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Philip Phillips

Physicist Philip W. Phillips was born in Scarborough, Tobago in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Phillips’ family migrated to the United States when he was ten years old. After graduating with his B.A. degree in chemistry and mathematics from Walla Walla College in 1979, Phillips enrolled in the University of Washington where he served as a graduate research assistant in theoretical chemistry and received his Ph.D. degree in theoretical physics in 1982. Upon graduation, Phillips was awarded a Miller Postdoctoral Fellowship to study at the University of California at Berkeley from 1981 to 1984.

Phillips then worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology until 1993 when he joined the faculty of the department of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1998, Phillips was appointed a Beckman Associate in the Center for Advanced Study. After being promoted to full professor and receiving tenure in 2004, Phillips went on to serve as the University Scholar and was named the Bliss Faculty Scholar in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a theoretical condensed matter physicist, Phillips studies quantum phase transitions and strongly correlated electrons. In particular, he focused on novel metallic phases in two dimensions and high-temperature superconductivity. Phillips research has been published in academic journals such as Physics Review Letters and Europhysics Letters. In addition, he authored a graduate-level textbook titled, Advanced Solid State Physics (2002).

Phillips served as the American Physical Society (APS) general councilor from 2000 to 2002 and as executive councilor from 2002 to 2004. He also served on the APS Committee on Committees from 2002 to 2004. Phillips was appointed to serve on the nanotechnology panel for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 1999. He also served on the “Frontiers of Science” organizing committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) from 1998 to 1999. He was honored as the Edward A. Bouchet Lecturer for the APS in 2000. Phillips was elected as a Fellow of the APS in 2002, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2012.

Phillip Phillips was interviewed byThe HistoryMakers on June 7, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.098

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/7/2013

Last Name

Phillips

Maker Category
Middle Name

W

Occupation
Schools

Walla Walla College

University of Washington

A-Karrasel Primary Grade Center

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Philip

Birth City, State, Country

Scarborough

HM ID

PHI05

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tobago

Favorite Quote

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/28/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Urbana-Champaign

Country

Tobago

Favorite Food

Curry

Short Description

Physicist Philip Phillips (1958 - )

Employment

University of California, Berkeley

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Philip Phillips' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Philip Phillips lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Philip Phillips describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Philip Phillips reflects upon the history of slavery in Tobago and its present effects

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Philip Phillips talks about his mother's parents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Philip Phillips describes his mother's childhood in Tobago

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Philip Phillips talks about his grandmother's and mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Phillip Phillips describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Philip Phillips talks about his father's extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Phillip Phillips talks about his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Philip Phillips talks about his parents, siblings, and the family's moves to Trinidad and the United States

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Philip Phillips describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Philip Phillips describes the sights, sound, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Philip Phillips describes Tobago and how it has changed

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Philip Phillips talks about his family's move to the United States

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Philip Phillips talks about his father's affiliation with the Seventh Day Adventist Church

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Philip Phillips describes his family's move to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Philip Phillips talks about the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Philip Phillips describes going to school in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Philip Phillips recalls the black leaders he learned about in his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Philip Phillips talks about the move to Walla Walla, Washington and living in a town with few minorities

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Philip Phillips describes his high school and his childhood friends in Walla Walla, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Philip Phillips talks about growing up in Walla Walla, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Philip Phillips talks about evolution, philosophy, and being raised as a Seventh Day Adventist

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Philip Phillips describes his grades in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Philip Phillips describes his years at Walla Walla College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Philip Phillips talks about moving out of his parent's house

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Philip Phillips describes his decision to become a theoretical scientist

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Philip Phillips talks about the teachers that influenced him at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Philip Phillips talks about his doctoral dissertation and the decision to change fields

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Philip Phillips talks about receiving the Miller Fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Philip Phillips describes critical phenomena pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Philip Phillips describes critical phenomena pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Philip Phillips talks about his post-doctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Philip Phillips describes his work on Anderson localization

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Philip Phillips talks about being a chemistry professor and doing physics research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Philip Phillips describes his firing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his hiring at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Philip Phillips describes his research on Mottness pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Philip Phillips describes his research on Mottness pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Philip Phillips talks about changing his research focus

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Philip Phillips talks about the physics program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Philip Phillips describes organizing the first scientific conference in Tobago

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Philip Phillips talks about his research and teaching

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Philip Phillips talks about his mentoring of graduate students

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Philip Phillips talks about first scientific conference in Tobago

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Philip Phillips talks about his honors and awards and the legacy of Edward A. Bouchet

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Philip Phillips reflects on his life's decisions

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Philip Phillips discusses religion

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Philip Phillips reflects on his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Philip Phillips describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Philip Phillips talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Philip Phillips reflects on his life's decisions

