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Joseph Francisco

Chemical physicist Joseph Salvadore Francisco was born on March 26, 1955 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was raised by his grandparents, Merlin and Sarah Walker in Beaumont, Texas. He graduated from Forest Park High School in 1973. After earning his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977, Francisco went on to receive his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1983. Francisco worked as a research fellow at Cambridge University in England from 1983 to 1985, and then returned to MIT where he served as a provost postdoctoral fellow.

In 1986, Francisco was appointed as an assistant professor of chemistry at Wayne State University. He then served at California Institute of Technology as a visiting associate in the Planetary Science Division in 1991, and as a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1993. In 1995, Francisco was appointed as a full professor at Purdue University; and, in 2005, he became the William E. Moore Distinguished Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Chemistry. In addition, Francisco served as a senior visiting fellow in the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Bologna; as a Professeur Invité at the Université de Paris; as a visiting professor at Uppsala Universitet in Sweden; and was chosen as an honorary international chair and professor by National Taipei University in Taiwan.

Francisco co-authored the textbook Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics published by Prentice-Hall and translated later in Japanese. He has also published over 475 peer reviewed publications in the fields of atmospheric chemistry, chemical kinetics, quantum chemistry, laser photochemistry and spectroscopy. Francisco served as editor of the atmospheric and ocean science section of Pure and Applied Geophysics, and on the editorial advisory boards of Spectrochimica Acta Part A, Journal of Molecular Structure: THEOCHEM, and Theoretical Chemistry Accounts, and the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

From 1994 to 1996, Francisco was appointed to the Naval Research Advisory Committee for the Department of Navy. He served as president and board member of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers and the American Chemical Society. President Barack Obama appointed Francisco as a member of the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science from 2010 to 2012. He also served as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and is an honorary life member of the Israel Chemical Society.

Francisco was elected as a fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Francisco received the Percy L. Julian Award for Pure and Applied Research, the McCoy Award, the Edward W. Morley Medal, and the Alexander von Humboldt Award. He also received Honorary Doctorate of Science Degrees from Tuskegee University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of South Florida, and Knox College.

Chemical physicist Joeseph Salvadore Francisco was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 28, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.176

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/28/2013

Last Name

Francisco

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

S.

Occupation
Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The University of Cambridge

University of Texas at Austin

Forest Park High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Joseph

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

FRA11

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern France

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nebraska

Birth Date

3/26/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Lincoln

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Chemical physicist Joseph Francisco (1955 - ) , the William E. Moore Distinguished Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Chemistry at Purdue University, served as a fellow of the American Physical Society and president of the American Chemical Society.

Employment

Purdue University

Wayne State University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joseph Francisco's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joseph Francisco lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joseph Francisco describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joseph Francisco describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joseph Francisco describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joseph Francisco talks about his household as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joseph Francisco describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joseph Francisco talks about growing up in Beaumont, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joseph Francisco talks about raising animals as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joseph Francisco talks about his summers visiting his mother and grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joseph Francisco talks about his elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joseph Francisco describes becoming interested in chemistry

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joseph Francisco talks about his childhood experiments

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joseph Francisco talks about his grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joseph Francisco talks about his jobs as a child and teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joseph Francisco describes working at a pharmacy in junior high and high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joseph Francisco describes choosing his high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joseph Francisco remembers the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joseph Francisco talks about the low expectations for him during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joseph Francisco talks about his high school science fair project pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joseph Francisco talks about his high school science fair project pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joseph Francisco describes meeting Dr. Richard Price

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joseph Francisco describes the mentoring of Dr. Richard Price

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joseph Francisco talks about the mentoring of John Flannery

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joseph Francisco describes his lack of college counseling in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joseph Francisco describes his decision to attend the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joseph Francisco describes how he came to work in Dr. Raymond Davis' Laboratory pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joseph Francisco describes how he came to work in Dr. Raymond Davis' Laboratory pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joseph Francisco talks about his freshman roommate at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joseph Francisco describes working in Dr. Raymond Davis' laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joseph Francisco describes being selected to spend a summer at Argonne National Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joseph Francisco describes earning the money for a plane ticket to go to Argonne National Laboratory for a summer

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joseph Francisco describes his involved in research at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joseph Francisco describes his graduate school search

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joseph Francisco describes why he chose to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joseph Francisco talks about his year working for Monsanto

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joseph Francisco describes the transition from Texas to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joseph Francisco describes his doctoral program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joseph Francisco talks about his doctoral research pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joseph Francisco talks about his doctoral research pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joseph Francisco describes working with Robert Gilbert

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joseph Francisco describes selecting Cambridge University for his postdoctoral fellowship

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joseph Francisco describes his doctoral research

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joseph Francisco describes becoming interested in atmospheric chemistry pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joseph Francisco describes becoming interested in atmospheric chemistry pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Joseph Francisco describes his decision to focus on atmospheric chemistry for his independent career pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Joseph Francisco describes his decision to focus on atmospheric chemistry for his independent career pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Joseph Francisco describes discovering the key fragment species of chlorofluorocarbon pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Joseph Francisco describes discovering the key fragment species of chlorofluorocarbon pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Joseph Francisco describes the reaction to his research on chlorofluorocarbon

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Joseph Francisco describes collaborating with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Joseph Francisco talks about the use of lasers in his research

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Joseph Francisco describes the underlining theme of his research

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Joseph Francisco describes the fragment species of chlorofluorocarbon

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Joseph Francisco describes being recruited by Purdue University

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Joseph Francisco describes how he derives research questions

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Joseph Francisco describes how innovation in laser technology has impacted research

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Joseph Francisco reflects on his professional accomplishments

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Joseph Francisco describes revolutionizing the field of computational atmospheric chemistry

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Joseph Francisco talks about dual-use chemistry

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Joseph Francisco talks about his involvement in chemistry education pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Joseph Francisco talks about his involvement in chemistry education pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Joseph Francisco talks about STEM curricula in the United States

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Joseph Francisco describes being elected president of the American Chemical Society pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Joseph Francisco describes being elected president of the American Chemical Society pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Joseph Francisco describes his accomplishments as president of the American Chemical Society pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Joseph Francisco describes his accomplishments as president of the American Chemical Society pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Joseph Francisco describes his next steps

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Joseph Francisco talks about the American Chemical Society

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Joseph Francisco talks about the legacy of Henry Hill in the American Chemical Society

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Joseph Francisco describes the role of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Joseph Francisco describes becoming the president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Joseph Francisco reflects on his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Joseph Francisco describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Joseph Francisco describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

7$9

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Joseph Francisco describes collaborating with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Joseph Francisco talks about his involvement in chemistry education pt. 2
Transcript
And so what happened was, the guys from Jet Propulsion Laboratory [Pasadena, California] invited me over to spend the week with them. They wanted to learn more about what we were doing. They wanted me to learn a little bit about what they were doing. And they felt that instead of me going out there as the lone wolf, you know, fighting against some big institutions, that they wanted to sort of give me a little bit of guidance along--I mean it was a new area for me, atmospheric chemistry. I'd never been in that community, but I knew my lasers. I knew my theory. They knew the lasers. They didn't know the theory, and they wanted to see where the opportunities were to really, you know, forge a collaboration. And so I saw an opportunity that if I could help them with their work, you know, by helping with their work, I could learn a little bit how they approach problems, and, you know, how they approach problems I can really take that in terms of my own work, and really strengthening how, you know, I make cases for, you know, our work. So I used that as an opportunity to learn how they were really successful and really branding, you know, themselves as Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as a world-class institution and recognized in atmospheric chemistry. And I learned a little bit about the secret of what they do. And so I wanted to really learn as much as--from working with them, collaborating on their work and bringing some of our work in to help them strengthen their case and at the same time too, bring some of what I learned from them back over into our own work.$$So how did you do that then? What actually happened as a result of that?$$Well, so I would--every summer I would leave Detroit [Michigan] and spend the summer out at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Then they gave me a visiting associate at Cal-Tech [California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California], spent time in the geological and planetary science (unclear). So I had to learn about atmospheric modeling, and what I learned is what really makes them successful and what guides them is a real interesting push and pull between developing instruments that go up into the atmosphere, make measurements of the chemistry, but then they complement those measurements with laboratory studies, but those laboratory studies are guided by, you know, what they're seeing in the measurements. So that really adds focus and relevance and importance to the laboratory work that they're doing, but the big overview of those two is the modeling which really gets at the, where and the impact of that chemistry. So I really saw this sort of three pillars that were really key. Most people, if you're working in just, you know, theoretical chemistry, they don't see that, you know, and they don't see that connection. If they're working in the laboratory and trying to break into atmospheric, they don't see the connection between the atmospheric modeling and the, and the field measurements of how that's really informing. They just see, "Wow, these guys have done some important stuff that everybody is interested in, and they think it's important." But they don't see how it came about as being important and really seeing the importance. And I got a sense of that, and I learned a little bit about each one of those, and I also learned how to really judge the literature on each one of those and really guide, defining, you know, what are really the important abstract problems that we would work on, that would really have some real impact in informing the chemistry and the community and getting the community excited about the work that you do. But what I learned from JPL [Jet Propulsion Laboratory] and Cal-Tech that was really important, that whatever I do in that arena, that I push the envelope and the work that I do in terms of accuracy and precision and preciseness. And so that, that forced us to up our game two notches to really, you know, push things to the limit with the best work that we can possibly do.$And the person came in a couple of times and really looked at what I was doing, gave me some feedback. They thought I was doing a great job, but she said, "You know, I'd like to come back to your class again. I saw something." I said, "Well, do I have to pay for this?" So she said, "No, you don't have to pay for it, but she said, I saw something, and I just wanna come and sit in your classroom." So she came back a couple of more times, sat at various places. She was watching, you know, what I had learned and, and doing. She thought, gave me feedback, I was doing a great job. But she said, "I was watching the students in the classroom, and clues that you were giving and things that you were delivering, they were not responding the way, from an educational psychologist standpoint, that they should have been responding and that-" So she wanted to get at some of that. And so we decided to develop a little diagnostic to try to probe on certain delivery things that I was doing to engage students, what the students were doing, you know, and what they were getting out of the that delivery and collected a lot of data. And actually, the real interesting thing I learned was that students were doing different things. They were seeing different things. They were learning different things. And one amazing thing I learned, that if I got up in front of the classroom and just wrote a lecture on the blackboard, I was only engaging about a third of the class because you have some students who are very good listeners. You have some students who are very kinetic, that are writing and taking notes. They learn in that way. Some, through hands on, some students are hands on. So when I go into a lecture, I realize that if I'm going to reach a classroom more than a third, I have to engage in activities in delivering that material in different ways that play to their learning styles. So, just going up and giving a lecture is not gonna cut it, but I have to have, you know, people give PowerPoint's. They think they're pretty, and they're doing a great thing, but they're tuning out a third of the class because some kids, when you write something on the board, the act of writing triggers a learning event, you know, for them. And so that work was just very interesting because it actually started me in generating a series of papers getting into learning styles in the classroom. And I learned that the problem just wasn't me, but, you know, the problem is that you have to deliver your lecture in different formats in order to engage the kids. But I also, too, learned in the process that the kids have to know how to take notes. If we assume as a professor, that in a high school and junior high school, they know how to take notes, well, I learned that many of them don't know how to take notes. I assumed that they know how to listen, you know, for those clues. Well, I learned that, you know, a lot of them don't know to do it. I assumed that because they've been taking tests for (laughter), elementary school, junior high school, and high school, that kids know how to take a test and that really when a kid takes a test, and, you know, that test is a measure of whether they know the material, well, I learned that that's not the case. It's a combination of how good they are taking tests or how they're not good at taking tests, plus the material. So they may know the material very well, which that young lady, I believe, but what crippled, she did not know how to take a test. And that hurt her. And it wasn't that she didn't know the material, but she didn't know how to take a test. So as an instructor, you know, I took that really rather serious in really getting at, you know, why my students didn't do well. You know, a lot of students wanna complain. They wanna put all the blame on the professor. And I really, I was ready to accept that blame, provided I really understood enough of what was going on, not only from my perspective, but from the students' perspective. And so that series of work triggered us off into really venturing out into learning styles, learning skills in the chemistry classroom. So we published about, you know, six, about five or six papers in 'Chemical Education,' really getting at research to form how one can deliver better pedagogy or frame the class work where students can learn, you know, better.

