:444310,6262:444981,6275:445957,6294:446201,6299:453515,6365:453855,6370:454875,6384:457434,6407:460320,6468:460632,6473:461334,6486:461880,6494:464064,6524:470904,6609:471224,6615:474811,6661:475143,6669:484930,6766:485336,6775:485626,6781:487540,6811:488352,6823:490556,6873:494630,6908
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leland Melvin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin describes his mother's educational background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin talks about his aunt

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leland Melvin talks about his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leland Melvin talks about his father's service in World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leland Melvin describes his father's educational background and involvement in sports

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leland Melvin talks about his father's teaching experience

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leland Melvin describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin describes his family growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin talks about the origin of his name

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin describes his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leland Melvin describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leland Melvin describes himself as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leland Melvin talks about his early interest in science, space, and photography

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Leland Melvin describes his family camping trips

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Leland Melvin describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leland Melvin describes a lesson learned on the football field

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin talks about studying math in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin describes his decision to study chemistry at the University of Richmond

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin describes his college research

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin talks about being drafted by the Detroit Lions

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin talks about training with the Detroit Lions

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leland Melvin talks about the Dallas Cowboys and the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leland Melvin talks about his musical background

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin talks about football and head trauma

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin talks about his transition to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin describes his graduate research

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin describes his work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin talks about becoming an astronaut

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leland Melvin describes his experience in Russia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leland Melvin talks about the International Space Station

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leland Melvin talks about his hearing and his work with the Educator Astronaut Program

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin describes his astronaut training

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin describes his space flights - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin describes his space flights - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin talks about the effects of space travel on the body

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin talks about other crew members during his space flights

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leland Melvin talks about what he has learned from his space flights

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leland Melvin describes his work in the Office of Education

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leland Melvin discusses his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leland Melvin reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leland Melvin talks about his aspirations to have a family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leland Melvin talks about his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Leland Melvin describes his work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Leland Melvin describes his space flights - part one
Transcript
Okay. NASA, now, I have a note here that you worked on the Fiber Optics Sensors Group of the Nondestructive Evaluation Science Branch, right?$$Uh-huh.$$Now, what is Nondestructive Evaluation?$$So, the branch that are working at NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] Langley looked at using different types of energy to assess damaged states in aerospace vehicles. So if you have an airplane that has lab joints that are bonded together with adhesive and also have rivets going along the top of them, we had problems with rivets coming apart, and the only thing holding that wing together would be the adhesive below it. So we would actually take, using Xray, using lasers, using different types of ultrasonics, using different types of energy and nondestructively or in a non-contacting way, we would put the energy in and then make measurements of what the subsurface damage was underneath that wing, or in the case of the space shuttle, how much is a tile damaged. Is the tile about to dis-bond from the surface of the shuttle, you know, so you could use a technique that you wouldn't have destroy it none destructive to see how the damage state was subsurface. And so whatever type of energy you could use to do that none contacting or none intrusively we could use, and then that would save time and money in having to repair things that necessarily didn't need to be prepared. So I would take and use optical techniques for this but also use optical fibers that you could take a fiber and use it to interrogate a damaged state of a structure so the fiber could measure strain if you bond it to the surface of something. As the fiber is pulled, the laser light that goes through it actually changes wave length at these seams called (unclear)or sensors, and that wave length change is proportional to the change in strain. So if you have this vehicle wrapped with sensors and you see different strain states at different locations then you can detect that there's maybe a damaged area around this none uniformed strain state, and we also use them for measuring hydrogen, that we have vehicles that have hydrogen tanks, so you could sniff, use a sensor to sniff for hydrogen instead of having to--and actually be able to locate where that leak is, as well as temperature also. So, multiple measurements, we call it, and out of a very lightweight installable bondable sensors. So, my job was to develop the laboratory; we built an optical fiber drawn for making our own optical fiber. And as we drew the fiber, we had a laser, an excellent laser that was actually etching the sensors into the glass before a coating cup that allowed it to coat it to make the fiber more durable. And so these were high--pretty high-tech sensors that we were making. And the day that we made our first sensor was the day that I got a phone call to come into the astronaut corp, so that was a very fortuitous day for me in a number of areas.$Okay. Now, describe the mission in 2008, what were you to do in space and the steps approaching?$$My first mission, I was in charge of all the robotics activities and the transfer activities. So, I was the lead robotic operator for the, both the arm on the space shuttle and the arm on the space station. Our job was to install the Europeans Columbus laboratory, it's a ESA(sp) laboratory for different material science in biological sciences and other things. I was to grab the--basically grab--use the arm and grab the Columbus module out of the payload bay and attach to the station, and all of our German flight controllers, all of our German friends and European friends had been waiting ten years for this to happen. And so, I remember coming out of a meeting, and one of our, you know, they were celebrating me, you know, are you going to help install our module to get us up on space station. I remember one German flight controller, as I was about to walk out of the room, he said, "Leland, you know, congratulations, high five, we've been waiting ten years, don't' screw it up." And so, no pressure when you're seeing this vehicle getting, you know, this model getting docked to the space station, you're thinking about messing something up, screwing something, but you know, the training kicked in, and it was aligned perfectly, and you know, I can go back to that German flight controller today and say, "I didn't screw it up; you still have your job, things are going well." But, a great sense of accomplishment; that was early in the mission. The rest of the mission was supporting some space walks, attaching--doing different things on the module, itself. And so, that was primarily my role for 2008. And then in 2009--$$What would have happened had you screwed that up and the modules didn't connect the first time? I mean, was there a second chance, like in the in-zone, you know, to catch--$$Well, it depends on how bad you screw up. I mean, if your bringing--you have this seal around the module that if you damage the seal when you're trying to birth this module, you would make the whole vehicle inoperable, because if you were to damage that, and you do a leak check on it, and if it's leaking, leaking air, then that's pretty much an appendage that's sitting there, it's trash, it's no good, because it can't hold a seal and would compromise the rest of the space station. So a very slight misalignment or scraping of that seal could have rendered it useless. And a multi-billion dollar element, peoples' livelihood, their jobs, at these control centers monitoring the Columbus module, I wouldn't have been a--$$--Popular--$$--A popular guy in Europe or even in the U.S. if I had done that. But again, the training is very good, and had the confidence, even though it's my first time flying the robotic arm, and I had other people that had done that behind me, saying you're doing great, you know, pull this in here; it was fantastic.$$So, the very idea that you have that assignment, you know, speaks to the confidence of a whole lot of people in you, right?$$Right. I demonstrated that in the training and then working in the robotics branch, also. I think they saw the skill set that I brought to the table. It was evident that I could do the job. But you never know, on a simulator getting to the actual space environment and nerves and so forth, and I think, you know, me being selected into the corp, because I didn't have a lot of operational skills, I never did a lot of flying of air planes, where you have to be exact or your die, or diving or doing mountain climbing, those are some of the skill sets that we looked at for new people coming in, but I think they saw the operational bent of the professional athlete or training and working as a team member was, you know, some confidence to say that you can work in this high stress environment and do a job without, you know, getting rattled or kind of freaked about doing it.$$Okay. So, just for the record, in 2008, you were a missions specialist on board the STS-122 Atlantis, that February of 7th through the 20th, 2008?$$Right.$$Okay. So, you went back after 2009--$$Uh-huh.$$--It was on the same shuttle?$$Same orbiter. I guess I only fly Atlantis, right? I was assigned in I think it was July of 2008 for the next mission, and it was a pretty incredible mission. We had the--my job here was to install spare parts; so again, in charge of robotics and transfer. But also, I was going to be flying around on the end of the arm, another African American astronaut, Dr. Bobby Satcher, who was to do the first orthopedic surgeon to operate on the robotic arm in space. And so it was the first time that two African American men were in space at the same time. And I remember Tom Joyner interviewing us in space; he was calling us the afronauts. And his show has a million person listernership, and there were kids all around the country and people listening, you know, seeing this first, two African American men in space and even to this day, you know, moms seek me out to tell me, "I heard that interview, my son wants to be an astronaut and he's studying physics and science now". So the impact of that mission had on our young African American male men as to seeing some of those like them in that environment, floating and working in space, that they could also do it one day too.$$That's great. Now, this launch was in 2009? What month was this?$$This was in November of 2009. So I spent Thanksgiving in space, eating a rehydrated turkey. And very thankful for the people that were there; thankful for the people that were on the ground in Mission (unclear), spending their thanksgivings monitoring our mission and thankful to our families, you know, who helped us do all that.$$Now, was there anything--did anything go wrong on this mission?$$Yeah, we had--on ascent to space station, there was a medical situation that happened. Actually, on the first mission, there was a--something that happened medically, and I was the crew medical officer, because we didn't have a trained physician on the flight. I volunteered to be the crew medical officer. So, I went through some training, emergency room training and some other different training and actually had to do some things on that mission to help some of our crew mates, but it was very empowering to know that we had to do this, because it was during the docking phase; we had to get this done, or the mission would not be successful; we'd have to come home. And so that was something I felt really comfortable, really good about helping save that mission like that.$$Can you tell us exactly what happened?$$No, I can't tell.$$Okay. I thought so, or else you would have told us. When you think back on these missions--well, there was a second crisis, you said in 2009, a medical--$$No, there wasn't. That was 2008. Okay.