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Philip Phillips talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
Philip Phillips describes his years at Walla Walla College
Philip Phillips talks about the physics program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
Transcript
Okay, all right, so, you went to Walla Walla College. Were you living at home?$$And I lived at home.$$Okay, all right. All right--$$All four years.$$Okay.$$Except for the last two quarters. The last two quarters being from January until May. So except for five months, I lived at home.$$Well, so, what was your major in college?$$Math and chemistry.$$Okay, and so you were there in--were you involved in, it was the same basic racial makeup of, I mean was the college reflective of the racial makeup of Walla Walla basically too? Were you the only black student?$$There were some black students, very, very few. A smattering of students from the [United] States and some from the islands and Africa, I would say, yeah.$$Okay, all right. So, was college, did you, did you get--well, you had understanding in college, I guess, because you said you were learning things you should have learned in high school--$$Right.$$--in college. So did college turn you on to physics or--(simultaneous)--$$Yeah, I mean once I got to college, and I started taking--so I started college an English major. And then I decided, you know, 'cause I really wanted to write. That was my, that was a passion of mine. And, but I decided I wasn't talented enough to be a writer. Then I decided I'll be a math major. And, and then I--math didn't seem very hard. Basically, I was, I should have taken calculus in high school. I was not really performing at the level that I should have been performing at. And so when I got to college and was taking calculus, then I started the standard sequence of calculus in college, by the third quarter, I decided, you know, this is not very hard. And I'm going to drop it and go and do something else. So a very interesting story happened. I was on the way to the registrar's office to drop calculus, and I see a kid with a skateboard, and I decided I was going to drop calculus which was four units and replace it with Western's, History of Western Civilization 'cause I hadn't taken my general history requirement, and, and add, there was a physical education class that was required and add PE. And I was going to add a tennis course, and that would be four hours. On the way to drop, to the registrar's office, I see a kid on a skateboard. Skateboards were really a big thing back then. I asked the kid, can I borrow your skateboard and just, could I try it out? He goes, sure. So I hop on the skateboard, go careening around the corner, fall off, and I completely tear up my ankle. I have to be in a cast for eight weeks, which means I couldn't go through with my plan to go and drop calculus. It completely changed the course that I was on.$$So you actually had to take--you took calculus?$$I couldn't go through with my plan of replacing a four-unit course with a, with a class that required that I go, that I do some sort of exercise. So Western Civ[ilization] and tennis went out the window and I stuck with calculus. And had I not done that, I would probably not be here right now.$$(Laughter) So the kid with the skateboard--(simultaneous)--$$The kid with the skateboard completely, that was a very pivotal moment.$$You were a junior then, you said?$$No, no, no. I was a, that was the end of my freshman year.$$Okay, all right. All right, so 1970-what?$$I started college in '75 [1975].$$Seventy-five [1975]--$$So it was '76 [1976], Spring of '76 [1976].$$Okay.$$Yeah, so because of that I, I was on the standard math sequence that all of the serious science and engineering people were on, and so the next year, I took chemistry. And it seemed trivial. It seemed absolutely easy. There was--it was taught with a system behind it. And so then I, I decided I would major in chemistry. And, but I was sort of behind because I was taking general chemistry my second year in college. And I hadn't taken physics yet. So we're talking serious catch-up here. And so I take more chemistry classes during the summer and then the fall, I took physical chemistry. This is as a junior, and I decided I would take the engineering physics sequence, which is the calculus-based course. You know, this thing that you teach--I teach here to freshmen. I didn't take it until my junior year (laughter). And even that seemed easy, and it seemed more interesting than chemistry. So I thought, well, you know, maybe I really should be a physics major. So in the end, I ended up being a double major in math and chemistry, and I took several physics courses, independent study, because there were very few people majoring in physics. And so you had to arrange with the professors to go and take these courses. So I was taking the quantum mechanics course independent study, my senior year and taking advance math courses also independent study. So basically in a two-year period, I went from no physics, to taking advance physics courses. And so I almost had a physics major when I finished as well, but I didn't have time to do any of the labs or anything like that. So.$$Okay.$$It was a crash course, once I figured it out.$Now you were a Bliss Faculty Scholar in 2000--$$Um-hum.$$--right? And that meant that you were supported by--$$Yeah, I, my--some of my research was funded by the engineering college. It allowed me further travel and funds for students, things like that.$$Now, you were saying, you were referring earlier or made sort of a, in a general way, that the University of Illinois [at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois] has, is one of the top physics programs in the country, right?$$Um-hum, yeah. And in solid state physics. It traditionally was number one. It recently became number two, and it was supplanted by none other than MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts], which I don't understand because most people don't understand why. If MIT is number two, there are several places you might have thought were number One. The last one would have been MIT. But MIT has these publicity machinery that guarantees it stays somewhere close to the top.$$Now, there are some Nobel Laureates that came out of University of Illinois, right?$$Right, I mean the reason why Illinois was so strong and has been so strong in solid state is that John Bardeen built up the effort here. And John Bardeen, I mean the quarters, the engineering quarter is named after him. He was a semiconductor physicist at Bell Labs. But to say that is not to give him enough credit. He, he invented the transistor at Bell, was hired here, won the Nobel Prize for that. But the real problem he was trying to solve was always in the back of his mind, was superconductivity. And he solved that problem here. And the theoretical program was based on his effort. And so he hired many people, all of whom became top, international stars. And that's, that defined theoretical solid-state physics for the world. I mean this place defined that. And there was no place that was second to this place. And so from that nucleus, the whole effort sort of telescoped from there. And they've kept their focus on, the air--they've kept their focus on their strength. They haven't tried to say, oh, well, now, we're good at this, let's try to--no, they've said, "We are a department that is defined by solid state. That's what we do. The other areas will benefit if we keep, you know, our primacy in that field. See, and, then he won a second Nobel Prize for superconductivity, which is--and his solution was something that had applications in all areas of physics. Cosmology, particle physics, the Higgs mechanism is based on what is the, is intellectual essence of his solution to the superconductivity problem. So this is, this is a very serious place, you know, and, you really have to do things at a deep level here to get appreciated. And I like that. It's very different from MIT. MIT was--there's a large publicity machinery that, sort of the academic publicity complex, you know (laughter). There can be substance, but that's not necessarily what, how you become famous at MIT.$$Was there a physicist at MIT that you really looked up to as a--(simultaneous)--$$Yeah, at the time, yeah, Patrick Lee. I talk to him a lot. He helped me get hired here.

Capt. Winston Scott

NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Winston E. Scott was born on August 6, 1950 in Miami, Florida to Alston J. and Rubye L. Scott. He graduated from Coral Gables High School in 1968, received his B.A. degree in music from Florida State University in 1972 and his M.S. degree in aeronautical engineering with avionics from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Scott entered Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1973 and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1974. As an aviator, Scott piloted the F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18 Hornet, and the A-7 Corsair. In 1988, Scott was assigned as deputy director and test pilot in the Tactical Aircraft Systems Department at the Naval Air Development Center in Warminster, Pennsylvania. Scott has logged over 6,000 hours of total flight time in more than 20 different aircraft and more than two-hundred shipboard landings.

In 1992, Scott was selected by NASA for astronaut training. He later served as a mission specialist on STS-72 Endeavour during its nine day mission from January 11, 1996 to July 20, 1996. Scott conducted one spacewalk to demonstrate and evaluate techniques later used in the assembly of the International Space Station. Scott returned to space on STS-87 Columbia during its sixteen day mission from November 19, 1997 to December 5, 1997 where he performed two spacewalks, including one that lasted over seven hours and involved the manual capture of a Spartan satellite. On the second spacewalk, Scott tested tools and procedures for future space station assembly. In 1999, Scott retired from NASA and the U.S. Navy to become Vice President for Student Affairs and Associate Dean of the Florida State University College of Engineering. In 2003, Scott became the executive director of the Florida Space Authority (FSA), an organization responsible for the development of space-related business in the State of Florida. The FSA also advised the state’s governor and legislature on matters related to space and aeronautics in the state. In 2006, Scott became Vice President and Deputy General Manager on the engineering and science contract at Johnson Space Center for Jacobs Engineering in Houston, Texas. Scott’s book, Reflections from Earth Orbit (2005), is a semi-autobiographical account of his experiences as a NASA astronaut.