Bertram Fraser-Reid

Chemist and chemistry professor Bertram Oliver Fraser-Reid was born on February 23, 1934 in Coleyville, Jamaica. In 1956, Fraser-Reid enrolled at Queen’s University in Canada and graduated from there with his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in chemistry in 1959 and 1961, respectively. He went on to earn his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of Alberta in 1964 under the supervision of Dr. Raymond Lemieux. Upon graduation, Fraser-Reid was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at Imperial College of the University of London and studied under Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Barton from 1964 to 1966.

From 1966 to 1980, Fraser-Reid served on faculty of the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario where he established a research group known as “Fraser-Reid's Rowdies.” His work at the University of Waterloo emphasized the synthesis of chiral natural products, such as insect pheromones, could be made using carbohydrates as the starting materials instead of petroleum products. In 1980, Fraser-Reid briefly taught chemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park before he was hired by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 1982. In 1985, Fraser-Reid was named James B. Duke Professor of Chemistry. He later found the Natural Products and Glycotechnology Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina where he oversaw research to develop carbohydrate-based vaccines to fight malaria and tuberculosis.

Fraser-Reid received the Merck, Sharp & Dohme Award in 1977 from the Chemical Institute of Canada, and he was honored with the Claude S. Hudson Award in 1989 from the American Chemical Society. Fraser-Reid was nominated for the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1998, and he was recognized as the Senior Distinguished U.S. Scientist by West Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 1990. In 1991, Fraser-Reid was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received the Percy L. Julian Award from the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. The American Institute of Chemistry named him the North Carolina Chemist of the Year in 1995. In addition, the Royal Society of Chemistry bestowed upon him the Haworth Memorial Medal and Lectureship, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science elected him as a Fellow, and the Institute of Jamaica honored him with the Musgrave Gold Medal.

Bertram Oliver Fraser-Reid was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 6, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.106

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/6/2013

Last Name

Fraser-Reid

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Oliver

Schools

Imperial College, University of London

Queen's University

University of Alberta

Bryce Elementary School

Clarendon College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Bertram

Birth City, State, Country

Coleyville

HM ID

FRA10

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere New

Favorite Quote

One day at a time.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

2/23/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Pittsboro

Country

Jamaica

Favorite Food

Cake (Chocolate)

Short Description

Chemist and chemistry professor Bertram Fraser-Reid (1934 - ) is a well-respected scientist whose research in carbohydrate chemistry has led to significant advances in many diverse fields.

Employment

University of Waterloo

Duke University

University of Maryland, College Park

NPG Research Institute

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7260,20:9070,28:9654,33:16110,98:39205,316:51578,408:52280,420:62240,549:64130,617:66470,656:73414,738:73646,743:81618,824:102640,1002:103900,1012:108594,1051:109458,1066:109818,1072:112448,1098:119320,1139:138705,1340:144725,1402:145625,1419:146675,1449:147050,1455:155708,1512:169368,1691:181260,1856:191694,1982:193008,2003:193957,2019:194249,2024:194687,2031:195636,2047:214670,2268$0,0:15090,201:29180,378:29945,389:34634,440:35648,452:40484,596:60704,681:80837,892:95335,1054:99010,1127:112688,1305:115058,1350:115374,1355:118455,1401:118929,1410:119640,1420:126972,1449:139010,1536:139535,1544:141755,1562:142756,1571:149122,1628:149941,1643:157534,1689:158230,1697:165950,1744:205292,2093:205628,2099:219304,2202:240792,2377:259040,2507:265420,2533:265916,2545:266164,2550:271150,2619:272970,2652:279485,2720:281015,2742:282970,2778:283310,2783:283905,2791:284670,2801:298126,2935:306072,3030:306856,3039:323806,3163:331233,3247:336950,3313:349470,3423:359557,3497:376367,3616:394072,3804:394457,3810:394765,3815:401830,3851
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bertram Fraser-Reid's interview - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Bertram Fraser-Reid's interview - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bertram Fraser-Reid lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his mother and his step-mother, and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his father's education and his interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about the early relationship between school and church in Brice, Jamaica

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about the school where his father was a head teacher and describes the Jamaican education system

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his father's personality, and his first experiment in chemistry

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his siblings and his likeness to his father

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Jamaica

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about the landscape of the island of Jamaica

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about attending school in Brice, Jamaica and going to boarding school in Kingston, Jamaica

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his father's emphasis on his education and learning

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his experience in high school in Kingston, Jamaica

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his experience in high school at the foothills of Bullhead Mountain, Jamaica

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his decision to pursue his studies in chemistry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his poor preparation in the sciences in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes the influence of his friends' mother, Mrs. Jackson, in his pursuit of higher education in Canada

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his decision to attend Queens University in Canada

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his choice to study in Canada over the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his experience at Queens University in Canada

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about taking his first physics exams while he was in college

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about working with chemist J.K.N. Jones at Queens University as an undergraduate student

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about the history of sugar production, slavery, and his introduction to sugar chemistry in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his mentors at Queens University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about attending the University of Alberta to pursue his doctoral degree with Professor Raymond Lemieux

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his doctoral dissertation research in sugar chemistry

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his postdoctoral advisor, Sir Derek Barton at Imperial College in London

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about how he met his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his research in interest pheromone chemistry - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes the concept of optical isomers of sugars

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about the application of sugar chemistry to pheromone synthesis

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his decision to accept a position at the University of Maryland in 1980

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about the strengths of the undergraduate program in chemistry at the University of Waterloo in Canada

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his experience at the University of Maryland and his decision to accept a position at Duke University in 1982

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about developing a novel method to link simple sugars into oligosaccharides, and its potential applications

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Bertram Fraser-Reid reflects upon being nominated for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1988

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about playing the organ internationally, while traveling for conferences

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his research interest in RNA synthesis

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about the funding that he has received for his work on RNA synthesis

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his former interest in applying carbohydrate chemistry to find a cure for AIDS

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Bertram Fraser-Reid reflects upon his legacy - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Bertram Fraser-Reid reflects upon his legacy - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about receiving the Percy Julian Award from the NOBCChe in 1991

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his photographs - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his photographs - part two

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Bertram Fraser-Reid talks about taking his first physics exams while he was in college
Bertram Fraser-Reid describes his research in interest pheromone chemistry - part one
Transcript
But I learned a lot because some parts of chemistry involve a lot of physics. And I mention that only because I think this is one of the most interesting things that came up. I was due to graduate in May, and in February, the registrar called me in to come to see her. And she says, you haven't taken any physics since you're here at Queens. I said, that's right, Ms. Royce. And she went on to say, and there is no physics on your record at Clarendon College in Jamaica. I said, no, we didn't have any physics teachers. She says, oh, I don't know what to say because we can't allow you to graduate without any physics. And then I fell right to the floor. And then she lifted me immediately and said, why don't you go over to the high school, speak to Mr. Earl, and ask him if you can take the physics exam with his students. I went to him, and he was a very, very nice man and said, oh, that would be fine with me. You can do that. But I don't know when you would study for it because you, your last exams are whatever. And the exams for physics is two weeks later. So how can you do that? And I said, I'm gonna do it, sir, because I had to study so much physics on my own to understand the chemistry because there's physical chemistry, and there's organic chemistry, and there's ana--and so you have to be able to know what this is. And one of my dearest buddies--he just passed away, gave me his book because he had used it in the first year, and I still have it (laughter), still have Barry's physics book. And--$$So you studied Barron physics--(simultaneous)$$No, my friend, I'm sorry, my friend was, his name was Barry.$$Okay.$$And he was from Trinidad. And he, so he said, here, I'm not gonna use this again. He was studying geology. So he gave it to me (laughter), gave me his physics book. And I looked at what--and discovered that really the chemistry I had been studying in physical chemistry, just has physics married to it, so to speak. So all you need to do to master physics for the high school chemistry is to divorce the two subjects. And so I went and he gave me some back exams, Mr. Earl, the teacher at the school. And I could solve them by just looking at the physics I knew. And I got an A in it.$$That's very good.$$Yeah.$And now, in '66' [1966], you returned to Canada to the University of Waterloo?$$'66 [1966], not '56 [1956].$$'66 [1966], yeah, '66 [1966].$$Yeah.$$Near Toronto [Canada], right?$$That's right.$$And you continued, then you got back on the sugar chemistry research?$$Right.$$Now, what--now, I have here that you were determined that sugar could be used to create many carbon-based chemicals, medicines, plastics and paints. And is this, now, this sounds like George Washington Carver [pioneering African American scientist] almost with the peanut. I mean you, so all these things could be created with sugar?$$I don't know about paint, I don't know about paint.$$Okay, I'll scratch that one out.$$But because of my training with [Raymond] Lemieux, I saw that these could be used for compounds which themselves are not sugar. Typically, the synthetic work that was done in sugar which is, you know, such a great source of material. You know, you have starch. That's a sugar. You have glucose. These are easily obtainable sugars. But most of the work that was going on was taking one sugar and making another. Now, part of that is because of the repertoire of chemicals that we had. Sugars are very easily abused, so, you know, they burn, as you know. So you can't use reagents on them that are too strong. And I was fortunate to come in at a time when the reagents that you could use on sugar were now available much more readily. Well, we were in Canada, University of Waterloo and I remember this so clearly. We, one of our seminar speakers had come from the Canadian insect control, whatever. And Canada had a big problem at the time with beetles eating the lumber. And the cost to Canada was in the billion dollar range. Okay, well, I asked, well, we asked this guy to come and give us some lectures on how the insect, the insect damage to the trees, how bad is it? And he introduced me to then practice, developing practice, particularly in Alabama, to try to fight insects by using insect pheromones. And he said, well, we have pheromones of the beetles that do it, and I said, what does it look like? And so he drew up on my blackboard in my office a structure, and I said, boy, that doesn't look--I'm not familiar with that type of structure. And he said, well, if you think about it, let me know because he has to go to speak with another professor. Well, he left the thing on my board, and I then took it and built a model of it. Do you know what I mean? A chemical model, you know?$$Explain it.$$Well, most of the time when you look, if I--normally, the molecules as they're drawn on the blackboard are only drawn in two dimensions. But the molecules are in three dimensions. So I, with these models, you can make it in three dimensions, and so it's totally different from what you're seeing on the board. I turned it around. I said, oh, my goodness. This is so and so and so and so. And I decided that, you know, this may be an interesting thing to synthesize. And I applied to the Canadian Research Council for, I remember it was only 68-, $68,000 for a student and me to try to synthesize this. And we did, and there's a picture of Brian up there, and me, plotting the synthesis of this compound. And so that, we did synthesize some of them, and it was published in the British newspapers. And so everybody became aware of our ability to synthesize insect pheromones, frontalin, various insects pheromones from various insects from sugars. And the one that is from Alabama-(unclear) I can't remember. But the use of it really killed a lot of this, the beetle, the pests that used to affect the cotton, the boll weevil. The boll weevil, was one of the things [pheromones] that we were trying to make. I don't think I mentioned that. But that was one of the first ones that we, you know, got interests in.

Sharon Haynie

Biochemist Sharon Haynie was born on November 6, 1955 in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from Baltimore City Public Schools in 1973 and enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. During her undergraduate years, she became fascinated with biochemistry and advanced inorganic chemistry. In her freshman year she was a work/study research assistant to a graduate student in organic chemistry. After receiving her B.A. degree in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976, Haynie enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and graduated from there in 1981 with her Ph.D. degree in chemistry.