Hattie Carwell

Physicist Hattie Carwell was born on July 17, 1948 in Brooklyn, New York. Carwell grew up in a nurturing black community in Ashland, Virginia, which encouraged her interest in science. After graduating from high school in 1966, she enrolled at Bennett College for Women. Carwell earned her B.S. degree in chemistry from Bennett College in 1971. She went on to earn her M.S. degree in health physics from Rutgers University in 1971.

Throughout her career, Carwell has worked nationally and internationally for the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Atomic Energy Agency as a health physicist and nuclear safeguards group leader. From 1980 to 1985, she went on leave to Vienna, Austria where she served as a nuclear safeguards inspector and group leader at the International Atomic Energy Agency. In 1990, she became a program manager for high energy and nuclear programs with the DOE San Francisco Operations Office. She then became a senior facility operations engineer at the Berkeley Site Office in 1992. In 1994, Carwell was promoted to operations lead at the Berkeley Site Office, a position which she held until 2006. She became a senior physical scientist before retiring in 2008.

Carwell has written numerous research articles and two books including, Blacks in Science: Astrophysicist to Zoologist. Carwell is a Board Member of the Northern California Council of Black Professional Engineers, an organization of which she is a past President. She is treasurer for the National Council of Black Engineers and Scientists, co-founder and chair of the Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology, and Director of the Museum of African American Technology (MAAT) Science Village. MAAT Science Village archives information on the achievements of Africa American in science and engineering.

Carwell is the recipient of numerous performance awards from the Department of Energy, and is recognized as a community leader. She is a distinguished alumna of Bennett College and included in the Black College Hall of Fame. Her achievements are annotated in biographical

Accession Number

A2012.239

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/5/2012

Last Name

Carwell

Maker Category
Middle Name

Virginia

Schools

Bennett College for Women

Rutgers University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Hattie

Birth City, State, Country

Brooklyn

HM ID

CAR25

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

I Am Not Fattening Frogs For Snakes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/17/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Oakland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Apple)

Short Description

Environmental scientist Hattie Carwell (1948 - ) was a health physicist for the United States Atomic Energy Commission and the International Atomic Agency.