Scott is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the National Naval Officers Association, the Naval Helicopter Association, the Naval Tailhook Association, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In 1998, U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine named Scott “U. S. Black Engineer of the Year.” Scott also received the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics Achievement Award and two NASA Space Flight Medals. His military honors include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. Scott was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Florida Atlantic University and an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering degree from Michigan State University.

NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Winston E. Scott was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 6, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.138

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/6/2013

Last Name

Scott

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Coral Gables High School

Florida State University

Naval Postgraduate School

Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Winston

Birth City, State, Country

Miami

HM ID

SCO07

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

8/6/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Melbourne

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Astronaut and aircraft commander Capt. Winston Scott (1950 - ) served as a mission specialist on STS-72 in 1996 and STS-87 in 1997, and has logged a total of twenty-four days, fourteen hours and thirty-four minutes in space, including three spacewalks totaling nineteen hours and twenty-six minutes. As a naval aviator Scott accumulated more than 6,000 hours of flight time in more than 20 different aircraft.

Employment

United States Navy

Naval Aviation Depot

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Florida State University

Florida Space Authority

Jacobs Engineering

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Winston Scott's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Winston Scott lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Winston Scott describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Winston Scott talks about his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Winston Scott describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Winston Scott talks about his father's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Winston Scott describes how his parents met

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

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Winston Scott talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Winston Scott talks about growing up in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Winston Scott describes segregation in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Winston Scott describes his earliest childhood memory

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

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Winston Scott describes knowing current events as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Winston Scott describes learning about the space program

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Winston Scott describes building things as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Winston Scott describes his father's emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Winston Scott describes being involved in Boy Scouts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Winston Scott talks about playing trumpet in junior high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Winston Scott talks about his family's involvement in church

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Winston Scott talks about the integration of his high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Winston Scott describes being involved in music during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Winston Scott describes being accepted into Florida State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Winston Scott describes his time at Florida State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Winston Scott describes joining the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Winston Scott describes his time at the Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Winston Scott talks about his Navy training

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Winston Scott describes his career as a Navy pilot

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Winston Scott talks about African American astronauts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Winston Scott describes being selected to become an astronaut

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Winston Scott describes training for his first space flight

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Winston Scott talks about his first spaceflight

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Winston Scott describes launching into space

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Winston Scott describes the view of earth from space

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Winston Scott describes his space missions

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Winston Scott describes being in space on the Endeavor Space Shuttle

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Winston Scott describes a space shuttles' reentry into the atmosphere

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Winston Scott describes his space walks

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Winston Scott describes correcting a satellite's attitude by hand

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Winston Scott talks about the psychological screening of astronauts

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Winston Scott reflects on his career as an astronaut

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Winston Scott describes the food astronauts eat

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Winston Scott describes the physical consequences of being in space

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Winston Scott describes becoming a professor at Florida State University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Winston Scott describes being the director of the Florida Space Authority

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Winston Scott talks about his memoir, 'Reflections from Earth's Orbit'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Winston Scott talks about opportunities in the space program

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Winston Scott describes his position at the Florida Institute of Technology

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Winston Scott reflects on his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Winston Scott describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Winston Scott reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Winston Scott talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Winston Scott talks about the Florida Institute of Technology

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Winston Scott talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

6$7

DATitle
Winston Scott talks about his father's occupations
Winston Scott talks about his first spaceflight
Transcript
So farming was the occupation-$$That's right.$$--up until the time that your--and your father [Alston James Scott] continued the, the tradition--(simultaneous).$$Well, my father grew up on the farm and then went off to a--he was drafted during World War II. He left Quitman [Georgia] and went to serve in the Army, he served two years. He was in the European theater in Germany and once his enlistment in the Army was up, he, of course, returned to the states and like a lot of people back then looked for jobs and as I understand it his sister, my aunt was living in Miami [Florida] at the time, she had gotten married and moved to Miami. She sent word to him if you come to Miami you can get work down here. He went down to Miami looking for a job and he first worked in the nursery business, you know, with a company that did landscaping and things like that but then, it's an interesting story, my father got on with the post office--he got hired with the post office down there after many trials and tribulations; that's a story in and of itself. But he became-- he and a guy named John Friar got hired that same day. They became the first two African Americans to carry mail in Miami. The jobs were segregated, blacks couldn't carry mail those jobs were reserved for whites but he was-- he and John Friar was the first two African Americans to carry mail in Miami. In fact, when he retired, thirty-seven years later he was the most senior black postman in the United States. And he was the number seven senior postman of all in the United States when he retired. I didn't know this until he retired and the mayor and the governor, everybody came and gave him all these accolades for him, they gave him all these awards and recognition with newspaper articles and I said, "Good God, I didn't know my dad did all of this". But he broke the color-- color barrier in carrying mail. Mail carrying, that's a good job, good profession.$$He had to be consistent, you know, and dependable, right?$$He had to be consistent, and dependable. Ever since the days of the pony express carrying mail and you know air mail, those were good solid jobs that anybody couldn't get. And like I say, they were segregated so I don't know if there was a union thing but they were segregated. And he was the first-- he and John Friar hired to carry mail.$$I imagine the government was compelled to bring on some black postman after awhile-- this is the kind of thing (simultaneous)--$$I don't know that and in talking to him and reading the accounts I don't think the government was compelled, I think just the, the local postmaster just needed people, just needed workers and he was of the mind that, "I don't care what color you are if you do a job, we need you." My father had stories to tell. When he first started carrying mail people were calling and complain that, "This N-word, I don't want him near my door carrying mail." And they would sic the dogs on him-- you know, they turn the dogs loose and go after him and so on. And it took him several tries to get hired because they would have him drive the trucks and Miami used little scooters. They had big trucks but they also used these motorized scooters that carry, you know, small--. The first few times people would say things like, "He didn't drive well, or he didn't handle the equipment right or he handled the equipment too rough." So finally he overcame all of that and got hired. He thought he was going to be hired temporarily just for the Christmas surge, all the extra mail during Christmas, he figured he would be fired after Christmas and that they would go to Cleveland, Ohio, I guess where they had lived before. But it turned out he wasn't fired, he stayed there and finished his career thirty-seven years later as a postman or thirty-nine years whatever it was. His total government time including Army was forty-one years but thirty-seven of that I think was with the post office.$$So, it wasn't easy being the first black--(simultaneous) (unclear).$$It wasn't easy--it's like being the first black of anything it wasn't easy at all. He had a lot of trials and tribulations, and again he never talked about this. I found out about it when he retired and they started giving him all these accolades and writing articles about him. It's kind of funny when you find out stuff like that about your parents that you never knew; you live with them and you never knew these things.$$Being a postman in those days was a, a very good job--(simultaneous) (unclear).$$Postman is a very good job, especially in the African American community. Like I said, it was a rock solid employment, you had to be dependable and you carried a certain amount of prestige. There is the government uniform, the post office was under the federal government at that time and so there wasn't very many of us doing those jobs; just like the police department, fire department. I'm old enough to remember when the first black motorcycle police officer was hired in Miami, I was a little kid but I remember it. You know, things like riding-- a motorcycle cop is a big deal; a police officer in general in those days, we don't think much of it now but we did back then. Bus driver--blacks couldn't be metro bus drivers for a long while, well you know this stuff but--.$$I'm glad you're saying it because this-- the audience that's watching this don't-- doesn't necessarily know this. Hopefully this will be around for hundreds of years.$$Hopefully it will be around for hundreds of years.$$And people will know.$$But, but those were some very good jobs and jobs that African Americans were not allowed to hold. So I remember when we had the first bus drivers in Miami and the first, well, police officers were mainly--the motorcycle squad I guess was kind of like the elite, at least they thought they were elite. So the first motorcycle cop was written up in 'The Miami Times' which was, of course, the all black newspaper there in Miami. So, those, those were some significant events for us.$Now, your first flight was on the Endeavor [Space Shuttle]?$$Endeavor, that's right. Nine days on the Endeavor.$$Is this 1996?$$In '96 [1996], that's right.$$How did things go? Did everything go perfectly?$$Everything went, everything went fine. I don't know if perfect is the right word but we had no real bad incidents happen. We got all of our mission accomplished. We had two space walks, we were, we had microgravity mission, so we grew crystals in space, plants in space, had laboratory animals in space. We deployed and retrieved the satellite, we retrieved the second satellite that was up there. We conducted two space walks where we tested tools and equipment for building the International Space Station. So we--. Every flight is jammed packed with hundreds of events and experiments and it all went real well. The space walks were particularly a big part of, of a, of any mission so those went real well too. On that flight, one of the things that I had to do that was really interesting was test out improvements to the space suit, because, again, we were preparing to build the International Space Station. It was going to be built in a location of space that was colder than we had been previously going. So NASA [National Aeronautic and Space Administration] had modified the suit and I was going to put the suit on, go outside and test those modifications to be sure to keep astronauts warm and safe in the extra cold environment of space. So that was one of the big important things that I did on my space walk. Space walk was six hours and fifty-- I think it was six hours and fifty-three minutes if I remember correctly on that one. And we did a whole bunch of other things on there also but this was one thing that was really, really important and kind of cool to do.