Haynie was appointed as a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories from 1981 to 1984. She then moved to the DuPont Company Experimental Station Laboratory. In her first assignment in the Central Research Department Haynie worked in the Medical Biomaterials Group. She conducted research in developing the synthetic materials used in vein replacements and she isolated peptides with inherent antimicrobial properties. She also worked with the award-winning bio-3G team. Haynie authored and co-authored numerous patents, many of which detail processes of using environmentally friendly, bio-inspired pathways in a laboratory setting to create certain organic materials. Haynie served as an adjunct professor of chemistry at Delaware State University and the University of Delaware. She has been a mentor to students through several outreach projects, such as Project SEED (Summer Educational Experience for the Disadvantaged), a project sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Haynie has been recognized for her scientific research and serving as a mentor to African Americans pursuing STEM careers. In 2003, not only did Haynie work on the research team that received the 2003 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Presidential Green Chemistry Award for New Innovation; but, she was also elected to serve as chair of the Philadelphia Section of the ACS. She is a member of the Chemical Heritage Foundation Board of Directors. The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers bestowed upon her their Henry A. Hill Award in 2006 and their Percy L. Julian Award in 2008.

Sharon Haynie was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 24, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.080

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/24/2013

Last Name

Haynie

Maker Category
Middle Name

Loretta

Occupation
Schools

Western High School

University of Pennsylvania

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sharon

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

HAY14

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

It Beats Walking The Streets.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Delaware

Birth Date

11/6/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Wilmington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Chemist Sharon Haynie (1955 - ) was known for her innovative research working with E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. Her research topics included developing peptides with antimicrobial properties and developing environmentally friendly pathways to create certain organic materials.

Employment

Bell Laboratories

E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

American Chemical Society

Delaware State University

University of Delaware

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:258,5:1118,18:9030,180:9374,185:16114,322:17578,353:19164,395:19469,401:30888,520:32560,550:33016,559:33776,571:34080,576:34688,587:41688,624:42153,630:42804,640:43269,647:43641,652:49720,722:50974,753:51202,758:53974,777:54742,784:60880,802:61396,809:62084,819:62686,827:63288,835:63718,841:64836,857:65352,864:90850,1137:91726,1151:92456,1162:93113,1173:93770,1183:94062,1188:95595,1214:96252,1227:99756,1311:100194,1321:100632,1328:104310,1355:118615,1516:118947,1521:119362,1528:119943,1536:126906,1631:127826,1644:128286,1650:129022,1659:129482,1665:131322,1681:138348,1726:139466,1747:145113,1819:145745,1828:146614,1840:151512,1933:153013,1954:153645,1963:182492,2229:182820,2234:183722,2246:201522,2436:201898,2441:205564,2505:207068,2520:217345,2637:217820,2643:218200,2648:220670,2682:221050,2687:222285,2703:222665,2708:224090,2722:229082,2753:230374,2772:235466,2866:236378,2881:236986,2890:237822,2903:238658,2918:239266,2928:241926,2983:243294,3006:244130,3019:246334,3059:247474,3078:257338,3103:260946,3154:265705,3199:266130,3209:266725,3217:267830,3231:268425,3239:268935,3246:276945,3332:277467,3340:278598,3362:295096,3632:298426,3705:299832,3729:303992,3773:305472,3804:305768,3809:310060,3880$0,0:976,14:7876,141:8336,147:9900,162:15710,177:15990,182:16270,187:18160,223:18720,233:19210,241:19840,251:20330,260:21100,274:21380,279:22080,290:23480,317:29780,451:33688,467:36568,512:41320,603:42328,621:42616,626:43048,633:45830,640:51553,720:52038,726:53687,744:54075,749:60677,780:61501,789:62119,796:63561,824:68196,881:73675,898:74800,908:75300,913:78532,937:81420,975:82484,991:83016,1000:83852,1013:84384,1021:84840,1029:88108,1087:88716,1096:89020,1101:89400,1107:90616,1128:91148,1137:91908,1150:92212,1155:92592,1161:98290,1185:98668,1193:99109,1201:101515,1222:103470,1278:103810,1283:104915,1298:105255,1303:106275,1317:107720,1331:108315,1340:109080,1350:109675,1359:112735,1404:119955,1485:120335,1490:124230,1546:124705,1552:125085,1557:125750,1566:130816,1593:131808,1602:133030,1608:134002,1622:138052,1682:138619,1691:141068,1701:141600,1712:141904,1720:144982,1756:145392,1762:154666,1875:155151,1881:155539,1886:156024,1892:158337,1914:158921,1923:160673,1951:162425,1983:162717,1988:165126,2032:165564,2039:166586,2068:167973,2095:168484,2104:174320,2139:175364,2161:175944,2179:176756,2197:179250,2247:180004,2262:180236,2267:180526,2273:181048,2286:181570,2301:182150,2318:182556,2326:185986,2362:186238,2367:187498,2398:187813,2404:188317,2415:188569,2424:189136,2434:190774,2469:191530,2483:192601,2511:193861,2536:197126,2547:197936,2563:198584,2574:200550,2590:201350,2607:201990,2618:206550,2681:207270,2692:209190,2717:210150,2731:212230,2768:212790,2776:216140,2798:217190,2821:220014,2859:221109,2877:222569,2901:223372,2914:225051,2944:225708,2962:226438,2975:227022,2992:227314,2997:228117,3002:229796,3032:233706,3073:237024,3146:241843,3340:242238,3346:242554,3351:250138,3506:250770,3517:253061,3546:257770,3556:258683,3569:259098,3575:259430,3580:261173,3609:272670,3711
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sharon Haynie's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sharon Haynie lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sharon Haynie describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sharon Haynie talks about her maternal grandfather, William Penn

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sharon Haynie talks about her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sharon Haynie describe the importance of her maternal grandfather, William Penn

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sharon Haynie talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sharon Haynie talks about her mother's career in the Baltimore Police Department

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sharon Haynie describes her mother's decision to leave the Baltimore Police Department and to become a claims investigator

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sharon Haynie describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sharon Haynie talks about her father's time in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sharon Haynie describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sharon Haynie talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sharon Haynie describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sharon Haynie describes the neighborhoods of Baltimore, Maryland where she grew up

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sharon Haynie describes the first home her family owned

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sharon Haynie talks about being given independent reading and math during elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sharon Haynie remembers the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sharon Haynie talks about her elementary schools

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sharon Haynie talks about her elementary school mentor

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sharon Haynie describes her independent math course in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sharon Haynie talks about junior high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sharon Haynie talks about the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sharon Haynie talks about the 1969 moon landing

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sharon Haynie describes when she decided to become a research scientist

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sharon Haynie talks about her high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sharon Haynie describes her high school mentors

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sharon Haynie describes her extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sharon Haynie describes how she chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sharon Haynie describes how she chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sharon Haynie recalls her time at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sharon Haynie describes her work as a chemistry lab assistant at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sharon Haynie describes the influence of Dr. Phoebe Leboy pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sharon Haynie describes the influence of Dr. Phoebe Leboy pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sharon Haynie talks about Dr. Allen McDermott

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sharon Haynie describes why she chose the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sharon Haynie describes how she picked Dr. George Whitesides as her graduate adviser at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sharon Haynie talks about her graduate research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sharon Haynie talks about environmental stewardship in chemistry

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sharon Haynie describes how she was recruited by Bell Laboratories

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sharon Haynie talks about collaboration in science

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sharon Haynie talks about the diversity programs at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sharon Haynie describes why she moved from Bell Laboratories to DuPont

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sharon Haynie talks about her research at DuPont

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sharon Haynie describes her research on vein replacement materials

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sharon Haynie describes her work with antimicrobial materials

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sharon Haynie talks about her research on amphiphilic helices

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sharon Haynie talks about her involvement in Project SEED

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sharon Haynie describes the 3G Process

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sharon Haynie describes her involvement in the American Chemical Society and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sharon Haynie describes receiving the Presidential Green Challenge Award

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sharon Haynie describes Green Chemistry research

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sharon Haynie talks about winning the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineer's Henry Hill Award

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sharon Haynie reflects on her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Sharon Haynie offers advice for young people interested in chemistry

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Sharon Haynie explains why she went into industry rather than academics

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Sharon Haynie reflects on her life

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Sharon Haynie describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Sharon Haynie talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Sharon Haynie talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Sharon Haynie describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
Sharon Haynie describes her work as a chemistry lab assistant at the University of Pennsylvania
Sharon Haynie talks about her research on amphiphilic helices
Transcript
Now, what did you work on as a lab assistant (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$Well, I had several research projects. So I was sort of a rolling stone, if you will. I didn't work in the same laboratory for all three and a half years I was there at Penn [University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. I thought it was important to get a sampling of different research experience. So for the first year, I worked with an organic chemist, but she was also doing some enzymology. She was making molecules that would be inhibitors for an enzyme. And this was exactly the area that I was interested in. So I did that for the first year, and then I came back to Baltimore [Maryland] that summer, and I worked as a telephone operator, as I had done during high school. But in the second year, I wanted to expose myself to another science which might lead to a summer position. So I then worked for, in the Department of Engineering for the then, Dean of the Department of Biochemical Engineering, and I worked with a graduate student doing fermentations. They were using cells and breaking them up to make single-cell protein. So they were interested in converting biomass to something more useful, which was a theme that, at the time, you know, probably didn't make a lot of sense to me, and it's only, you know, twenty or thirty years later that I realize that these were some of the pioneers in doing some biochemical engineering work that became very important and also as a theme in my own research career. And in that group, working with Dr. Humphrey, it was Arthur Humphrey's group, I became exposed to more of the dynamics of working in a large research group where they have retreats, regular seminars. It was more of a community, and I got exposed to that. And so that was of interest. Then I had two additional research experiences which were more singular in terms of, I was the dynamic--I was the only undergraduate in the organization. So the next was with Dr. Brittan Chance. He was a world-renowned spectroscopist. He also I think had won--I don't know if he, he was sailor. I'm not sure I he had won a cup, but he was a sailor. He was also known as a sailor. He was also very well known as a sailor. And that was a very interesting experience 'cause I was--he didn't even have graduate students. He only had post-docs in his laboratory. And I just worked independently. I worked under a post-doc, Jerry [Jeremy] Smith and just learned how to work on my own. And what was interesting in that experience was that I really didn't know what I was doing. I mean, and I will own that to this day. I mean I did spectroscopy and I could talk about the fundamental principles. They were doing some very basic work in trying to develop support of a theory of electron transport in cell membranes. And so I understood exactly what they were trying to get at, but exactly how my research connected to what they were trying to support in terms of the theory was very vague to me at that time. But I got a grounding in terms of how, sort of the mechanisms of doing fluorescence spectroscopy, and again, that whole experience in Dr. Chance's lab, I think speaks to my sort of fearlessness in sort of going and working independently without having much of guidance and mentorship, even if it didn't prove to be ultimately fruitful. I think I would have flourished more had I had someone--cause Brittan Chance certainly wasn't gonna play the role. He would come in occasionally. He worked sort of odd hours and asked me how things were going. But he was like a god. And, you know, just to, you know, sort of indulge this undergraduate working in his laboratory and, you know, wrote me a very nice reference, obviously, for graduate school, but I think I would have flourished more had I had someone who was more engaging one-on-one. But he was a very hands-off, sort of aloof person.$I have a note here about amphi-- amphiphilic helices--$$Amphiphilic helices, yeah, these were the--(simultaneous)--$$Helices, right.$$Right. These were a type of molecule that, that were antimicrobial, that is, they killed microbes, various different types of microbes, but this particular class of microbes formed a certain shape, if they were in the right environment. And so they formed a helix, so it's like a coil. You think of like a coil for a spring. So they formed a coil and they're called amphiphilic because along--so the coil, let's pretend the coil is like going in this direction. On one side of the coil, they have a charge that attracts it to surfaces. It's got, they have a positive charge, and on the other side of the coil, they have like a greasy part of the molecule that's hanging off. And it's, this particular shape, this amphiphilic helix is a theme that happens often in molecules that disrupt the exterior of microbes. And so I looked at studying this particular class of molecule and putting them on material surfaces to see if I anchor them on the top of a material that could become a carpet or a piece of clothing, if that would disrupt a microbe if it came in contact with it.$$And did it work?$$Yes, it did, and--$$Okay, you're--$$And what was very gratifying was that that work was inspired by a class of molecules that was discovered by a scientist out of the, at the time he was at the NIH [National Institutes of Health], Michael Zasloff, and his work inspired me. He found, it was, just an anecdote. He was doing some work and found that frog excreted a molecule which ultimately he called magainins, he then went off to form a pharmaceutical company, actually, outside of here in Philadelphia. And I met him for the first time. So he inspired me, he actually inspired the one patent which I'm the sole author on, and I met him for the first time three weeks ago at a Gordon Research Conference on antimicrobial peptides. And I had a poster to talk about my work--these Gordon conferences are fairly small and intimate. You have scientists coming from all over the world. And he came over--and I was dying to meet him. So this was like the second day of the conference 'cause he sat, like he was sort of the grandfather of this whole area. He was sitting in the front row of the lecture hall, and I, you know, knew that at some point during the conference, I would have to go over and introduce myself and just to acknowledge how important his discovery, you know, was an inspiration to me and my science at that particular part of my science. And in standing with my poster, he came up to me and hugged me and acknowledged how my patent had caught the attention of, caught his attention and other people in his company and some funders because, you know, it represented, you know, something they didn't think, at least conceptually, was possible. And so it was just a great affirmation for me, I mean to have, you know, a giant in the field, you know, make that connection--$$Indeed, for you both.$$Yes, yeah, yeah, so it was--$$And actually, you know, patent something and prove something that he did was useful where--$$Yes, absolutely.$$--where it hadn't been proven before-- I mean, hadn't been thought--(simultaneous)--$$Absolutely, yes, yeah, yeah. So that was, you know, even though I've long moved away from that particular science, I mean that was in '90 [1990], it was in the early '90s [1990s], '92 [1992] to '96 [1996], I think for me were the formative part of my work in that area. I sort of consulted loosely to a group that started up at DuPont in that area, sort of 2000, 2005. So it was just a, for me, just wonderful to have that affirmation. So, yeah.