Employment

United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)

Energy Research Administration

United States Department of Energy

International Atomic Energy Agency

Department of Energy Headquarters

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:22660,236:23940,261:24660,271:25220,279:33412,334:42252,439:44478,444:45008,482:56340,562:57390,579:57880,586:61870,689:63550,773:68806,790:70210,804:78074,853:78954,866:80802,897:81594,909:82650,924:83178,932:89199,974:89752,982:90384,991:91174,1006:91964,1017:93781,1054:94808,1070:95440,1079:95993,1091:96783,1104:100575,1223:101207,1234:101681,1248:101997,1253:103182,1273:107284,1280:107744,1289:108296,1296:118309,1412:118664,1418:120936,1470:121362,1477:121930,1494:125890,1538:129685,1572:134943,1644:135387,1649:137607,1678:138051,1683:145780,1720:151080,1776:151704,1786:152484,1801:164886,2076:173648,2152:174400,2159:175058,2167:175998,2178:177314,2199:183541,2253:187465,2308:195816,2394:196361,2400:198541,2431:200612,2449:205460,2487:206500,2503:209902,2517:210613,2528:212035,2558:212351,2563:212746,2569:213536,2582:223048,2679:227092,2737:228893,2753:230108,2785:230837,2796:231404,2805:234725,2876:240004,2957:240501,2965:242063,2989:242844,3000:243625,3014:248780,3070:249224,3080:249742,3089:252184,3133:252628,3140:252998,3146:253442,3154:255588,3201:266656,3354:267046,3360:273690,3449:280030,3490$0,0:5583,129:6164,136:6828,145:8073,166:20360,277:20740,282:21690,295:23590,328:30145,421:31095,434:31760,442:40954,491:41994,503:46154,572:49932,619:50760,626:56418,689:60436,702:61012,710:62092,731:62380,736:69442,805:70330,813:80334,946:80978,953:92952,1097:97786,1128:107098,1263:107735,1271:109282,1296:110101,1306:114413,1349:116553,1386:116981,1397:117623,1405:118372,1414:128430,1603:134079,1623:134534,1629:134989,1635:141950,1725:143700,1741:144200,1746:149527,1790:151180,1810:154760,1850
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hattie Carwell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell talks about her maternal great grandmother, Edmonia Tunstall

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about her family's educational background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about her mother's life in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hattie Carwell describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes her father's background and military service

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell talks about her parents and siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell talks about her uncle Patrick Tunstall and her adoptive grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell describes the sights, smells, and sounds of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hattie Carwell describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Hattie Carwell talks about Shiloh Baptist Church

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes her mischievous nature as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell describes her aunt and uncle as parents

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell describes her experience at John Manuel Gandy High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about civil rights and the Richmond Improvement Association

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about her interest in news and current events

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Hattie Carwell talks about her high school interests and opportunities

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Hattie Carwell discusses her high school experiences with science

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes her selection of Bennett College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell describes her experience at Bennett College

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell describes her interest in California

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell discusses her work in the field of radiation science

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about the Atomic Energy Commission and exposure to radiation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about human radiation experiments

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes the effects of exposure to radiation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell describe measures people take to shield themselves from radiation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell talks about her internship at Brookhaven National Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell describes her thesis

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell describes working at Thomas Jefferson University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about her return to Brookhaven National Laboratory

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes her work with the Atomic Energy Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell talks about her transfer to California

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell talks about her experience at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell describes her work in Vienna, Austria

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about her travels while working for the International Atomic Energy Agency

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell talks about her work as a group leader for the International Atomic Energy Agency

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell talks about her second year at the International Atomic Energy Agency

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell describes her return to the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell describes her work in Rocky Flats, Colorado (part 1)

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell describes her work in Rocky Flats, Colorado (part 2)

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about her work with the High Energy and Nuclear Programs

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell talks about her appointment at Lawrence-Berkeley

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell reflects on her time at the Department of Energy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell talks about her book, 'Blacks in Science'

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell talks about Dr. Warren Henry (part 1)

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about Dr. Warren Henry (part 2)

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about Ernest Just

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Hattie Carwell talks about Glenn Seaborg

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Hattie Carwell discusses the Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Hattie Carwell talks about the Museum for African American Technology Science Village

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes exhibits in the Museum for African American Technology Science Village

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell talks about her publication exploring green technology

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell shares her hopes and concerns for the African American communiry

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell talks about her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about her personal life

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell tells how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Hattie Carwell describes her photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$9