Peter Delfyett

Research scientist Peter J. Delfyett was born on March 8, 1959 in Queens, New York. He received his B.E. (E.E.) degree from the City College of New York in 1981 and his M.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester in 1983. Delfyett then returned to the City University of New York and went on to graduate from there with his M. Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in 1987 and 1988, respectively.

In 1988, Delfyett joined Bell Communication Research (Bellcore) as a member of the technical staff where he focused on generating ultrafast high power optical pulses from semiconductor diode lasers. His research findings resulted in a number of important developments, including the world’s fastest, most powerful modelocked semiconductor laser diode, the demonstration of an optically distributed clocking network for high-speed, digital switches and supercomputer applications, and the first observation of the optical nonlinearity induced by the cooling of highly excited electron-hole pairs in semiconductor optical amplifiers. Delfyett has published over six-hundred articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings; been awarded thirty five United States Patents; and, is the sole proprietor of a license agreement which transferred modelocked semiconductor laser technology into a commercial product.

In 1993, Delfyett received a dual-appointment as a professor in the School College of Optics and Photonics and the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) at the University of Central Florida. From 1995 to 2006, he served as the Associate Editor of IEEE Photonics Technology Letters; was Executive Editor of IEEE LEOS Newsletter; and, served as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics. In 2008, Delfyett was elected to serve two terms as president of the National Society of Black Physicists.

Delfyett has been awarded the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Faculty Fellow Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, which is awarded to the nation’s top twenty young scientists. U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine recognized him in 1993 as “Most Promising Engineer;” and, in 2000 with the “Outstanding Alumnus Achievement.” In 2010, he received the Edward Bouchet Award from the American Physical Society. Delfyett is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the IEEE Photonics Society.

Peter J. Delfyett was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 4, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.126

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/4/2013

Last Name

Delfyett

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

John

Occupation
Schools

City University of New York

University of Rochester

Martin Van Buren High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DEL10

Favorite Season

Christmas, Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

As you are walking across the path of life, if you come to a bump, step up.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

3/8/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Orlando

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Asian Food

Short Description

Electrical engineer Peter Delfyett (1959 - ) University Trustee Chair Professor in the College of Optics and Photonics and the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers at the University of Central Florida, is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the IEEE Photonics Society.