Albert Stewart

Chemist and chemistry professor Albert C. Stewart was born on November 25, 1919. Stewart received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1942. He was drafted into the U.S. Navy in 1945 and was among a select group of African American sea men trained as officers. Following his tour of duty, Stewart returned to the United States and enrolled at the University of Chicago. In 1948, he received his M.S. degree in chemistry; and, in 1949, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the U.S. Navy. Stewart earned his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from St. Louis University in 1951.

From 1949 to 1963, Stewart held teaching appointments at St. Louis University, Knoxville College, and John Carroll University where he taught chemistry and physics. In 1951, Stewart began his thirty-three year long career at Union Carbide Corporation as a senior chemist in the nuclear division. In 1960, Stewart became the assistant director of research and held several leadership positions until his departure in 1984. He was appointed as an associate professor and named as the associate dean in the Ancell School of Business at Western Connecticut State University. From 1987 until 1989, Stewart served as the acting dean and remained as an associate professor of marketing. In 1999, he became Professor Emeritus at Western Connecticut State University.

In 1966, Stewart received the University of Chicago Alumni Citation Award. Stewart is a member of a number of professional and academic societies, including the Radiation Research Society, the American Marketing Association, and the American Chemical Society where he is an emeritus member. He was a fellow of the American Institute of Chemists. He has also served as an advisor, consultant and on the Board of Directors of several organizations, including U.S. Department of Commerce, NASA, and the Urban League, respectively.

Albert C. Stewart was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 9, 2013.

Stewart passed away on October 13, 2016.

Accession Number

A2013.059

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/9/2013

Last Name

Stewart

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

C.

Schools

Saint Louis University

University of Chicago

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Albert

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

STE15

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caneel Bay Plantation, U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Birth Date

11/25/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Haven

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

10/13/2016

Short Description

Chemist and military officer Albert Stewart (1919 - 2016 ) is Professor Emeritus at Western Connecticut State University and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he served from 1944-1956.

Employment

St. Louis University

Knoxville College

John Carroll University

Western Connecticut State University

Kanthal Corp.

Executive Register, Inc.

Execom

Foundation for Social Justice in South Africa

Union Carbide Corporation

United States Naval Reserve

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Albert Stewart's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Albert Stewart lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Albert Stewart describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Albert Stewart talks about her mother's growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Albert Stewart describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Albert Stewart talks about his father's growing up in Maryland and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Albert Stewart talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Albert Stewart talks about his parents eloping, their life in Detroit, Michigan and their decision to move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Albert Stewart talks about his father's employment in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Albert Stewart talks about his father's employment at Sherwin-Williams in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Albert Stewart talks about getting a job as a resin researcher at Sherwin-Williams in Chicago, Illinois, and being drafted for World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Albert Stewart describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Albert Stewart talks about his parents' homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Albert Stewart talks about receiving a double promotion in elementary school, and graduating early from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Albert Stewart talks about growing up in the West Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago and White City amusement park

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Albert Stewart describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Albert Stewart talks about the Chicago American Giants baseball team and attending their baseball games on Sundays

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Albert Stewart talks about African Americans moving to Chicago from the South, and his father's job as a carpenter who remodeled homes

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Albert Stewart talks about attending baseball games in Chicago, and recalls Prohibition in Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Albert Stewart talks about his childhood jobs as a milk delivery boy and as a newspaper delivery boy for the 'Chicago defender'

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Albert Stewart describes his experience in elementary school and his interest in math and spelling

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Albert Stewart talks about his experience in school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Albert Stewart talks about the racial division in school and in the city of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Albert Stewart talks about his interest in chemistry and the schools for the black students in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Albert Stewart talks about graduating from high school, attending Wilson Junior College, and working on the railroad

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Albert Stewart describes how he decided to attend the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Albert Stewart talks about walking to the University of Chicago every day from his parents' home

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Albert Stewart talks about working to support his education at the University of Chicago, and the help that he received from the Rotary Club

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Albert Stewart talks about his experience at the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Albert Stewart describes his experience while working at Sherwin-Williams

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Albert Stewart talks about his draft to the U.S. Navy during World War II, and attending boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Albert Stewart talks about his mother wanting him to play the saxophone and his parents' skepticism of his prospects as a scientist

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Albert Stewart describes how he got commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1945 - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Albert Stewart describes how he got commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1945 - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Albert Stewart describes his assignment and experience on a U.S. Navy fleet oiler towards the end of World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Albert Stewart talks about his experience aboard a U.S. Navy fleet oiler in China and Japan, and going into inactive duty

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Albert Stewart talks about how he became a research assistant at St. Louis University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Albert Stewart talks about getting married

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Albert Stewart talks about his master's degree research on vacuum systems and getting a job as a research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Albert Stewart describes his experience at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Albert Stewart talks about the racial climate in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the 1950s, and how it affected him and his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Albert Stewart talks about his experience at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the racial politics there, and how he was hired at Union Carbide Company

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Albert Stewart talks about his Ph.D. dissertation research in boron chemistry

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Albert Stewart talks about his experience at National Carbon Company in the 1950s

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Albert Stewart talks about his getting promoted to the marketing department at National Carbon Company

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Albert Stewart talks about his patents

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Albert Stewart talks about his experience in the marketing department at Union Carbide Company

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Albert Stewart talks about his services as a National Sales Manager and director of University Relations for Union Carbide Company in 1980

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Albert Stewart talks about teaching at Western Connecticut State University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Albert Stewart talks about serving as the vice president of the Foundation for Social Justice in South Africa, and his international travels

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Albert Stewart describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Albert Stewart reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Albert Stewart talks about his wife

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Albert Stewart talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Albert Stewart describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$3

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Albert Stewart talks about his experience at National Carbon Company in the 1950s
Albert Stewart talks about the racial division in school and in the city of Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
Okay, all right. So 1956.$$Six, yes.$$You're on your way to Cleveland to--now you're going to Cleveland to work with Union Carbide [Company]?$$National Carbon [Company].$$National Carbon?$$Yeah. And that was--they were connected to Ever Ready Battery Company too.$$Okay. All right, well tell us what happened in Cleveland?$$Hmm?$$Tell us about Cleveland?$$Well I started radiation chemistry there and had, got a radiation source like the one we had down in Oak Ridge and did all sorts of experiments but my main function was to be a group leader. And I hired, got some people from Oak Ridge, I mean from, not Oak Ridge, from St. Louis University and others and did a variety of experiments that were not classified but Union Carbide property. And things were going great there until Carbide decided to split up and split up some things. They sold the Ever Ready Battery Company and gave me a promotion to New York City. Well they promoted me and the laboratory they were going to send me to was in Niagara Falls, but they decided instead to send me to New York City. And when did Kennedy [John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, 35th President of the United States] get assassinated?$$Nineteen sixty-three.$$Nineteen--?$$--sixty-three.$$--sixty three?$$Yes sir.$$I was in New York trying to decide what sort of research we were going to do and I had just been to the library and was walking down the street in Manhattan and I heard this report. I had an interesting time because, in New York City because they wanted me to, when I was looking for an apartment, the real estate people wanted me to move to Harlem. And--because we're now in a desegregation period, I said uh-uh, served my time there. We're desegregating communities, want to move to Manhattan. So they wanted to send me to a plant that, oh the aluminum--Alcoa was building in, near Harlem and I wouldn't go there. And finally ended up in a place where I could walk to work. So I started walking to work--$$So where was that in New York? Where was, this is--?$$On the west side.$$Okay.$$West 65th Street.$$Okay.$$But that was an adventure in itself because then we ended up deciding that we wanted to buy something and well, I worked in Chicago. I mean, Chicago--worked in Manhattan and they had changes. And I got promoted again to--out of science into a marketing department.$So did you run for a class office or anything like that or--?$$No, I didn't. In fact, we hardly, the black kids hardly talked to the white kids. At the, at Englewood [High School, Chicago, Illinois], remember there was little money around. There was a White Castle on 63rd Street and you got a hamburger--I remember they used to have a hamburger sales thing and you could get five hamburgers for some cheap price, I forget what it was. But I'd do that. But mainly instead of going to the school cafeteria on one side of the school nearest the South--the Wentworth and South Park side, there was a guy who rented a build--apartment that had food for the black students. And there was a guy who made fried pies. He sold fried pies and such stuff to the black kids. Well the black kids didn't go to the--there was another white guy who had also a store and so the kid, white kids who didn't have any money went to that instead of the cafeteria. And only rich kids went to the cafeteria. Pardon me. [Coughing] But there was no real association with the white students in Englewood. The black girls had started school in West, pardon me, in West Woodlawn. The professional people, the doctors, lawyers and so forth their daughters had school--had clubs. And they gave dances and the like at Bacon's Casino. And while the white kids were going to the Stevens Hotel and the blacks were not welcome. Blacks were not welcome in these big hotels and never on the North Side. When what's her name, the celebrated black woman who lived on the North Side, the television person.$$Oh god, you got me.$$You know of recent who bought--$$Oprah?$$Huh?$$Oprah Winfrey?$$Yeah, she was--I was so surprised when it turned out she was living on the north side because I always thought of that as a big division in Chicago. In fact, from, till 12th Street on the South Side, below 12th Street on the, in Chicago that was all white, nothing but.$$Okay.$$When you were growing up could you go past 63rd Street south? Did you go south of 63rd?$$Down 63rd Street?$$Yeah, did--no, did any black people live south of 63rd?$$Down--$$No.$$Below? No, 63rd Street was the dividing line. From 63rd to Washington Park was white between South Park and Cottage Grove. And that didn't turn over for quite a--never while I was growing up. And the big fight with West Woodlawn was the kids that lived at 58th and Calumet and over in there.$$Okay.

William Davis

Research chemist and chemistry professor William C. Davis was born on August 22, 1926 in Waycross Georgia to parents Kenice and Laura Jane Davis. In 1941, Davis moved to New York City to live with his brother, Ossie Davis, and attend college. Following graduation from Dwight High School in 1945, Davis attended City College of New York and New York University before enrolling at Talladega College in Florida. Davis left school and briefly served as second lieutenant of engineers in the Korean War. Returning to Talladega College after the War, Davis earned his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1956. Davis went on to earn his M.S. degree in organic chemistry from Tuskegee Institute in 1958 and his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of Idaho in 1965.