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Hattie Carwell talks about her travels while working for the International Atomic Energy Agency
Hattie Carwell describes exhibits in the Museum for African American Technology Science Village
Transcript
Now, did you ever go to Russia or--$$Went, I went to Russia as a tourist. And the Russians we interacted with, Russians disappeared on the job that I had because the majority of us believed the Russians were spies. And they were just doing our job to see the different nuclear facilities. And they thought the Japanese were out to steal industrial secrets. And me, you know, I was harmless. It was only one of me, you know, I was the only black woman and for a while, the only woman. And so, you know, what harm could I do? I was a novelty. And so I was representing the United States. I had a Laissez-passer from the UN [United Nations]. Don't touch her. Don't mess with her. Even if she's in trouble, don't mess with her. And it was, you know, if you messed with me, it's an international incident. So I got lost, you know, trying to go places and I never worried about being lost until I was supposed to be where I wasn't, you know, getting directions in a foreign language that you don't completely understand. It's bad enough getting directions in a language that you do understand. People, you know, so concerned that you might get lost, they're going in the opposite direction, and they turn around, follow me, taking you to make sure you get to the point, going to little towns in Italy. The Italians will talk to you, I don't care what language you speak. And once again, I'm going to these tiny little towns, 'cause, you know, and small-town people will get in your business. And they would wonder why is she coming here once a month, staying three days and then going back? What is she doing? And this Thai--guy from Thailand and I used to go to this town an hour from Amsterdam, Almelo, next door to Hengelo. Hengelo, they have beer. And we stayed in this bread and breakfast place. And so (laughter) Mr. Gemung (ph.) Hung (ph.) said, I'll bet you they wanna know why the two of them come here (laughter), why the hell they come here to this little town (laughter), 'cause you know, they didn't know what we were doing. We would go to the university or out to a power plant. I went to, we--it was a new enrichment plant, uranium enrichment plant, experimental, that we would go to. And, you know, I, since I was a novelty, you know, there's dead time. You're counting samples and machine, and you're just sitting there waiting. So there's a lot of just small talk. And, you know, this was interesting. The plant was in the Netherlands, and the Germans ran the plant. And I forget his name, but the director of the plan would come, and at lunchtime, he'd, you know, just hang out a little bit. And he had a habit, when you asked him a question he would say, "in princeive" (ph.), you know, in principle. And when he would say that, I would always get this big smile on my face. And he didn't know why I would always smile. So he said, what's, what's, you know, what's the problem? I said, well, you know, I'm smiling because most times when people say something "in principle", whatever they're saying is not really true, that it's close to being true, but it's not really true or you really don't know if it's true. And for the nature of our work, if he's telling us, well, it's kinda like this, but it's not, and so I would just smile. And he, it was such an ingrained habit, he couldn't break it. So every time he'd ready to say something, he'd find himself, saying "in princeive". And then he would look at me and laugh.$$Okay--$$So--$Okay, so, well, tell us, what are the exhibits in the museum, and--$$Well, first of all, I have to tell you right now, we do not have a physical location. We are in search of purchasing a building. And I wish the market had changed when we had money, but the money we had at that time was not sufficient to purchase. But now that the market is down, we're desperately in pursuit. So most all of our activities are at events or in someone else's venue. Right now, we participate in U.S. Science and Engineering Festival in D.C. [Washington, D.C.]. There were 150,000 people that came to that. And you were saying people that, not shop, but it's nice to know, kind of thing. I got a photo of the African American who got the very first patent of, you know, not a drawing, but a photo of him and was able to include that in the, in the exhibit. And since we're just more like a picture show, you gotta keep people's interests. So we do it like a game, and we'll ask, "Can you tell me who did so and so?" It's an open-book test 'cause all the answers are right there. And more than likely people don't know. They don't have a clue. But to engage them, we will blow bubbles in the directions, so they start looking. One, they read more, and they end up reading everything as opposed to something that kind of looks interesting. So, we do that. We do Juneteenth, things like that. But when we have our facility, we have groups of kids come in. My thing is solar. I don't know if you noticed my solar cells on my roof.$$I did, I did, on the roof, right, right.$$I've had my solar cells ten years, and I wanted solar cells when I didn't have a roof. And energy and the variety of what DOE [Department of Energy] research is, is what kept me there that long. And when we go to South Africa in two weeks, I'm gonna do a solar paper there.

Frederick Oliver

Physicist Frederick William Oliver was born on October 15, 1940, in Baltimore City, Maryland, to Hattie and Willis Oliver. Oliver was raised on J Street, in an African American community located in Sparrows Point. He attended Sollers Point High School, graduating in 1958. Oliver then went to Morgan State University where he received his B.S. degree in physics in 1962, under the mentorship of Dr. Julius Taylor. Oliver continued his education, receiving his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Howard University in 1965 and 1972, respectively, both in condensed matter physics. His research examines the Mossbauer Effect and its uses in spectroscopy.

In 1969, Oliver joined the faculty at Morgan State University as an associate professor. In 1979, Oliver became Chair of the physics department at Morgan State University, taking over the position from his mentor, Dr. Julius Taylor. He served until 1995, and then again from 1999 to 2006. While at Morgan State University, Oliver held appointments with the Naval Research Laboratory, the Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Maryland, NASA, Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, Bell Laboratories, and the Harry Diamond Laboratories. Oliver also served as the university’s Radiation Safety Officer for fifteen years beginning in 1990. Since 2007, Oliver has been an appointed part-time administrative judge with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel.

Oliver has published thirty-two full-length papers since 1965, and presented at numerous conferences. He has been awarded the Dr. Iva G. Jones Medallion Mantle Award and is an inducted member of Beta Kappa Chi, Sigma Chi, and Sigma Pi Sigma. Oliver’s most recent grant was funded by the Department of Energy for its “Educational Bridge Program.”

Oliver lives in Maryland with his wife Dianne. He has two grown children, Chaszetta and Chinyere from a former marriage.

Frederick William Oliver was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 15, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.057

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/15/2010

Last Name

Oliver

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W

Schools

Sollers Point/Southeastern Technical High

Morgan State University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Frederick

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

OLI02

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

10/15/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hot Dogs

Short Description

Physics professor and physicist Frederick Oliver (1940 - ) served as the chair of the physics department at Morgan State University for over twenty years, and has held research appointments at highly regarded facilities like the Argonne National Laboratory and NASA.

Employment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Morgan State University

Howard University

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frederick Oliver's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frederick Oliver shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frederick Oliver talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frederick Oliver talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frederick Oliver talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frederick Oliver recalls his childhood in Sparrows Point, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frederick Oliver describes his elementary school experience

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frederick Oliver talks about his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frederick Oliver talks about family life as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Frederick Oliver remembers playing sports as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Frederick Oliver recalls an influential high school physics class

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frederick Oliver describes his high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frederick Oliver talks about his high school physics teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frederick Oliver describes his playing sports as well as musical instruments in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frederick Oliver discusses the effects of segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frederick Oliver talks about his high school grades and the focus on getting a college education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frederick Oliver talks about his undergraduate experience at Morgan State University, part 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frederick Oliver talks about his undergraduate experience at Morgan State University, part 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frederick Oliver recalls the reaction of his parents and the community to his being in college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frederick Oliver talks about his decision to pursue graduate studies at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frederick Oliver describers the social and political atmosphere at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frederick Oliver talks about his peers and social activities at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frederick Oliver describes his graduate school advisor

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frederick Oliver explains his graduate school research

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frederick Oliver talks about his lack of involvement with activism

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frederick Oliver discusses the significance of Mossbauer physics and why he chose the field of solid state physics

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frederick Oliver talks about his return to Morgan State University as a faculty member

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frederick Oliver talks about his wife and children

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frederick Oliver describes his experience teaching at Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frederick Oliver discusses the importance of a Ph.D. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frederick Oliver talks about his experience on the faculty at Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frederick Oliver talks about his publications and his research in various laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frederick Oliver talks about his leadership as chair of the physics department at Morgan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Frederick Oliver talks about his involvement in the National Technical Association

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frederick Oliver defines success

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frederick Oliver talks about undergraduate students and their research

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frederick Oliver talks about his involvement in faculty positions at Morgan State University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Frederick Oliver talks about his second wife, Dianne Polson

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Frederick Oliver discusses the African American physics community, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Frederick Oliver discusses the influence of race on his career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Frederick Oliver discusses the African American physics community, part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Frederick Oliver talks about the relationship between Morgan State University's STEM departments.