Employment

University of Central Flordia

Telcordia Technologies

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1840,43:2288,52:3056,67:4144,101:4592,113:8368,238:9904,288:11568,308:12336,321:13232,346:13552,352:13936,359:14192,364:15664,390:16048,398:16496,406:16944,414:17392,423:20336,483:20592,494:25886,508:30308,621:33212,695:36380,782:36644,787:37040,794:38822,847:39218,854:39944,874:42254,929:43508,951:43838,959:44300,968:44630,974:46016,998:46478,1007:51775,1024:52216,1032:52846,1044:53287,1052:54736,1093:57130,1156:57949,1173:58705,1187:59650,1211:59902,1216:60406,1228:61729,1249:62485,1266:63367,1282:70306,1357:71462,1381:73910,1423:74590,1434:75338,1446:76222,1459:76494,1464:79282,1527:79622,1533:94798,1788:95260,1797:95854,1808:97438,1832:98692,1863:99484,1876:101134,1910:106876,2033:108460,2064:111694,2131:112090,2138:117070,2147:117772,2159:125104,2310:133360,2380:134363,2402:134658,2408:135189,2420:137962,2489:143567,2607:152600,2744:153056,2752:156704,2823:157160,2830:162674,2877:163088,2884:163433,2890:169505,3008:170195,3021:170678,3029:171092,3037:171368,3042:172541,3068:173024,3077:176360,3091$0,0:1056,8:4195,23:4650,28:5105,33:6860,107:9070,163:10240,181:10565,187:11085,196:11735,212:12320,225:12645,231:13815,310:14660,323:15180,332:16090,348:16610,357:17520,374:18105,385:18625,394:19340,407:23760,427:24318,435:24628,441:25124,450:25434,456:26178,471:26550,479:27108,491:27604,501:28348,516:31960,567:32668,581:33553,598:33789,603:34025,608:34438,617:34792,630:35264,639:37388,686:38155,703:38804,716:40161,750:40397,755:40869,764:41459,775:41990,780:42285,786:43052,803:43406,811:43819,821:44291,832:45058,849:45294,854:45707,864:45943,869:46356,877:47241,895:47949,910:48834,928:49424,941:49660,946:50368,959:56494,972:57088,982:57352,987:58144,1000:60454,1032:63540,1068:64530,1081:66981,1118:68060,1136:68724,1145:70384,1219:70965,1225:71297,1230:71629,1235:72127,1243:72459,1248:73040,1257:73704,1265:74368,1274:76111,1294:76775,1305:77273,1313:77771,1321:78684,1331:79265,1340:84170,1354:84502,1359:84917,1366:85581,1376:93210,1416:93648,1423:93940,1430:94962,1449:95473,1459:96057,1469:98101,1502:99196,1524:99780,1534:100291,1543:101532,1560:102262,1572:102773,1580:103065,1585:103430,1591:103795,1598:108086,1611:109490,1632:109880,1638:110192,1643:110504,1648:110816,1653:111284,1661:113078,1691:114014,1704:114404,1711:115340,1730:116900,1755:117212,1760:120984,1774:121386,1782:121721,1788:122726,1806:123597,1823:123865,1828:124133,1833:124736,1849:125808,1870:126076,1875:126478,1883:126813,1894:127349,1903:127885,1913:128421,1922:128823,1930:129091,1935:133060,1976:135350,2023:135550,2029:135800,2035:136200,2045:136900,2063:137100,2068:137500,2077:137700,2082:138150,2091:138600,2102:139150,2114:139700,2130:140050,2138:142626,2159:143250,2175:143770,2192:145414,2211:148960,2248:149471,2257:149763,2262:152608,2293:152938,2299:153400,2308:153664,2313:154126,2321:154654,2331:155116,2339:155446,2345:156172,2357:157756,2397:158482,2415:158812,2421:159274,2429:159604,2435:160066,2448:160462,2455:161782,2480:162178,2488:162640,2497:163432,2513:164224,2527:164686,2535:165544,2554:166006,2562:166336,2568:170446,2582:170950,2592:171391,2600:171643,2605:173533,2639:173785,2644:174289,2654:175108,2672:175360,2677:175675,2683:176116,2691:176557,2700:176998,2709:178384,2738:179014,2756:179644,2768:180085,2783:181093,2801:181471,2808:182101,2820:183109,2843:184936,2882:185377,2890:185629,2895:186952,2924:187708,2941:188086,2948:189220,2972:189913,2988:190858,3016:192370,3054:192622,3059:198887,3085:200635,3100:201075,3111:201295,3116:201680,3125:201955,3135:202450,3147:202670,3152:202890,3157:203385,3168:203825,3180:204760,3205:204980,3210:205255,3216:205530,3222:206080,3233:206685,3247:207015,3255:207785,3273:208940,3295:209325,3303:209930,3315:210315,3324:210865,3336:211360,3353:211580,3358:212515,3382:213505,3401:213890,3410:214165,3416:215210,3428:215815,3440:216365,3456:217025,3470:217575,3482:218785,3511:219335,3523:220325,3542:220655,3553:221150,3563:221425,3569:221645,3574:222030,3582:222470,3593:222965,3604:223185,3609:224010,3629:224285,3635:224505,3640:224725,3645:225165,3655:225550,3664:225935,3672:232594,3682:235006,3709:235822,3720:236910,3733:238950,3771:239222,3776:240242,3796:241126,3812:241534,3819:242622,3835:243098,3843:243438,3849:244798,3877:245342,3886:246022,3900:246566,3909:247042,3918:250494,3925:251430,3939:252150,3952:252438,3957:253302,3970:253734,3977:257120,3989
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Peter Delfyett's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett describes his mother's family background pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett describes his father's family background pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett talks about his parents' relationship and separation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett describes his family's personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Peter Delfyett talks about growing up in an extended family household

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Peter Delfyett talks about the Delfyetts

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Peter Delfyett describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett talks about attending church during his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett talks about his elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett talks about his childhood interest in paleontology and his questions about religion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett describes why he chose to become an electrical engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Peter Delfyett talks about fifth grade elementary school teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Peter Delfyett talks about his mentors in elementary and middle school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett talks about his high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett describes how he learned to play the drums

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett describes his band in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett describes graduating from high school and choosing to attend the City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett describes his time as a student at the City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Peter Delfyett describes when he chose to specialize in optics

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Peter Delfyett talks about his undergraduate optics class

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett describes why he came back to the City University of New York for his Ph.D.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett describes photonics

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett describes being hired by Bell Communications Research

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett describes his time at Bell Communications Research

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Peter Delfyett describes how he broke the world record for the shortest and brightest light pulse

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Peter Delfyett describes how he solved the clock distribution problem

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett talks about how it can take decades for an invention to be implemented

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett explains why he chose to become a professor at the University of Central Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett talks about his teaching and research at the University of Central Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett talks about research funding and mentoring students

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett talks about the future of technology

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Peter Delfyett talks about the future of holographic technology

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Peter Delfyett talks about his latest patent

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett talks about his accomplishments at the University of Central Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Peter Delfyett talks about his involvement in professional organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Peter Delfyett gives advice to African American students

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Peter Delfyett reflects on his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Peter Delfyett reflects on his life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Peter Delfyett talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Peter Delfyett describes his hobbies