Upon graduation, Davis was appointed research director at Physicians Medical Laboratories. As director, Davis is credited with discoveries leading to or improving numerous amenities, among them the potato chip, the instant mashed potato, soft serve ice cream, and the organic glue that holds together wood-chip and particle board. Davis’ research has been public in academic journals such as, Journal of Medical Technology and European Journal of Pharmacology. From 1974 to 1975, Davis continued research as a visiting scientist at the George Hyman Research Institute in Washington, D.C.; and again between 1976 and 1982 when he was a research associate at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Davis was named full professor of chemistry at St. Philip's College in 1995. In addition he served as chair of the Natural Sciences Department and director of Renewable Energy. When Davis retired in August 2009, he was named professor emeritus of the natural science department; and, the science building at St. Philip's College was named in his honor.

Davis professional and academic affiliations include the American Chemical Society, the Health Physicist Society, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His is a recipient of Tuskegee Institute’s George Washington Carver Fellowship, the U.S. Armed Force’s Purple Heart Medal, and was inducted to the Texas Hall of Fame in 2000.

Davis and his wife, Ocia, live in San Antonio, Texas. They have two children: Mark Alan and Cheryl Elise.

William C. Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 1, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.029

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/30/2013 |and| 2/1/2013

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Conan

Schools

Tuskegee University

Talladega College

City College of New York

Dwight High School, Manhattan

Dasher High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Waycross

HM ID

DAV28

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Waycross, Georgia

Favorite Quote

You never could tell what thoughts and actions would do in bringing you hate or love. For thoughts of things will have wings and they will travel like a carrier dove. Each thing must creates it's kind as it travels over the track to bring back whatever is left out of your mind.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

8/22/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

San Antonio

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Rice, Chicken, Green Beans

Short Description

Chemist and chemistry professor William Davis (1926 - ) is professor emeritus of the natural science department at St. Philip's College.

Employment

St. Phillips College

Immutech, Inc.

University of Texas Health Science Center

College of Naturopathy

Warner Pacific College

United Medical Laboratories

University of Washington

Favorite Color

Brown

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Davis' interview - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Davis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about his mother's family background, part 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about his mother's family background, part 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about his mother's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Davis talks about his mother's interests and educational aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Davis talks about his father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Davis talks about his father's family background - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Davis talks about his father and his business relationship with Alex Sessoms

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about his father's education and his grandfather's religious affiliation

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about his parents and his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about his brother and his father's influence, part 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Davis talks about his brother and his father's influence, part 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Davis talks about his father's social beliefs

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Davis talks about his siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Davis describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about his childhood home in Georgia and remembers his Ethiopian family's visits

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Davis describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about his father's business and his attitude towards white people

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about Fonza Curry's involvement in a plot to kill his father, Kince Davis - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Davis talks about Fonza Curry's involvement in a plot to kill his father, Kince Davis - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Davis talks about the schools that he and his siblings attended

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Davis talks about his grammar school teachers, music, and his principal

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about his childhood fascination with his father's profession as an herbalist

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about his favorite grade school teachers

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about his performance in grade school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about why his high school ended at grade eleven

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Davis talks about visiting the Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Davis talks about meeting George Washington Carver and his father's interests in plants

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Davis talks about his father's cars, Henry Ford, and traveling to Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about his science instruction at Dasher High School

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about his decision to finish high school in New York and his brother, Ossie Davis' interest in the theatre

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about his academics and his overall experience at Dwight High School

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about his mentor, Jake Fishman, and his interest in the relationship between science, religion and philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Davis talks about his teachers at the City College of New York and his decision to transfer to Talladega College

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about his experience at Talladega College and being drafted into the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about his interest in music, his appreciation of Albert Schweitzer, and his experience in Germany

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about his experience in the U.S. Army and his interest in music

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Davis reflects on his experience at Talladega College

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Davis talks about his academics and his professors at Talladega College

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about his mentor, Dr. Clarence T. Mason

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about one of his peers' views on space colonization

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about his research and his decision to continue his graduate studies in Idaho, part 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about his research and his decision to continue his graduate studies in Idaho, part 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William Davis talks about his journey from Alabama to Idaho

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William Davis talks about traveling through Utah and his attempt to visit the Mormon Tabernacle

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about his journey to Washington State University

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about his experience in Idaho

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about his research at Washington State University - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about his research at Washington State University - part two

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William Davis talks about the research philosophy of scientists

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Slating of William Davis' interview - part two

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about the space colonization theory and Dr. Wernher von Braun

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about meeting Albert Schweitzer and his interest in playing the organ

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about his doctoral research on potatoes

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about his clinical research at a mail-order laboratory with Dr. Roy M. Chatters

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - William Davis talks about how he became a health physicist and nuclear chemist

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - William Davis talks about his certification in medical technology and his publication on blood tests

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - William Davis talks about the controversy regarding the clinical research at United Medical Labs

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about the establishment of the Albina Healthcare Center, and his work with the Black Panthers

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about his professional activities - part one

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about health care providers

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about his professional activities - part two

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - William Davis talks about working with Dr. Lehman

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about working with Dr. Lehman in the hospital setting

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about his interest in teaching and how he was introduced to St. Philips College

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about his research on the psychoactive drug, Valium

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about his professional activities, part 3

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - William Davis talks about St. Philips College

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - William Davis talks about the demographics of St. Philips College

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - William Davis talks about the Penta Water Company

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about the molecular theory and processing of the Penta Water

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - William Davis talks about the unique chemical properties of kinetic water

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - William Davis talks about presenting his research to the community

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - William Davis explains the processes of osmosis, osmotic pressure, and isotonicity

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - William Davis talks about the benefits of kinetic water and the tendencies of nature

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - William Davis talks about nature, and considers the implications of Hurricane Sandy not destroying churches

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - William Davis talks about having a building named in his honor at St. Philips College

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - William Davis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - William Davis reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - William Davis talks about his family

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - William Davis reflects upon his life choices and talks about his musical interests

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - William Davis talks about how he would like to be remembered

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
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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.

Fillmore Freeman

Organic chemist and chemistry professor Fillmore Freeman was born in 1936 in Lexington, Mississippi. Freeman earned his high school diploma from John Marshall High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1953. In 1957, he graduated summa cum laude from Central State College in Wilberforce, Ohio, with his B.S. degree, and then went on to pursue his graduate studies at Michigan State University, where he received his Ph.D. degree in physical organic chemistry in 1962.

After a brief stint working with a private firm, Freeman served as a National Institutes of Health Fellow at Yale University in 1964. The following year, he became an assistant professor of at California State University at Long Beach. During this time, the school expanded its chemistry and biochemistry programs to accommodate the growing interest in these fields. In 1973, Freeman became a professor of chemistry at the University of California at Irvine, where he continued to work for the duration of his professional career. With his background in physical organic chemistry, Freeman has conducted research on a number of topics, including organic synthesis pathways and reactions, particularly those of cyclic compounds. His research has also relied heavily on the use of computational chemistry. In 1991, Freeman was the recipient of a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the biochemical properties of allicin, a component of garlic chemistry. Freeman’s work has had a strong emphasis in isolating, researching and synthesizing compounds with anti-tumor and anti-viral properties.

Freeman has received much recognition for his work in the field of physical organic chemistry. He was named an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow and a Fulbright-Hayes Senior Research Fellow. He also had the opportunity to serve as a visiting professor at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry and the University of Paris. Author of numerous academic papers, Freeman was identified as the third most highly cited African American chemist in a 2002 report by Oklahoma State University.

Fillmore Freeman was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 29, 2011.

Accession Number

A2012.203

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/27/2012

Last Name

Freeman

Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

John Marshall Metropolitan High School

Central State University

Michigan State University

Yale University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Fillmore

Birth City, State, Country

Lexington

HM ID

FRE06

Favorite Season

None

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Berlin, Germany, Spain

Favorite Quote

The time before memories.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/10/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Organic chemist and chemistry professor Fillmore Freeman (1936 - ) joined the faculty of California State University in 1973. He has conducted significant research in the field of physical organic chemistry, particularly in the synthesis and structural understanding of potential anti-tumor and anti-viral compounds.

Employment

University of California, Irvine

California State University, Long Beach

California Research Corporation

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Université de Paris VII

Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles

Max-Planck-Institut

Favorite Color

Blue, Earth Tones

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Fillmore Freeman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Fillmore Freeman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Fillmore Freeman describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Fillmore Freeman describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fillmore Freeman talks about segregation and slavery in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his paternal family owning land in Mississippi, and his father's role as a Baptist minister

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his father's training to become a Baptist minister

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his parents moving to Chicago, his mother's death, his father remarrying, and his four siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fillmore Freeman talks about the socio-economic dynamics of skin color in the African American community

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fillmore Freeman lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fillmore Freeman describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fillmore Freeman talks about moving to Chicago when he was five years old, and his early experience there

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fillmore Freeman describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fillmore Freeman talks about the Chicago public school system, and the condition of the city's housing projects in the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fillmore Freeman describes his experience in Catholic school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Fillmore Freeman talks about gang activity in Chicago in the 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fillmore Freeman talks about leaving Chicago in 1953

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fillmore Freeman talks about graduating from elementary school and attending high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fillmore Freeman talks about attending his father's church as a child, and his perspective on religion

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his parents' employment in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his jobs as a youngster in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fillmore Freeman describes his experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fillmore Freeman talks about Maxwell Street in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Fillmore Freeman talks about playing basketball in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his academic performance in high school and the pressures of life for African Americans who lived in the housing projects

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fillmore Freeman describes his studies and his extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fillmore Freeman describes his decision to attend Central State University, and his involvement in the ROTC Program

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his professors at Central State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Fillmore Freeman talks about Charles Wesley, HistoryMaker, Alice Windom, and segregation in Wilberforce and Xenia, Ohio in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Fillmore Freeman describes his decision to pursue a doctoral degree at Michigan State University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Fillmore Freeman describes his Ph.D. dissertation on tetracyanocyclopropanes chemistry

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Fillmore Freeman talks about the interest in cyclopropane chemistry in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Fillmore Freeman describes being involved in a serious laboratory accident at Michigan State University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his recovery from a serious laboratory accident in 1959 - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Fillmore Freeman talks about meeting his wife in Chicago, and getting married in 1959

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his recovery from a serious laboratory accident in 1959 - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Fillmore Freeman describes his decision to work at Standard Oil of California, and his experience there

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Fillmore Freeman describes his experience as a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University and his decision to work at California State University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Fillmore Freeman talks about the lack of African American faculty and students at the University of California, Irvine

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his sabbatical at the University of Paris, and accepting a tenured position at the University of California, Irvine

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Fillmore Freeman describes his research on using chemical compounds to combat Chagas disease

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his involvement with NOBCChE

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Fillmore Freeman describes his experience in Paris in 1972

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Fillmore Freeman describes the university system in California

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his early research in synthetic organic chemistry, screening chemical compounds against HIV, and his work on carbenes

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his sabbatical at the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1976

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his experience on sabbatical at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Fillmore Freeman describes his experience at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and at Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles in France

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Fillmore Freeman talks about the African American demographics at the University of California, Irvine

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Fillmore Freeman talks about serving as a visiting scientist and program director of organic and macromolecular chemistry at the NSF in 1989

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Fillmore Freeman describes his research in the area of organosulfur chemistry, and his collaboration with Professor Eloy Rodriguez

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Fillmore Freeman talks about the health benefits of garlic and its component compounds - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Fillmore Freeman talks about the health benefits of garlic and its component compounds - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his report on the properties of di-tert-butyl chromate in the Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Fillmore Freeman talks about the dwindling number of African American faculty in chemistry departments across the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Fillmore Freeman describes the field of computational chemistry, and its applications in medicine and in the pharmaceutical industry

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Fillmore Freeman shares his perspectives on the impact of computers on society and the future of physical organic chemistry