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Frederick Oliver reflects on his time at Morgan State University

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Frederick Oliver reflects on his legacy and his life's acomplishments

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Frederick Oliver describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Frederick Oliver talks about his high school physics teachers
Frederick Oliver discusses the effects of segregation
Transcript
Now, do you remember any teachers in your high school that had a special impact upon you?$$As I said, my physics teacher, that was, her name was Ruth Law (ph.). We had a math teacher in high school. I always remember him. His name was Arthur Morton. He was, I guess, about six, six [6'6"]; probably weighed about three hundred pounds, and he had a long goatee, was very dark, and I always remember the first day of class, and at that time I was in the academic curriculum, and so they would put the academic and vocational students in the same homeroom. And I always remember he would close the door and he took out his wallet and he put his wallet on the front desk. He said, "My name is Arthur Morton and I'm going to run this class." He said, "All of you young men, if you can beat me all together, then I'll let you run this class." And because he was so large and intimidating, no one would make a move to do anything. Some of the guys would maybe do something like this, and you know, he put his wallet out, he said, "By the way, too, you can have--" he'd say--maybe I'll just use an example, "I have a hundred dollars in the wallet, and if all of you together can whip me, then you can have it and I won't report you." And I kind of remember that, and he was sort of the disciplinarian for the entire school. And so, and I think all of us, we were really impressed by him. And what I always remember, he lived in, as a matter of fact, he was from Pennsylvania, so he had a room that he lived in during the week. He would go home on the weekends. So every evening he would take these--the students could come by and we would just work math problems, and he would put the students at the boards all around the classroom, and he would send out for hot dogs and hamburgers. And so, all of the--and girls--everybody--all of the students that wanted to, we would just work math problems. And we would do that for about two hours every afternoon, and it became very interesting and challenging. And also, out of that high school, quite a few of the students went--I went on in physics, but most of them actually went on in mathematics, and I think we had a very good foundation. And some of the students from--I always remember, several of them went to Johns Hopkins [University, Baltimore, Maryland] and they majored in math, they were good. And so, also Arthur Morton, he was very interested in sports. And I remember he, he actually bought me my first pair of track shoes. And he would be out in the evening, and he would go to all of the sporting events. But I always remember he was a very influential person.$$But he became your mentor?$$I wouldn't call him a mentor. He was like everybody's. He was there if people had problems. I remember he even--my dad [Willis Oliver] died when I was in the tenth grade, and mother [Hattie Fowlkes Oliver] was a, as I said, a housewife, and I only remember her doing some day's work a couple of times. And I remember he offered me a job just filing his math papers. He told me, if I came back in the evening and just file his papers for me. I remember he paid me for doing that. And also, he would talk about my older brother [Donald Oliver]. He knew him and said he was very smart, and etcetera. And I couldn't really say he was a mentor of mine. It was--like he was there for everybody and so, the students just kind of flocked to him. And so, every day we would work just math problems after school for an hour or two hours. And he would buy sodas and hot dogs and hamburgers and stuff like that.$$Did you ever try to challenge him in terms of being better than he was?$$It was very interesting. I remember when I was at Morgan [State University, Baltimore, Maryland] and I think I was talking calculus, and so I stopped by the school one evening. I was having some problems and so I remember he said, "Well, I'll get Oliver Stokes to help you." And this was a guy who had gone to [Johns] Hopkins [University] and he was majoring in math. So I knew right when he said, "I'll get him, I'll call him in," you know, "You can come by tomorrow and we'll go over these problems." I knew at that level he probably was not, you know, he didn't know all of the advanced mathematics, but the--you know, the things like Algebra 2, and Trigonometry, and etcetera. And, you know, he was very good at that.$And were there discussions about the segregrated system that you were in that you were quite happy?$$My parents [Willis Oliver and Hattie Fowlkes Oliver]--I think they really shielded us from all of that. I never really understood the effects of segregation until I went to work in the steel mill, and that was shocking because then I could see that all of the blacks had the menial and labor jobs, whereas all of the whites had the skilled jobs. And that was my first realization about segregation. Even in the community that I lived in, we had no desire to interact with the whites. And it was very interesting, one thing happened; I found out later there was a--there was a restaurant and it was in the white community. And so, one day there was a fellow, friend of mine who actually worked there. So one day--and so, I worked there for like a week, he went on vacation. And so, I worked for him in this restaurant. So anyway, I found out maybe about ten years later from a cousin of mine that the restaurant was really segregated, and I did not realize that. Growing up we just had no desire to interact with them--with the whites, and so, it was really a very strange experience, and I didn't even know that that restaurant--they used to sell hot dogs and hamburgers, and if we wanted, we usually would go and do the carryout, and we had--we didn't have any desire to sit down and eat. And as I said, I found out later that even if I had wanted to, I couldn't have. But it was so strange because it was--there just wasn't that desire to integrate. I think a lot of the desire from integration comes out when you find that it's something you can't do. You know, you're not allowed to do it. And it's not from something that you really want to do, and I think that sort of adds something, another dimension to it. But that was a very strange experience when she told me that. And I even worked there, but I just, like I had no desire to interact with them.$$When did you work in the steel mill?$$I used to work there during the summers once I started college. And that was a very interesting experience because then there were suits against the steel plant because as I said, they had--the blacks did not work in the skilled jobs. What they would do was very interesting. They would hire college students for the skilled jobs during the summer rather than to offer these--rather than to train the people that had been there. And so, at the end of the summer, quite often they--a lot of the students were offered permanent jobs, and that was a decision I had to make whether or not I would stay there or go back to college. And a lot of the students, they would just remain there because they were skilled jobs and they paid very well at that time. So during college I used work there every summer.