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Peter Delfyett talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Peter Delfyett describes when he chose to specialize in optics
Peter Delfyett talks about his teaching and research at the University of Central Florida
Transcript
You said when you were a sophomore, that's when you decided to get into the field of lasers.$$That's right.$$And what was it, again, that got you involved?$$And so the thing, you know, the thing which happened was--you know, you're going along. You're taking your classes, your physics, your calculus, your differential equations. And then you start taking your engineering core--circuit theory, digital systems control, communications, whatever it is. But then they allow you to take some, some elective classes, you know, within the discipline. And so, there are so many electives. How do you choose? And then my thinking is I want to sort of choose an elective where I'm going to have, like, a focus. I want to choose all of my electives in a certain area, so I can get a real strong expertise. So, I'm just sort of looking through the course catalog. It's like looking at the menu, and just kind of reading what the different courses are about. Some are about computer architecture. Some are about, you know, circuit systems and digital systems. But then I saw this one course about "Introduction to Lasers." And then you kind of read the description, and everything is fine. And you read the last line and it says, you know, "The fundamentals and introduction to fiber optic communications will be covered in this course." And you know, what occurred to me, is that there are sort of other areas within electrical engineering that are--at that time were not growing. And one in particular might be sort of power systems. How do you deliver power? Con Ed [Con Edison], and this and that, and the other thing. Not super high-tech, not saying it can't be. But then I'm thinking, you know, "Gee, if an area in engineering is so mature, you know, there's not a lot of area for growth and expansion." And so I'm thinking, "If I want to get an expertise in something, I want to pick an area which is very, very new and futuristic, so there's going to be a lot of chance for growth and expansion." Because as that field grows and expands, I can basically evolve within that, and manage to make my way through an entire career. That was my philosophy. Because if the field is too narrow and not growing--if things get tight and there's nowhere to grow--you know, where do you go? It's not clear. And it wasn't clear to me at that time. And so, that's how I started. And so, the other thing which really got me going, I took a look at the elective classes. It said electromagnetic theory. So I said, well, I'm already taking that. But another class was, you know, 'Introduction to Optics,' you know, physical optics. So I said, that was a prerequisite, not necessarily--excuse me--it wasn't a requirement, but it was sort of nice if you had taken it. So, the next semester I went and I took the optics class. And the guy who was teaching that is a famous laser physicist, who literally--you know, after having the class with him--that was it, I'm going to school to get a Ph.D. There was no turning back at that point. They had me hook, line and sinker.$$Okay.$How was your, I guess, your time split here [University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida], in terms of research and teaching responsibilities?$$Sure. And so, every faculty--we teach graduate courses. Or at least when I first came to CREOL [Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers], it was primarily an academic institution and research institution that focused on graduate training and education. So, all faculty teach graduate level courses in the area of optics, and we're all expected to do research. We're expected to go out and hustle for contracts and grants, of which from that money we then pay the graduate students' salaries, their tuition. We use the money to buy the equipment to allow us to do the job. So we're like standard faculty in most other departments. We have to teach, we have to do research, and we have service. Your service duties are either related to the department and/or college, and your professional service as a scientist with professional societies, etc. So, we're like just like normal faculty--teaching, research and service.$$Okay, okay. So, what have been some of your research projects here at [University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida]--?$$So here, what I've done is I've tried to build a research group with a vision that if we want to make an impact on areas of application-- that what I wanted my philosophy to be is not what I'll call, device push-- like "Oh, here's a device, I think you need to use it." Well, like I'm pushing it on you. I prefer to have the application pull philosophy, meaning that let's take a look at what applications are out there that need some kind of advance. And then see if our research can play a role and allow our research to be pulled in that direction, so that if we're successful in our research, we can make some headway in that application. And so with that in mind, I've tried to divide my research area up into three groups--what I'll call sort of the fundamental physics--where we like to use, you know, short pulses of light and see how they interact with matter. That's the fundamental physics. We do that in semiconductors. And what we try and look for are new physics, so we can perhaps see new effects. So, we can then use that knowledge and then go into the clean room and make devices which can exploit these interesting effects, so these devices will have new functions. So, I study physics based upon the new things that we learn. We go up step up into the clean room. We fabricate new devices which are going to exploit those physics. So, these new devices will exhibit new functionalities. And with these new functions, I then take these devices that can show you functions, and I apply it in systems. And the systems are related to its communication and signal processing, making the internet go faster, etc. And when I see these new systems work faster, I say, "Great, we're successful." We patent along the way, we write papers, we give talks. And then once we do that, we say, "Okay, great, we solved that problem. What's the next problem?" And then we go back down and study new physics, to make more devices to make better impacts. So, instead of this thing being vertically integrated, I like to sort of say we're cyclically integrated between fundamental physics, devices and systems. And at each level there needs to be good communication back and forth between the fundamental physics and the systems area, between the systems and device area, and between the physics and device area. So, everybody knows what they're doing, and talking to each other so we can all learn from each other and push the overall vision of photonics forward. That's sort of my philosophy. That's how I do it. And again, we've made impacts in the area related towards secure communications, compact laser systems that are useful for material processing or drilling holes in walls, making lasers operate with more precision in atomic clocks, etc.

Evan Forde

Oceanographer Evan B. Forde was born on May 11, 1952 in Miami, Florida and received his early education in the Miami Public School System. Forde earned his B.A. degree in geology with an oceanography specialty and his M.A. degree in marine geology and geophysics from Columbia University in the City of New York.

In 1973, Forde became an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Miami, Florida. He was the first African American scientist to participate in research dives aboard a submersible and completed successful dive expeditions in several submarine canyons utilizing three of these vessels. Forde remains one of only a handful of African American oceanographers in the United States. Forde has conducted research in a number of oceanographic and meteorological disciplines and has been a versatile pioneer in scientific research. His current research includes using satellite sensors to observe and analyze atmospheric conditions related to improving hurricane forecasting and improving intensity prediction models.

Forde has also worked extensively in the area of science education. He created and taught a graduate level course on tropical meteorology for the University of Miami's INSTAR program for seven years. Forde also created and teaches an oceanography course for middle school students called Oceanographic Curriculum Empowering Achievement in Natural Sciences (OCEANS) that has been featured in nationally distributed periodicals and web sites. He originated and authored the “Science Corner” in Ebony Jr! magazine for three years, and later created a Severe Weather Poster for NOAA that was distributed nationally to fifty thousand teachers.

Forde has spoken to more than fifty thousand students during career days and other presentations. Forde has also been the subject of the museum exhibits, including the Great Explorations section of the Staten Island Children's Museum, and has been featured in numerous periodicals, text books and many other publications on prominent African American scientists. Forde has also served as a PTA President, Scoutmaster, youth basketball coach, Sunday School and youth church teacher, church webmaster, neighborhood Crime Watch chairman, official photographer for the South Florida Special Olympics and in numerous other roles that have fostered youth and improved his community.

Forde has a host of career and civic awards that include being named NOAA’s Environmental Research Laboratories EEO Outstanding Employee, South Florida’s Federal Employee of the Year (Service to the Community), a U.S. Congressional Commendation, NOAA Research Employee of the Year and in 2009 he had days named in his honor by both the City of North Miami and Miami-Dade County, Florida. In 2010, the Miami-Dade County School Board issued a proclamation honoring Forde’s contributions to students citing his ongoing efforts to enhance public education. Forde was named as the recipient of the NOAA Administrator (Under Secretary of Commerce) Award for 2011 for his outstanding communication of NOAA science, sharing the joy of science with students, and helping to foster a science-literate society.