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his work to promote undergraduate chemistry research and his goals for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Fillmore Freeman reflects upon his career and his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Fillmore Freeman talks about his hobbies

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Fillmore Freeman shares how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$5

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Fillmore Freeman describes his research in the area of organosulfur chemistry, and his collaboration with Professor Eloy Rodriguez
Fillmore Freeman describes his decision to work at Standard Oil of California, and his experience there
Transcript
So it seems in 1991, it seems you received a grant of $507,750 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study tropical plants in Latin America and Africa that fight various fungal diseases, viruses and--$$Yeah, but that was in conjunction with Professor Eloy Rodriguez who was in the School of Bio [Biological] Science, so it was a joint grant.$$Okay, all right, and this is something. Did you have much experience with folk remedies growing up?$$No.$$Okay.$$Well, not experience, but I knew about them. I mean if you got sick in the old neighborhood, there's no such thing as going to a doctor. Everybody had some kind of folk remedy, many of which did not work, but that's all you could have.$$I just wondered if your family had any folk remedies, you know, that you remembered growing up?$$No, the medicine I remember most of all is Vicks VapoRub because of the way it smelled, and they'd rub it on your chest, and that's supposed to cure you when you got sick or have a cold. But that was an interesting collaboration. He's at Cornell [University, New York] now, but we inadvertently become, became sort of world experts in organosulfur chemistry. And when I was in Germany, they had some money left over. And they asked me did I want to go to a conference. And so I looked around, and in Yugoslavia, there was an organosulfur conference. And so I decided, hey, they want me to go so I will go. So I went to this conference which was on the Adriatic Sea. It's a place called Portoroz, and it's just like California. This was when Tito [President Marshal Tito] was still in power in Yugoslavia. But it was just capitalism. It was a tourist place. But it was, after being in Germany for that winter, it was so nice to get to this warm coast. And these sulfur chemists were arguing about a particular reaction intermediate called an alphadisulfoxide. So, you know, I just said, well, we'll just, we can just oxidize this and oxidize that because we know how to oxidize things. So everybody just laughed. So I came back to the [United] States after Germany. And there was a graduate student, Christos Angeletakis, a Greek fellow. And he wanted to do research with me. And we were looking for this elusive intermediate, the alphadisulfoxide. And one way to do that is to work at very low temperatures so you could (unclear) the rate of reactivity. And we were looking and we were looking. We couldn't get any spectroscopic evidence for it. But finally we did. So we became the first ones to identify or to build an alphadisulfoxide. And so we got into sulfur chemistry. Now, to get back to Professor Rodriguez, he's the big world's expert on plant chemists, chemistry. Now, there is this lady, Goodall, who studied the chimpanzee,--$$Yeah, Jane Goodall.$$You're right. Well, when she was studying some of these chimpanzees, she noted that they would eat leaves from a certain plant. They would just keep the leaves in their mouths. They wouldn't chew it. They'd spit it out. Some of them swallowed it. And so it turned out that some Canadian chemist was interested in this, Professor Rodriguez. And so they started isolating the chemical components of this particular plant. And it turns out that the significant component was some brilliant red compound. It had a six-membered ring and all kinds of things on the side. But in the six-membered ring, they had two sulfur atoms. So since we were thought to be world experts on organosulfur chemistry, and that's when I started collaborating with Professor Rodriguez. Again, all unplanned, but, you know, we've done a lot of sulfur chemistry.$Now, what did you do between '62 [1962] and '64 [1964]?$$I worked for Standard Oil of California. This is in the Bay Area [San Francisco, California], and it's a little--there's Berkeley and next to Berkeley is a little town called Richmond. And next to that, there's a bridge that goes from Richmond over to Marin County. And that's where the Standard Oil refinery was. At that time, Standard Oil had a lot of administrative offices over on Bush Street in San Francisco. And so I worked there for two years, and one of the reasons I went to work there was because they promised that we were gonna do basic research as opposed to industrial research. Well, there were about eleven of us in basic research. And that lasts for six months. After that, as with any big company, profits drive everything. And so we used to have these, what we called "dog and pony" shows where the people from Bush Street would come over, and we'd tell 'em what we're doing. And all they wanna know is how much money is that gonna make us. And so basically, during that two-year period, almost all of us had moved over, moved from basic research over to some industrial routine kind of work. And out of the eleven of us, nine of us left, and became professors somewhere in the United States because, again, we had wanted to do basic research. In industry, at that time, Standard Oil was one of the big people in the detergent industry because when they would crack petroleum to get these low molecular weight compounds, we all alkanes, and they could just put--and alkenes, and they could just put a sulfonate group on it. So you needed alkane, alkene that's nonpolar and a sulfonate group that's polar. So this is how you make suds and things. The non-polar part gets out the dirt and the oil and the polar part (unclear) solubility. But these things would not break down easily in the environment. Streams were getting blocked and plugged up, and so we were just looking for ways to improve making those, but also to make alternatives. So what you would do is to run a reaction and then you have to try all different concentrations. So it's routine, the same thing. Then you'd try different temperatures. Then you'd add, change one reagent, and so industrial chemistry is necessary from the profit motive. But intellectually, it's not very challenging. It's very routine. And so that's when I left to go back to Yale [University, New Haven, Connecticut] when I got a National Institutes of Health [NIH] post-doctoral fellowship.$$Okay, this is in 1964?$$Right.$$Okay, so this is a post-doc at Yale University in New Haven [Connecticut]. And--$$Now, the California Research Corporation eventually became the Chevron Research Corporation. And so--$$Oh, the California, I mean the Standard Oil?$$Right, the California Research Corporation was the research arm of Standard Oil.$$Okay.$$And so now it is the Chevron Research Corporation. And, of course, getting a job there was a big deal because growing up in Chicago [Illinois], I had always wanted to live in California. But that was also part of the big migration in the United States to the West. And there were not many jobs for chemists at that time. Shell had a facility at Emeryville which is north of San Francisco. And in Albany, California, there was a government lab. So basically, those three labs, California Research Corporation, Shell and the government lab were the only ones that were hiring people. So everybody was trying to get to the West Coast. And that's when I was in Detroit [Michigan]. I went from Lansing [Michigan] to Detroit. It was 13 [degree Fahrenheit] below [zero]. Got to San Francisco. This is in January on my interview trip. And they were having a heat wave. It was 88 degrees. Now, even since being a little kid, growing up in Chicago, I know I'm going to California. And that trip just solidified everything. There's no way I wanted to live back in the Midwest or where there was cold weather.

Joseph Gordon, II

Research chemist and research manager Joseph Grover Gordon, II, was born on December 25, 1945 in Nashville, Tennessee to Joseph Grover, Sr. Juanita Elizabeth (Tarlton) Gordon. He is one of four children, including Eric Rodney, Craig Stephen, and Rhea Juanita. After briefly attending Atkins High School in North Carolina, Gordon went on to graduate from the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy in 1963. Gordon earned his A.B. degree in chemistry and physics from Harvard College in 1966. He received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970.

After finishing his graduate education, Gordon worked at the California Institute of Technology as an assistant professor in the Chemistry Department. In 1975, he began working as a research staff member at Almaden Research Center (IBM Research) and was promoted to interfacial electrochemistry manager in IBM’s Applied Materials Division in 1990. There, Gordon managed a research staff team and contributed greatly to the fields of materials science and electrochemistry. Between 1975 and 1994, Gordon established a program in fundamental electrochemistry that developed solid: liquid interface. From 2004 to 2009 Gordon Developed an exploratory battery materials research program and evaluated new battery technology for ThinkPad strategic planning in Raleigh, North Carolina and development in Yamato, Japan. In 2009, Gordon was hired as the senior director for the advanced technology group in at Applied Materials, Inc. Throughout his career, Gordon has published numerous research papers in leading scientific journals, such as Physical Review Letters and Sensors and Actuators A: Physical.

Gordon is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Chemical Society, Society for Analytical Chemistry, Electrochemical Society, and the National Research Council. Throughout his career, Gordon has shown a continued commitment to scientific research and has credited with twelve United States Patents. Gordon has been recognized many times for his work. In 1993, he was awarded the Black Engineer for Outstanding technical Achievement, and in 1993 the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers awarded Gordon the Percy L. Julian Award. Gordon and his wife, Ruth M., reside in San Jose, California.
Joseph G. Gordon, II was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 7, 2012.

Joseph Gordon passed away on September 13, 2013.

Accession Number

A2012.242

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/8/2012

Last Name

Gordon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Grover

Occupation
Schools

St. Vincent de Moor

Fort Bragg Elementary School

St. Benedict The Moor

Phillips Exeter Academy

Exeter Community Day School

Harvard University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Atkins Academic and Technology High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Joseph

Birth City, State, Country

Nashville

HM ID

GOR03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere With Friends

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/25/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Jose

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Black-Eyed peas

Death Date

9/13/2013

Short Description

Chemist Joseph Gordon, II (1945 - 2013 ) is credited with twelve United States patents for developing solid liquid interface technologies and the battery materials research programs for IBM ThinkPad computers.

Employment

California Institute of Technology

Almaden Research Center (IBM Research)

Applied Materials (Firm)

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:814,9:1190,14:2130,28:2976,39:3822,50:9370,121:11610,163:17420,279:17770,285:19730,331:30894,479:63860,786:65260,810:73340,893:83560,1077:83980,1084:86100,1100:88684,1120:89832,1143:92760,1156:95440,1183:95740,1190:95990,1196:98690,1229:99810,1259:100290,1270:103258,1299:110940,1404:115034,1463:122566,1539:128827,1650:129229,1657:129698,1666:129966,1671:133090,1701:133986,1719:139562,1814:140588,1853:142530,1882:142750,1887:146580,1940:147180,1954:147630,1961:147930,1966:149330,1973$0,0:1588,17:1956,22:2416,28:7844,116:10696,157:11984,181:18640,216:19000,221:19810,233:24860,301:28412,385:28782,391:29152,397:40510,562:42148,594:42904,608:51476,703:51788,710:52048,716:53570,723:54290,733:55250,747:56050,755:58130,786:59170,800:63554,859:67031,964:67487,975:78613,1039:80365,1072:87592,1207:89052,1236:89709,1246:96964,1333:97391,1341:109470,1509:117185,1621:117493,1626:119716,1644:121648,1684:122476,1692:124776,1713:125420,1721:130940,1801:131400,1807:137323,1898:137737,1904:139669,1965:140704,2010:143050,2066:161640,2207:162690,2230:163530,2244:164580,2265:165140,2275:168872,2312:169116,2317:170641,2342:171312,2356:171922,2367:176518,2392:184729,2591:194893,2751:195177,2756:200786,2887:207174,3003:210216,3072:225960,3224
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joseph Gordon's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joseph Gordon lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joseph Gordon describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joseph Gordon talks about his mother's growing up in Sumter, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joseph Gordon describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joseph Gordon talks about his father's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joseph Gordon talks about his early childhood

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

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joseph Gordon describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joseph Gordon describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joseph Gordon talks about growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joseph Gordon talks about the integration of the medical societies

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joseph Gordon talks about his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joseph Gordon talks about his early interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joseph Gordon talks about his elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joseph Gordon talks about his memories of the Civil Rights Era

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joseph Gordon talks about his grade school and his family's religious background

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joseph Gordon talks about his experience at Phillips Exeter Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joseph Gordon talks about his peers at Phillips Exeter Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joseph Gordon talks about his social life at Phillips Exeter Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joseph Gordon talks about his decision to attend Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joseph Gordon discusses his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joseph Gordon talks about his advisors at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joseph Gordon talks about his decision to pursue a career in chemistry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joseph Gordon summarizes his experience at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joseph Gordon talks about living in France

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joseph Gordon talks about his professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Joseph Gordon describes his dissertation

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Joseph Gordon talks about his pre-doctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Joseph Gordon talks about his post-doctoral employment opportunities

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joseph Gordon talks about notable people at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joseph Gordon compares his experiences at the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joseph Gordon talks about his experience at the California Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joseph Gordon talks about electrochemistry and his work at IBM

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joseph Gordon talks about his professional awards