Julian Manly Earls

Physicist and federal government administrator Julian Manly Earls was born on November 22, 1942 in Portsmouth, Virginia to James and Ida Deberry Earls. He graduated from Crestwood High School in Chesapeake, Virginia in 1960 and went on to earn his B.S. degree in physics from Norfolk State University in 1964. Upon the advice of his mentor, Dr. Roy A. Woods, Earls attended the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry to obtain his M.S. degree in radiation biology in 1965. Earls then moved to Cleveland to work at NASA for six years at the Lewis Research Center. NASA sponsored Earls to obtain his Ph.D. degree in radiation physics at the University of Michigan in 1973. Also, while working at NASA, he graduated from the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development in 1978.

Working at NASA for over forty years, Earls became NASA's first black section head, first black office chief, first black division chief, first black deputy director, and NASA's second black center director. Earls was hired as the director of the Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio in 2003. As center director, Earls has been responsible for research, technology and systems development programs in aeronautical propulsion, space propulsion, space power, space communications, and microgravity sciences. He manages an annual budget and oversees all employees and contractors. Earls has written several publications for technical and educational journals. He also wrote NASA’s first health physics guides. On two occasions, he has been awarded NASA medals for exceptional achievement and outstanding leadership and has received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive for career Senior Executive Service (SES) members.

Earls has been awarded honorary degrees by Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens, New York, Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has been a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Technical Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, the National Society of Black Physicists, the Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology, the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. An avid runner, he has run at least twenty-five marathons and was given the honor of being a torchbearer for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Earls and his wife, Zenobia, reside in Beachwood, Ohio. They have two sons, Gregory and Julian, Jr., and one granddaughter, Madisyn Chandler.

Julian Earls was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 10, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.006

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/10/2005

Last Name

Earls

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Manly

Schools

Crestwood High School

Crestwood Middle School

I.C. Norcom High School

Norfolk State University

University of Rochester

University of Michigan

Harvard Business School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Julian

Birth City, State, Country

Portsmouth

HM ID

EAR02

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles, California

Favorite Quote

God did not give anybody everything, but He gave everybody something.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

11/22/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Lemon Meringue)

Short Description

Federal government administrator and physicist Julian Manly Earls (1942 - ) worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for over forty years, and has served as the director of the NASA's Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center

Cuyahoga Community College

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Julian Earls' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Julian Earls shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Julian Earls talks about his parents and grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Julian Earls remembers the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood and talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about his four brothers and two sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Julian Earls describes his parent's jobs as well as family holidays

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Julian Earls talks about growing up in the Union Holiness Pentecostal Church

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Julian Earls talks about his elementary, junior high, and high school years

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Julian Earls remembers the segregated schools in Virginia and graduating from Crestwood High School

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about his decision to attend Norfolk State University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Julian Earls describes his professors at Norfolk State University

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Julian Earls talks about going to graduate school and his early years at NASA

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Julian Earls remembers his promotions at NASA, the Carl Stokes mayoral election, and the contributions of Congressman Louis Stokes

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about NASA's contracts with minority and women-owned firms and making science fun for young people

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Julian Earls talks about increasing African American participation in engineering and physics

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Julian Earls talks about the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the Boule, and his mentors at NASA

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about affirmative action

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Julian Earls talks about NASA's equal employment opportunity office and the values of NASA

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Julian Earls tells stories about Guion "Guy" Bluford and Mae Jemison.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Julian Earls talks about the NASA astronaut program

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about his wife, Zenobia, and their two sons, Julian Earls, Jr. and Gregory Earls

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Julian Earls talks about Cleveland public schools

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Julian Earls discusses civil rights, education, and the importance of stable family structures

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about Ohio and the 2004 Presidential Election

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Julian Earls talks about his long distance running

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Julian Earls talks about Dr. Willie Ray "Karimi" Mackey

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Julian Earls talks about mentoring and Northeast Ohio as home

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Julian Earls talks about the difference between the North and the South

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Julian Earls explains how science and technology are good for the economy and a global society

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Julian Earls talks about ethics in science and technology

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Julian Earls talks about the ethics of cloning