Evan B. Forde was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 3, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.137

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/3/2013

Last Name

Forde

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Columbia University

Miami Carol City Senior High

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Evan

Birth City, State, Country

Miami

HM ID

FOR12

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Orlando, Florida

Favorite Quote

Aging Is Not For Sissies/ Be Gentle With Yourself, Enjoy Life/ Every Day Above Ground Is A Good One/ If You Don't Believe Me, Miss One-All From His Father.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

5/11/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster, Shrimp Tacos

Short Description

Oceanographer Evan Forde (1952 - ) became an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Miami, Florida in 1973. He was the first African American scientist to participate in research dives aboard a submersible and remains one of only a handful of African American oceanographers in the United States.

Employment

NOAA Center in Atmospheric Sciences

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1732,15:2975,30:5652,46:7374,64:8358,80:8686,85:9260,95:9670,102:10162,110:10818,119:11474,130:13524,163:18590,187:19190,197:19715,207:20540,223:20840,228:21290,236:22190,257:22565,264:23015,272:23765,283:26050,289:26596,298:28702,366:29482,377:31666,414:32368,426:38478,468:40960,480:41500,491:41980,500:45879,519:46187,524:48343,563:48882,573:49498,582:50499,603:53555,615:53959,620:54767,631:55272,637:56181,650:57191,662:57595,667:58201,674:58884,693:59508,711:60852,751:66006,810:67455,836:67869,843:68352,852:72484,903:72832,910:73412,919:75036,959:75384,966:79034,1002:84053,1034:84479,1041:85189,1053:92124,1120:92479,1126:92834,1132:93615,1145:100700,1182:101267,1192:102086,1209:102653,1220:107228,1309:110328,1377:113145,1406:113463,1414:114470,1437:114841,1445:115106,1451:115477,1460:115795,1467:117279,1520:121180,1572:121720,1579:122080,1584:123650,1590:123998,1595:124781,1605:127676,1655:128378,1667:128846,1679:135935,1753:136195,1758:136520,1765:137235,1779:138145,1797:138535,1804:140030,1835:140420,1842:141070,1854:143020,1888:143280,1893:143800,1904:144385,1915:149411,1942:151100,1950:151919,1966:152234,1972:152738,1983:153053,1989:153494,1998:153935,2009:154628,2031:155384,2045:155951,2055:160475,2098:162602,2115:163565,2127:164956,2145:165598,2153:166026,2158:169172,2177:170294,2191:170804,2197:174410,2213:175010,2220:175410,2225:178227,2255:178779,2264:179676,2280:179952,2286:180780,2300:181263,2310:181884,2322:184050,2336$0,0:258,5:688,12:7052,169:8944,195:9632,205:10234,214:10922,224:11352,230:12728,251:16600,263:17024,274:17713,289:18243,302:18932,320:19462,332:22054,359:22462,366:23784,376:24016,382:24248,387:24480,392:25118,404:25524,412:26104,423:26916,442:27206,448:27612,458:27960,465:28540,477:29004,486:29410,494:32071,505:32339,510:32808,518:37096,591:40518,610:45022,680:46998,751:47570,768:47778,773:52284,845:53692,878:54652,897:55996,926:59836,1026:60604,1044:65520,1071:67620,1120:69180,1154:72520,1185:74971,1258:75427,1268:78692,1309:78920,1314:79205,1320:80060,1336:80630,1348:80972,1355:81371,1364:82967,1405:85888,1419:86304,1429:87032,1446:87344,1453:88488,1503:88696,1508:91236,1520:91788,1532:93168,1549:100349,1650:100885,1659:101756,1679:102560,1704:102895,1711:103766,1728:106680,1738:107037,1747:108006,1773:110700,1798:111602,1815:112668,1830:116346,1882:117127,1896:118121,1912:118689,1922:119328,1932:120180,1946:120890,1960:121458,1969:124085,2021:126320,2029:127540,2064:128089,2076:134744,2168:136093,2198:136732,2211:137016,2216:138791,2251:139430,2263:139998,2274:140566,2283:141418,2298:142199,2320:142767,2329:146744,2346:147297,2351:148008,2361:151458,2385:153718,2406:153973,2412:154279,2419:154585,2428:155197,2447:155452,2453:158387,2494:158655,2499:158990,2505:159392,2513:160732,2548:162541,2588:165238,2601:165568,2610:165832,2615:166228,2622:166822,2635:168010,2659:171662,2684:176770,2705:177546,2716:178225,2725:181145,2760:182080,2773:184571,2788:185059,2798:185425,2805:186828,2842:187682,2863:188536,2880:190982,2888:191266,2893:191763,2905:192686,2923:193609,2939:193964,2945:200546,3036:201194,3050:208806,3121:209176,3127:209472,3132:209990,3142:210878,3155:211174,3160:211692,3170:212284,3181:213468,3202:216390,3215:217790,3243:218210,3250:218560,3256:219260,3268:219540,3273:220240,3284:222968,3316:223352,3323:223672,3329:224248,3342:224696,3353:225848,3372:231308,3424:232946,3443:233702,3451:235592,3467:236348,3474:240366,3482:240670,3487:240974,3492:247080,3533:247368,3538:247800,3545:254778,3631:260496,3668:265660,3721:266052,3729:267004,3749:267732,3768:268292,3779:269132,3803:269636,3818:272570,3839:272790,3844:273450,3860:273890,3869:276945,3924:277371,3931:277655,3936:278010,3942:286886,3992:287383,4002:296477,4047:297071,4054:298160,4068:299150,4079:305525,4127:305999,4134:308527,4181:309396,4194:309791,4200:310344,4210:311766,4228:313109,4259:313504,4265:313978,4273:314689,4284:320380,4329:321600,4340
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Evan Forde's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Evan Forde lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Evan Forde describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Evan Forde talks about his grandparents and mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Evan Forde describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Evan Forde talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Evan Forde talks about his father's education

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

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Evan Forde describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Evan Forde talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Evan Forde describes his family household

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Evan Forde talks about his father's involvement in the community

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Evan Forde talks about his father's knowledge of science

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Evan Forde talks about his the role of church and religion in his growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Evan Forde talks about his elementary schools

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Evan Forde talks about the Boy Scouts and learning to play the trumpet

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Evan Forde talks about his father's positions at his junior-senior high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Evan Forde talks about his summer as a Boy Scout at Camp Sebring

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Evan Forde talks about his middle school physical education class

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Evan Forde talks about the integration of his high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Evan Forde describes when his house caught on fire

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Evan Forde describes quitting band in high school to join the football team

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Evan Forde describes getting football scholarships for college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Evan Forde describes being on his high school football team