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joseph Gordon talks about his professional activities and awards

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joseph Gordon talks about the significance of NOBCChE

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joseph Gordon talks about his racial ambiguity

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joseph Gordon talks about his professional activities

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joseph Gordon talks about his career transition into more managerial roles

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joseph Gordon describes his technological contributions at IBM

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joseph Gordon talks about his career at Applied Materials Incorporated

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joseph Gordon reflects on his career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joseph Gordon talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joseph Gordon reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joseph Gordon talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joseph Gordon talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Joseph Gordon describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Joseph Gordon talks about growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Joseph Gordon describes his technological contributions at IBM
Transcript
Okay, we were talking about sights and sounds and smells. Now, Winston-Salem [North Carolina] has a pretty active black community there. Did you live in, I mean what was, how was Winston-Salem situated? I mean what--$$Okay, yeah, actually, it was a characteristic smell there every year. It was cured tobacco. And we actually used to put the stalks on the lawn for fertilizer. So the whole place smelled of, actually, it's a quite nice smell, I think, of, curing and cured tobacco. Winston-Salem at the time was about, slightly less than 50 percent black. It was, it was, quite physically divided. We lived in East Winston, which was the black part of town. We built a house on a, you know, in a circle [sic, cul-de-sac] at the end of 14th, 14th Avenue. The neighborhood was quite mixed. So in our circle, we had, the guy up the street from us was a, was a barber, next door was a physician, next door to him was a, were two college professors who taught at Winston-Salem, but TC at the time, now Winston-Salem State. There was a high school teacher, another high school teacher, a high school football and tennis coach, the high school music teacher and the elementary school music teacher. And then up the street further, you know, there were people who were, you know, there were a couple of policemen, you know, other--I'm not quite sure exactly what jobs, but they had nonprofessional jobs, the head of the [National] Urban League lived on the street, and it was, it was actually a fairly, fairly mixed sort of, sort of neighborhood, which was characteristic I think of black neighborhoods at the time. You couldn't, there wasn't enough space to have isolated, actually, you know, only professional people in one, in one area. And so we were able to walk to the school. We went to a Catholic school, and I was able to walk to high school. There was one black high school in town, one city high school and there was a county, black county high school.$Okay, okay, now, some place within your career at IBM, didn't you do something, didn't you develop a new battery or something for--$$Okay, yes, during this, about the same time, in early 2000, well, since 1990 I had been working on, with the "Think Pad" division on lithium ion batteries. And in the early, mid-'90's [1990s]--I'd have to go back and figure out the dates now, I had a small group that I actually was trying to develop a new lithium ion battery for, for portable electronics. After a while though, it became obvious, when I put together several business plans, that IBM wasn't interested in making batteries. So we, we stopped that effort also. But it turned out that the "Think Pad" people still needed technical assistance in setting standards for, for safety, the qualification standards, and there're a whole stream of new technologies coming on, and they needed somebody to help them evaluate the new technologies. So I stayed involved in that for a while. And then in the, around 2002, '03' [2003], there were a series of laptop fires that were quite publicized. And so all of the laptop companies then put together groups to investigate the cause. So every single incident was investigated. And I was the technical person for the IBM incident team who worked with the engineers in development and with outside consultants to do a failure analysis on each incident so we actually knew what was going on and could feed back to the battery manufacturer that they needed to correct some part of the manufacturing process. So that was a pretty intense operation for about, for two or two and a half years. Yeah, one year I remember I spent more than a 180 days in hotels, traveling to various places to perform the analyses.$$Now, that's between 2003 and 2005?$$I think, I think that was the time. I'd have to go back and look and--$$I remember the incidents, yeah, an Apple computer battery caught fire--$$Yeah, it caught fire at some conference--$$Yeah, and blew, yeah.$$--yeah, right, okay. And every time there was even a report of something at an IBM thing, we'd go and investigate it, whether it got into the news or not. And I also, at that stage helped with the, what series is it? I think it's the T-40 series. We put in a number of improvements in that battery pack to help reduce the severity of a failure of an individual cell, okay. And several people at research were involved in, in helping with that and to getting these things and doing simulations, doing calculations, doing experiments.$$So if it did get hot enough, it wouldn't actually flame up or something?$$Right, yes, so it wouldn't catch fire, and it wouldn't set off an adjacent cell. If you have a single-cell failure, that's usually not real serious. The big incidents happen when you have one cell set off another cell, sets off another cell. And you get all six or all nine go off.$$Okay, all right, now, but, okay, so--$$Yeah, so that actually took a lot of time. I was actually, at that time I was also the second-line manager. So that was a pretty, that was a pretty, how do I say it--fully occupied my time for a while.$$Hectic time, I guess.$$Very hectic, that's the word I'm looking for (laughter).

William Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2012.212

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/6/2012 |and| 12/2/2017

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Middle Name

M

Occupation
Schools

Catholic University of America

Morehouse College

Central High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

JAC32

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/24/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Davis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Astrophysicist William Jackson (1936 - ) was one of the founders of NOBCChE and a fellow of the APS, ACS, and AAAS. He also had an asteroid named in his honor.

Employment

University of California, Davis

University of Pittsburgh

Howard University

Diamond Ordinance Fuse Laboratory

Martin Marietta Corporation

National Bureau of Standards (NBS)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center

University of California Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

National Taiwan University

Goddard Space Flight Center

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Jackson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes his mother's family baclground

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes his father's educational background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Jackson describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Jackson talks about his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes the sights, smells, and sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes the racial climate of Birmingham, Alabama in his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Jackson talks about his home on Dynamite Hill

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes the difference between "black" and "colored"

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Jackson describes his experience with polio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his involvement in sports

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his recovery from polio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes his experience at Immaculate Catholic School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Jackson talks about his decision to attend Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his experience at Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes his social life at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Jackson talks about Dr. Benjamin Mays

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Jackson talks about Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Jackson talks about those that influenced him

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Jackson talks about his decision to attend the Catholic University of America

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his influences at the Catholic University of America

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Jackson talks about meeting is wife

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Jackson describes his research

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Jackson talks about completing his Ph.D. degree

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his work at the Martin-Marietta Company and the National Bureau of Standards

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes his work at the Goddard Space Flight Center

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes the faculty at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his work at the University of Pittsburgh

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes his inspiration for building his laser

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his work at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his decision to work at the University of California, Davis

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes his work at the University of California and abroad

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Jackson talks about efforts to produce more minority Ph.D.s in science (part 1)

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Jackson talks about efforts to produce more minority Ph.D.'s in science (part 2)

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Jackson talks about his work as Chair of the Chemistry Department at University of California, Davis

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his early interest in chemistry, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his early interest in chemistry, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William Jackson talks about his decision to become a physical chemist

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes how he came to attend Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William Jackson talks about his research assistant position at Catholic University of America

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William Jackson remembers his classmates at Catholic University of America

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William Jackson talks about his Ph.D. work at the National Bureau of Standards, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William Jackson talks about his Ph.D. work at the National Bureau of Standards, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William Jackson talks about the instruments he used in his Ph.D. work

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes the history of instruments and processes in chemistry

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes his work at Martin Marietta Corporation

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes his reasons for leaving Martin Marietta Corporation, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his reasons for leaving Martin Marietta Corporation, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William Jackson recalls his reasons for returning to the National Bureau of Standards

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - William Jackson describes his research at the National Bureau of Standards

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - William Jackson remembers his coworkers at the National Bureau of Standards

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his experiences with racial discrimination at Martin Marietta Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - William Jackson talks about the role of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - William Jackson talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - William Jackson recalls his reasons for leaving the Goddard Space Flight Center

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - William Jackson describes his role at the Goddard Space Flight Center, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes his role at the Goddard Space Flight Center, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - William Jackson talks about his research on photodissociation at the Goddard Space Flight Center

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - William Jackson talks about his research of free radicals using tunable light sources

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - William Jackson talks about the applications of his work in free radicals

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - William Jackson remembers the formation of NOBCChE

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - William Jackson talks about the creation of NOBCChE, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - William Jackson talks about the creation of NOBCChE, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - William Jackson describes the NOBCChE's Minority Resource Centers for Science and Engineering, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - William Jackson describes the NOBCChE's Minority Resource Centers for Science and Engineering, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - William Jackson talks about the early years of the Minority Resource Centers for Science and Engineering

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - William Jackson talks about women in the sciences

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - William Jackson remembers the faculty and staff of the Howard University Department of Chemistry

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - William Jackson talks about the funding of the Howard University Department of Chemistry

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - William Jackson remembers his professorship at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - William Jackson describes his sabbatical at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Erlangen, Germany

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - William Jackson recalls his reasons for coming to the University of California, Davis, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - William Jackson recalls his reasons for coming to the University of California, Davis, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - William Jackson talks about his rank of professorship at the University of California, Davis

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes his positions at the University of California, Davis

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - William Jackson talks about the lack of African American professors at the University of California, Davis

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - William Jackson describes his role as chair of the chemistry department at the University of California, Davis

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - William Jackson talks about his research at the University of California, Davis

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - William Jackson describes his research in surface chemistry

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - William Jackson talks about the implications of his research on climate change

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - William Jackson talks about the effect of politics on the STEM industries

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - William Jackson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - William Jackson remembers the Ph.D. students he taught

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - William Jackson describes the role of a Ph.D. mentor and advisor

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - William Jackson reflects upon his life

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - William Jackson shares his advice for aspiring chemists