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Julian Earls shares his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Julian Earls describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Julian Earls remembers his promotions at NASA, the Carl Stokes mayoral election, and the contributions of Congressman Louis Stokes
Julian Earls tells stories about Guion "Guy" Bluford and Mae Jemison.
Transcript
All right, so again, I'm looking at what's happening at the, I guess we say, the macro level. In '64 [1964], you said you didn't have a clue. But I would think by the late '60s [1960s] when you're here in Cleveland [Ohio] in the era of the, well, the tenure of Carl Stokes as mayor, you must have known that history was being made?$$Oh, absolutely, and it was at that point that I really became active in trying to encourage black youngsters to focus upon math and science and increase the numbers of black scientists and engineers by increasing the number of black students who took those courses. And I joined an organization called the National Technical Association, an organization of black scientists, engineers, architects that had been founded in Chicago in 1925. And once I found out about that organization, I decided that we needed to form a Cleveland chapter. And we formed the chapter here in Cleveland and started working with youngsters in the local school system. Our first program was established a Kirk Middle High School in East Cleveland. And we, second, next we moved out into the Warrenville school system. And we had black scientists, engineers, technologists working at any number of different companies here in Cleveland, Ohio. And we would go out on Saturday mornings into the schools and take projects for the students and also had a parental involvement section where the parents would be involved and would have to essentially agree that they would work with the students. And some sessions, they would actually come with the students on Saturday morning. But that was one of the efforts. And then I started right here within NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], people blame me for the being the catalyst for starting the movement that said, look, not only do we need more black people working within NASA, but we need to make sure that we have black people in true, powerful management positions here at NASA. And at that time, we didn't have blacks who were managers, section heads, branch chiefs, division chiefs and so forth. And I became the first black section head at NASA. I was the first black office chief. I was the first black division chief. I was the first black deputy director, but I was the second black center director. But back in those days, back in '64 [1964], '65 [1965], we have records and archives of things that we did to make the points that we needed to open up opportunities for blacks here within NASA, Lewis Research Center at the time. But then, we were the catalyst for any number of changes within the agency for black employees. And, of course, being in Cleveland, when Carl Stokes was elected mayor, you would have to live in a cave not to know the importance of the activities that were going on at that time.$$Okay. Okay, so that was '67 [1967]--$$That's right.$$--his first victory?$$That's right.$$Do you remember the election night--$$I certainly do.$$--when it was announced?$$I certainly do.$$I watched a video in the 'Eyes on the Prize' series and I saw people dancing in the street.$$(Laughter).$$Were you a part of that crowd?$$I was not dancing on the street, but I was dancing in my living room. That's for sure (laughter).$$Did you ever have an opportunity to work with Mayor Stokes?$$No, but I worked with his brother back in those days. And I really call him my hero. Congressman Louis Stokes and I forged a relationship when things needed to be changed within NASA. And I credit him for all the progress that has been made within NASA as an agency, with progress that has been made for people of color and females. I credit him especially with the progress that has been made with the small disadvantaged businesses because it was Congressman Stokes who attached to the NASA appropriations bill, a requirement that eight percent of all contract dollars in NASA had to be spent with small disadvantaged businesses in the set-aside program. He was the architect of that which is a requirement that still exists to this day at this agency.$$Okay, and so those things are coming into being in the '60s [1960s] to the 1970s, in that era?$$Yes, that's--$$So more than a generation ago?$$Yes.$I mean I'm just so proud of them. And so, I don't know if that's because NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] is pushing them out front and saying, here's a role model or if they just have that excellence, that's part of that formula you just told me about. Were they just that cream, you know, that just rose to the top?$$Well, I have to tell you my Guy Bluford [Guion "Guy" S. Bluford, Jr.] story.$$Okay.$$I applied to be an astronaut in 1977. That was the same year that Guy Bluford applied, Fred Gregory [Frederick D. Gregory] applied, Ron McNair [Ronald Ervin McNair] applied. Guy Bluford and I were born on the same day, November 22, 1942. And I kid Guy because I tell him he was born at 10:00 a.m. in the morning. I was born at 4:15 in the afternoon, and NASA, as a tie breaker, went with the old man. That's why he got in the Astronaut Corp and I didn't. But I've worked with those astronauts. When Guy was launched, his was the first night launch of the shuttle, and I was the speaker for the Education program at Kennedy Space Center [The John F. Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida] when Guy Bluford went on the first flight as the first African American in space. And Guy subsequently retired from the Astronaut Corp and came to work here at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland [Ohio]. He was a program manager for a major contract here and is still living here in the Cleveland area.$$And how about Mae Jemison [Mae C. Jemison]? Have you had a chance to work with her?$$Absolutely. Mae and I talked, before Mae's launch, the last six months before Mae launched, Mae's launch, she and I must have talked at least once a week about some of the issues and some of the challenges confronting her as the first African American female going in space. As a matter of fact, one of the things that she and I talked about was she did a down link from her shuttle mission with the Chicago school system, which she's a product of the Chicago school system. And so we worked that, and I've been in touch with her since that time. She's absolutely--I maintain that NASA has a little back room where they build perfect people to make them into astronauts. And that's why I never got selected to (laughter) to be an astronaut.

George Carruthers

Astrophysicist George Robert Carruthers was born on October 1, 1939 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father was a civil engineer and his mother worked for the U.S. Postal Service. The family lived in Milford, Ohio until Carruthers’ father died suddenly and his mother moved the family back to her native Chicago. As a child, he enjoyed visiting Chicago museums, libraries, planetariums and was a member of the Chicago Rocket Society and various science clubs. In 1957, Carruthers earned his high school diploma from Englewood High School in Chicago, also the same year the Russians launched the first Sputnik.

Carruthers attended the University of Illinois, earning his B.S. degree in aeronautical engineering in 1961. He also pursued his graduate work at the University of Illinois, earning his M.S. degree in nuclear engineering in 1962 and his Ph.D. in aeronautical and astronomical engineering in 1964. While conducting his graduate studies, Carruthers worked as a research and teaching assistant studying plasma and gases. In 1964, Carruthers began working for the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. where his work focused on far ultraviolet astronomy. In 1969, the United States Patent office gave Carruthers credit for inventing the “Image Converter” – an instrument that detects electromagnetic radiation in short wave lengths – and in 1970 his invention recorded the first observation of molecular hydrogen in outer space. In 1972, Carruthers invented the first moon-based observatory, the far ultraviolet camera / spectrograph, which was used in the Apollo 16 mission.

In the 1980s, Carruthers helped create a program called the Science & Engineers Apprentice Program, which allowed high school students to spend a summer working with scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory. When, in 1986, Halley’s Comet passed Earth for the first time since 1910, one of Carruthers’ inventions captured an ultraviolet image of it. In 1991, he invented a camera that was used in the Space Shuttle Mission. Since 2002, Carruthers has taught a two-semester course in earth and space science at Howard University in Washington, D.C., an education initiative sponsored by a NASA Aerospace Workforce Development Grant.