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
William Jackson describes his experience at Morehouse College
William Jackson describes his work at the Goddard Space Flight Center
Transcript
Okay, alright. So, okay, Morehouse. So, now was it much more challenging at Morehouse than it was in high school?$$I didn't get all A's, so yeah. Yeah, I mean, yeah, it was.$$Okay. Now, at Morehouse there was the great Dr. Henry McBay that everybody talks about.$$Right.$$We hear his name over and over again in these interviews.$$Right.$$What was your relationship like with Dr. McBay? What was he like?$$I did not take chemistry in high school, and I told you, my stepfather was a dentist. School started on a Monday, so the way I was going to get to Morehouse, he had to drive me up there. And so, he was going to drive me up there on, he wanted to leave on Saturday morning. And Mobile is about 250 miles from Atlanta, and then there were no interstate highways in those days, 1952. So, Harry Truman was president, and the interstate didn't come in until Eisenhower was elected. And he started it. So, he wanted to drive up that weekend. I think we started, and he had to come back so he wouldn't have to close his practice for the half a day on Saturday. So, we left, and I got there a couple days earlier than most of the freshmen, than all of the freshmen, in fact. It was early enough for me to talk to the upper classmen who were going to be assigned to work with the freshmen when they got there. In fact, when the other freshmen got there, they thought I was an upper classman. But in talking to the upper classmen, they said, "Well, what are you going to major in?" I said, "I'm going to major in math." They said, "Well, that's good. Don't take chemistry, because McBay is going to flunk you." At that point in my life, I didn't, you know, I was, I didn't believe that. And I didn't, I took it as a challenge, you know. I enrolled in general chemistry. Fortunately, I got a C the first semester and a B the second semester. But I got hooked. I liked the way, I mean, he made it interesting. He was a very good lecturer. He was very difficult, but I thought he was very fair. He didn't give you anything, but he didn't take anything away from you.$$So, you didn't start off setting the world on fire in chemistry. You got a C. Now, you're like fourteen years old, or fifteen?$$Fifteen.$$Fifteen, okay.$$My son did better in chemistry than I did.$$Okay.$$But, yeah, I got a C, but that's okay. I mean, you asked me my relationship with him. After I finished college, and got finished with graduate school, and started publishing papers, we had a very good relationship. When I finished Morehouse, he wanted me to stay at Atlanta University and get a master's degree. And I didn't see any reason why I should do that, even though my grades weren't that good. So, I had been accepted to Northwestern [Northwestern University] and Purdue [Purdue University], but couldn't go because I didn't have any money to go, and they didn't give me any assistantship. So, I moved up to Washington, D.C. [District of Columbia] because I had a cousin there, who said, "Well, with your degree in chemistry you can get a job in the federal government." So, I went around all that summer looking for jobs in the federal government. But in the process, I knew I wanted to go into physical chemistry. And I kept asking, well what's the best school for physical chemistry? And they kept saying Catholic University, which was about a mile from where I was staying with my cousin.$$I want to stop this right here and then go back. We skipped the whole Morehouse experience, which we need to get to before we get you to graduate school. And Morehouse, I mean, you were telling me when we were walking around the campus earlier with you, your roommate was Maynard Jackson, right?$$Yeah, my freshman roommate.$$Your freshman roommate. And there was another student there that people might know, another one was Charles Brown, right?$$Right.$$Who's a Reverend. You didn't have any idea that he was going to be a Reverend at the time?$$No. Let's see. There were a lot of people there. I mean there was Charles Brown, there was Maynard Jackson, there was Till, who only stayed two years. After the first two years he went back to Texas and got his undergraduate degree and became a neurosurgeon, and teaches at Howard University Medical School.$$What's his name?$$Till, T-I-L-L.$$Okay.$$Aaron Jackson was a chemistry major. He died recently, but was a urologist. He taught at Howard University. Major Owens, who was and still is a Congressman from New York. And that's only a small number of the ones that come to my mind right now.$$Now, you weren't the only early admitted student, right? So, there were other--$$One, everyone that I named was an early admitted student. There were about twenty five or thirty of us. Most of them were really smart. And a guy from Chicago by the name of Joe Carl, I remember him. I can't remember all the people in the class at this stage. But it was a pretty--in fact, there are people who say we were the most famous class at Morehouse. There were others who tried to rival us, but given the fact that out of seventy five students, the accomplishments of that class were outstanding.$$Okay. So, but there were about thirty early admitted students?$$Right. But the program continued after that. Walter Massey, who was president of Morehouse, was a couple years later. So, I mean, there were--so there were, it was a pretty distinguished class.$Now this is, you're at Goddard's Space Flight Center at the beginning of, and I guess the most publicized era for U.S. space flight?$$That's right. So I mean, it was, Goddard, NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] was getting money at that time. There were a couple of things that I did that you talked about. You asked me about astrochemistry. It was there that I started using my knowledge of chemistry and applying it to comets, which is what I was hired to do, and trying to understand the physical and chemical processes occurring in comets, and why they look the way the look, what they're made of. And so I started working on problems like that.$$How did you study the comet, I mean did you study the names of comets, or--$$Well, primarily, comets are studied by spectroscopic observation. You look at, use telescopes and measure the spectra. And spectra are the signatures for molecules in comets. And from the ground we can see signatures of free radicals like C-N, O-H, just barely. CN-OH, C-2, C-3 and N-H. That's the first clue. There's other things. You could just look at the orbits and see how the orbits change in periodic comets. And a famous scientist by the name of Fred Whipple figured out that when they evaporate material as they heat up going around the sun, that material, when you go to have a force go in one direction, it exerts in the equal and opposite direction, remembering the second law of motion. So, that slight motion changes the orbit, and if you measure it precisely, you can determine how much force was involved. And he wrote a really brilliant paper, where he used that information, and he came up with what we call the icy nucleus model. The comets are made up of frozen water with various materials inside, and when the water evaporates, it pushes back on the comet, and that's what causes this chain to orbit. And so, you look at that and you try to figure out well, then, how do free radicals come about? And we showed that they come about and that you can make sense out of it by photo association. That means light from the sun. Molecules absorb radiation from the sun and break apart. For example, water, H20, absorbs light and breaks apart H plus O-H, and we see the O-H. HCN breaks apart and gives you C-N plus H, and so forth and so on. So, I worked on those kinds of problems. I wrote a, NASA was setting up a telescope called the IUE telescope. They did ask for an ultraviolet exploratory telescope. And I used, I proposed that we could use their telescope to study the ultra violet emissions spectrum above the atmosphere of the earth, so that you could see things that you could not see from the earth.$$Now this is, correct me if I'm wrong. This is about 1974?$$The proposal was written to use a telescope, was written before that, because it takes five years to send up a satellite.$$Okay. You started, got it in '64' [1964].$$Right.$$That's ten ten years. That was in '74' [1974].$$'74' [1974]. We actually made the observations in '74' [1974], '75' [1975]. But I wrote, I was the principal investigator on the observations.$$And this is the first team to use the ultra violet explorer.$$Explorer, that's right. And the interesting thing, to me, was the astronomers who designed the telescope said we wouldn't get a big enough signal from a comet to be able to use it. But I showed that you, in fact, could do that. Because I showed them a piece of paper, and we actually made the first observations. The signal was about what I had predicted it was going to be. So, being a chemist, it felt good to prove the astronomers wrong.$$Okay. So--$$That telescope went on to make some of the most significant observations of comets.$$Okay.$$And the newer versions of the HST telescope and so forth is still making significant observations of comets.

William Evans

Research physicist and research manager William J. Evans was born on September 16, 1965 in Chicago, Illinois to Billy Joe and Allie Bell Evans. He received his B.S. degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology. Evans went on to attend Harvard University, where he earned his S.M. degree and Ph.D. degrees in physics.

In 1995, Evans was hired as a full-time staff researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). At LLNL, Evans works with scientists from multiple academic disciplines such as biology, chemistry, and physics to solve global problems. Although Evans received his education in physics, his work at LLNL encompasses aspects of physics, chemistry, and materials science. Such an interdisciplinary approach allowed him to understand the complex behavior of materials under high temperature and pressure conditions.

In 2008, Evans was promoted to research manager at LLNL, where he managed the research of all staff scientists in the high pressure physics group. The group’s research focused on ultrahigh-pressure diamond anvils, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray scattering among other things. Evans and his team of LLNL research scientists built an anvil, or pressure device, using flattened diamonds as the pressure surface. These diamond anvils allowed Evans to determine what happens to other materials as they get “squashed” by the diamonds.

Evans has published numerous scientific research articles in journals such as, Physical Review, Nature Materials, and the International Journal of High Pressure Research. Evans is also a member of several academic and professional societies, including the American Physical Society (APS), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the Optical Society of Americs. He serves the community by judging youth science fairs in Livermore, California where he works and lives.

William J. Evans was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 5, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.238

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/5/2012

Last Name

Evans

Maker Category
Middle Name

J

Occupation
Schools

Harvard University

California Institute of Technology

Martin Luther King Elem. School

Angell School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Ann Arbor

HM ID

EVA07

Favorite Season

Fall, Winter

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

By Any Means Necessary.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/16/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Livermore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cookies

Short Description

Physicist William Evans (1965 - ) was the head research scientist of the high pressure physics group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.

Employment

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Evans' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Evans lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Evans describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Evans describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Evans describes where his father attended college and graduate school

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Evans talks about his family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Evans talks about his father's career as a scientist

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Evans describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Evans describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Evans talks about his growing up near the University of Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Evans talks about his study routine

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Evans talks about his elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Evans talks about his experiences while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Evans talks about having access to his father's chemistry lab as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Evans talks about living in Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Evans talks about his family as well as his brother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Evans describes how he chose to attend the California Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Evans talks about his growing up during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Evans talks about his accomplished parents

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Evans talks about his high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Evans talks about some of his professors at the California Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Evans talks about the physics program at the California Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Evans talks about the impact of emerging information technologies on physics

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Evans talks about his studies at California Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Evans talks about his decision to attend Harvard University for graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Evans talks about his experience at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - William Evans describes his dissertation about the behavior of hydrogen

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Evans talks about his dissertation and Carl Sagan

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Evans talks about his work at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Evans describes his work with beryllium

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Evans talks about his experience working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Evans talks about the lack of minority representation in the physical sciences

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Evans talks about the work culture at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Evans talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Evans talks about the uses of metalized hydrogen

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Evans talks about his desire to support underrepresented communities

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Evans reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Evans talks about his mentors

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Evans describes his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Evans talks about what he would like to see accomplished in the future

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Evans talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Evans talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

10$6

DATitle
William Evans describes his dissertation about the behavior of hydrogen
William Evans talks about the work culture at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Transcript
Okay, now, could you explain your dissertation to us, I mean just state it again, and kind of explain what you were actually doing?$$So, so hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and, in fact, it's what drives, you know, our sun, fuses hydrogen together generates energy in a helium atom. And so what we were studying was what does hydrogen do? So under normal conditions, hydrogen is a gas. But if you cool it or you compress it, it turns into a liquid, and if you continue to compress it, it turns into a solid. One of the early predictions of quantum theory was that hydrogen would metalize. So it would go from being an insulator, you know, the plastic cladding on a wire is insulators, the electricity doesn't, it doesn't pass electricity. But compressing it would force the electrons on the different atoms together. And they'd start being shared, and you can now pass a current through this material. And so it becomes a metal. And so the goal of the thesis work was to metalize hydrogen. That was the kind of ultimate goal of my thesis advisor. I worked on that for several years. It's a very challenging problem that, to this day, hasn't been adequately solved. But we did, we made some good progress on it, although we did not metal hydrogen. But we made some measurements along the way of how the index for a fraction of hydrogen changes under pressure. So the (unclear) [index?] fraction tells you, I mean one simple way to think of it, it's a, it's an indicator of the electronic properties of the materials, but effectively, it, in common experience, it'll tell you how light gets bent when it goes, passes into it. So, for example, when you look at a prism, if you have a white light coming into a prism, it hits the prism, and the different colors of light get bent different angles, different, depending on index of a fraction. And that's kind of a layman's explanation of what we measured, but we measured the (unclear) fraction of hydrogen high pressure, which--so this data helps you understand when it might metalize. It also allows you to valuate theories that predict how hydrogen is behaving at high pressure. So it's experimental data that's very important in the sense that it lets you understand if your theories are even close to being correct, and once, and also quantifying the quality of various theories to explain properties of materials.$Okay, okay.$$Livermore [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory] is actually, Livermore won an award, I think last year for being one of the best employers for African Americans. I find Livermore very supportive, but I'm, I'm kind of saddened that Livermore is, is--I think Livermore is doing a solid job. I would have hoped there were people doing even better job than Livermore is doing at, at engaging, encouraging, utilizing underrepresented groups. So I'm, it's kind of, kind of--I'm glad Livermore got an award, but I wish the bar were a lot higher.$$Okay, so the general landscape is--$$Yeah, yeah. You know, and there are little things. I mean when I went to Livermore [California], when I first went there, I was coming from the East Coast. East Coast people wore a tie and coat to work. And, you know, there was, one told, a bus driver, told me, you know, what are you doing wearing that stuff? You don't wear, you don't need to wear that here, as if, you know, I mean I was a staff scientist. Early on in the, within the first year I was at Livermore, we have rooms where we store supplies, like, you know, pens, binders and things. And I was in there getting, I had just started so I was getting stuff for my office, and one of the scientist walks by and says, you know, we, we're running out of pens. Can you get some more pens? You'd think that if you're wearing a tie and coat, it's kind of a sign that you're not part of the support staff. But, you know, these little comments, for me it didn't, it didn't--I would like to think that in my case, it doesn't bother me. But I have little doubt that for someone who's much more junior, let's say a graduate student, who's working at the lab, if someone comes in and treats them like they're a maintenance person, they're not gonna be, you know, it's not the kind of environment that is conducive to keeping people there and advancing their careers. Now, none of this came from the management. The management's always very constructive. And it has been always very supportive. But I think it's really more an indication of kind of societal prejudices and biases that we need to work on.$$Okay, okay. So you've been there your whole career, so--$$Yeah.$$--you really don't have another place, I guess, to compare it to--$$Right.$$--in terms of that, but you said, Livermore [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory], according to reports--$$Yeah.$$--is--$$And they had been very supportive. I mean, you know, when I, when I served on the APS Committee on Minorities, there had to be an account to pay for my time when I was doing that work. And the management was, it wasn't even an issue for them. They were, definitely do it, you know. They've always been very supportive of hiring underrepresented staff members. So the management at Livermore has been very, very supportive, but I think there are, there're, you know, our society still isn't where we think it is (laughter), where we'd like for it to be.