Carruthers has been the recognized by professional and academic organizations for his achievements. The Office of Naval Research honored him as a distinguished Lecturer for his achievements in the field of space science. He is also a recipient of the Arthur S. Flemming Award, the Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society, and an Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal from NASA. Carruthers was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his contributions to aeronautical engineering.

George Carruthers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers<\em> on 08/26/2012.

Accession Number

A2004.112

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/27/2004 |and| 8/27/2012

Last Name

Carruthers

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Robert

Occupation
Schools

McCosh Elementary School

Englewood High School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Search Occupation Category
First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

Cincinnati

HM ID

CAR07

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southwestern United States

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/1/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Astrophysicist George Carruthers (1939 - ) has worked for the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., where his work has focused on far ultraviolet astronomy. His numerous inventions include one that was used in the Apollo 16 Mission, another that captured an ultraviolet image of Halley's Comet, and a camera that was used in the Space Shuttle Mission.

Employment

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Naval Research Laboratory

Howard University

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

None

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George Carruthers' interview - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George Carruthers lists his favorites - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George Carruthers talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George Carruthers talks about his parents' family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George Carruthers describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - George Carruthers talks about his siblings and describes his childhood neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - George Carruthers talks about his father's sudden death

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - George Carruthers talks about his access to libraries and museums in Chicago, Illinois, and his interest in astronomy

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - George Carruthers describes the changes that had occurred over the years in Cincinnati and Milford, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - George Carruthers describes his experience in elementary school in Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - George Carruthers talks about his interest in astronomy and space science as a young boy

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - George Carruthers describes his experience in junior high school and with the Chicago Rocket Society in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George Carruthers talks about his family's involvement with church

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George Carruthers talks about his family's reaction to his interest in astronomy and space science

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George Carruthers describes his experiences at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George Carruthers describes his decision to attend the University of Illinois to study astronomy and aerospace engineering

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George Carruthers describes his experience at the University of Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - George Carruthers describes his research on gases as a doctoral student at the University of Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - George Carruthers describes his career aspirations as a doctoral student at the University of Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - George Carruthers describes his research with far ultraviolet astronomy at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - George Carruthers describes his experience in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - George Carruthers describes his patent on the image converter in 1969

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George Carruthers talks about the Apollo space program

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George Carruthers describes his experience at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and his contribution towards the first observation of molecular hydrogen in space

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George Carruthers talks about his contribution towards capturing the ultra violet image of Haley's Comet in 1986

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George Carruthers talks about the period of transition between the Apollo missions and the Space Shuttle era in U.S. space programs

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George Carruthers talks about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George Carruthers describes his work with the STS-39 Space Shuttle mission in 1991, and his professional relationship with astronaut Guion Bluford

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George Carruthers talks about his involvement with mentoring students in space science

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - George Carruthers talks about his involvement in science education initiatives for African American students

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - George Carruthers talks about science fiction and scientific realities of the twenty-first century

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George Carruthers recalls the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in 2003

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - George Carruthers discusses collaborative space research in the twenty-first century, and reflects upon the future of space science

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - George Carruthers talks about prominent African Americans involved in the space program and administration

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - George Carruthers reflects upon his most significant contributions towards space research

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - George Carruthers gives advice to students who are interested in a career in astronomy or aeronautical engineering

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - George Carruthers reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - George Carruthers talks about the importance of science education and public outreach

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George Carruthers' interview - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George Carruthers describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George Carruthers talks about his parents and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George Carruthers describes his interest in astronomy, and the influence of Buck Rogers comic books and the German scientist, Wernher von Braun

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George Carruthers describes his experience in elementary school in Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - George Carruthers talks about his father's sudden death, and his family's move from Milford, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - George Carruthers talks about his grade schools in Milford, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - George Carruthers describes his experience at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George Carruthers talks about his correspondence with German scientist Wernher von Braun

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George Carruthers talks about Sputnik's influence on the U.S. space program

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George Carruthers describes the image converter device that he developed for detecting electromagnetic radiation in short wavelengths

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George Carruthers talks about his work with developing the image converter for detecting electromagnetic radiation, especially ultraviolet light

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George Carruthers talks about the applications of the electrograph ultraviolet camera

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - George Carruthers talks about the application of the electrograph ultraviolet camera to capture images of Comet Kohoutek in 1973

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - George Carruthers describes his involvement with NASA Starlab

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - George Carruthers talks about the first observation of molecular hydrogen outside of the Earth's atmosphere

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - George Carruthers talks about his involvement in science education and outreach

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - George Carruthers talks about the findings from the images of Haley's Comet in 1986

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - George Carruthers talks about his involvement with the National Technical Association (NTA)

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - George Carruthers talks about serving on the Space Telescope Science Institute's review committee for the Hubble telescope

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - George Carruthers talks about the lack of student recruitment in the physics department at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George Carruthers talks about the state of the physics department at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George Carruthers talks about his involvement on the Council of the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George Carruthers talks about Global Imaging Monitor of the Ionosphere (GIMI) and the High Resolution Airglow/Aurora Spectroscopy experiment

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George Carruthers talks about his teaching experience at Howard University's department of physics and astronomy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George Carruthers talks about being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2003

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George Carruthers talks about the activities that he is involved in after retiring from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George Carruthers describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - George Carruthers reflects upon his career and his legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - George Carruthers talks about his family

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - George Carruthers talks about visual and practical ways to teach science, engineering and mathematics

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - George Carruthers shares his views on communicating science, and generating interest in science and engineering amongst students

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - George Carruthers talks about the importance of science education and public outreach

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - George Carruthers talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - George Carruthers talks about the International Space Station

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - George Carruthers talks about the National Technical Association (NTA)

Tape: 3 Story: 16 - George Carruthers talks about Science, Mathematics, Aerospace, Research and Technology, Inc. (SMART)

Tape: 3 Story: 17 - George Carruthers explains the transit of the planet Venus between the sun and the Earth, and the Venus Transit Program at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George Carruthers talks about the annual mathematics contest sponsored by the National Technical Association (NTA)