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Evan Forde talks about the college counseling he received at his high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Evan Forde describes attending Columbia University to study oceanography

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Evan Forde talks about the summer after his high school graduation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Evan Forde describes getting a summer job at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Evan Forde describes his first semester at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Evan Forde talks about his Spanish professor at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Evan Forde describes becoming interested in marine geology and geophysics

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Evan Forde describes his acceptance into Columbia University for graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Evan Forde describes receiving his M.S. degree in marine geology at Columbia University pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Evan Forde describes receiving his M.S. degree in marine geology at Columbia University pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Evan Forde talks about his mother wanting him to be a doctor

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Evan Forde describes his master's thesis pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Evan Forde describes his master's thesis pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Evan Forde describes what happened when he was not credited for his research pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Evan Forde describes what happened when he was not credited for his research pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Evan Forde describes how he became the first African American oceanographer to conduct research aboard a submersible craft

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Evan Forde describes his first dive on a submersible pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Evan Forde describes his first dive on a submersible pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Evan Forde describes being on a submersible dive

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Evan Forde describes being caught under a mud slide in a submersible canyon

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Evan Forde talks about how he was nicknamed Willie Cousteau

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Evan Forde describes his most memorable discoveries from his submersible dives

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Evan Forde talks about creating the prevailing theory explaining mid-Atlantic submarine canyons

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Evan Forde describes his involvement in science education pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Evan Forde describes his involvement in science education pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Evan Forde describes how he became a writer for 'Ebony Jr.'

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Evan Forde talks about being a science educator

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Evan Forde describes his involvement in satellite remote sensing research pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Evan Forde describes his involvement in satellite remote sensing research pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Evan Forde describes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration severe weather poster

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Evan Forde describes creating the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration posters

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Evan Forde describes writing oceanic curricula pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Evan Forde describes writing oceanic curricula pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Evan Forde talks about one of his speeches

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Evan Forde describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Evan Forde reflects on his life

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Evan Forde talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Evan Forde talks about his father's influence on his life

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Evan Forde talks about his community service in science education

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Evan Forde talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Evan Forde describes his research on hurricanes and Saharan air layers pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Evan Forde describes his research on hurricanes and Saharan air layers pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
Evan Forde describes receiving his M.S. degree in marine geology at Columbia University pt. 1
Evan Forde describes what happened when he was not credited for his research pt. 1
Transcript
So, Dr. [John] Sanders mostly assuredly had a significant on my education. Not only that, but when I went to graduate school, he became my advisor. And it was a significant event for a number of reasons. First of all, I knew that he believed in me. But when I took my qualifying exam, which at Columbia [University, New York, New York], the way it works, is the qualifying exam allowed you to get the Master's degree, but qualified you to go on for the Ph.D. And there was a teacher in graduate school who was the only teacher who I ever earned a "B" in his class, he insisted that I go on a field trip in the snow when I had strep throat and a hundred and four degree fever, and told me that I'd fail his course if I didn't go on the field trip that weekend. And so the qualifying exam consisted of ten questions, and you had to answer seven of them. They were in different areas: paleontology, marine geology, geophysics, geochemistry, oceanography, marine biology; that sort of thing. And I knew who was going to grade the marine geology and geophysics question. It was that professor I had. And so I found seven other questions to answer on the qualifying exam, which generally speaking, you do answer the question in the field you're going to get your advanced degree in, but I didn't want any problems out of him. And I actually--what I--I took a paleontology question instead, 'cause the others, they were--there was a certain group that you pretty much knew "I'm going to do this one, I'm going to do that one," and that sort of thing. And so when the scores came back, this professor went to the--and I passed the qualifying exam--he went to the head of the department at Lamont [Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University] and said that I should not be allowed to get my degree because I had not answered the marine geology and geophysics question, which is the area that I was getting my degree in. And it was not written anywhere in the rules that I got along with the tests. He said, "Yeah, but it's customary and everybody knows." So there was this brouhaha at the school. And the head of the department didn't know me from Adam, and was--had gotten him to agree that if I would answer that question for him, you know, a separate setting and all that, successfully, that he'd allow me to pass the exam.$What does a person in academics can do about such a thing? I mean, is it--either they or--what could you--I mean, what were you thinking at the time that--?$$Okay. So what I did was, I--when I found out that the paper was being published without my name on it, because my supervisor was away for the summer, and I was opening her mail. I'm trying not--the person went to a very, very high position in another government agency by the way, after that, but hadn't published a paper in several years, and knew nothing about the sediments and the bathymetry and the geophysical methods I was using. And it was actually her cruise that I was one, and one of her instruments didn't work, and that's when she came to me. She said, "You're very familiar with this area. What would you do if you had the ship for three days?" And I said, "Well, I suspect there's these underwater landslides that we could use seismic reflection profiling, and we can use the 3.5 kilohertz profiler, and the R-beam echo sounder. We could do the survey." And she said, "I d-- How would the survey lines go, I don't know." So I--because I made the map, the underwater map, right, the map of the bottom. From memory I sketched it out. And I said, "This ship will go this way, this way, this way, this way." And I was on watch that night when we got the evidence we needed that the underwater landslides had actually taken place. And I called my mentor who is no longer working here, the guy who had originally hired me that summer, who said, "With these grades, we need to find a position for him," and he was very excited, but he was no longer my lab director, and told him about it. And so I called him and asked him what I should do when I found out that the paper was being published without my name. And he said, "Go to the director, your division director and tell him." And he said, "But before you do that, Xerox the paper and highlight everything in yellow that's directly attributable to you." It was three-quarters of the paper. Even the estimates I'd made of the size of the underwater landslide. I said it was twenty-eight cubic kilometers. Her final estimate was thirty cubic kilometers. You know, it was very close. These are calculations I'd done on the back of an envelope basically, you know, and she had her computer programmers, you know calculate that stuff. And so the director, 'cause she still wasn't here, he said, "You did the right thing to come to me, and don't you say a word about this to anybody." Now, I had already said something to my mentor, who's no longer here, and he said, "I will handle this. Don't confront her, don't say anything." And so I was being obedient. And when I saw that the paper was--appeared on the list of approved for publication, I called my mentor back and I said, "What do I do?" He said, "It is not too late to get your name on that paper." He said, "It's awful suspicious, why would anybody be acknowledged twice in the same acknowledgments? That's just a line or two, you know. That's suspicious to begin with." And he called the Lab Director here, and I don't know what that conversation went like, but then I got called in by the Lab Director who said, "Where do you get off airing dirty laundry for this laboratory outside?" And I said, "I'm not airing dirty laundry. He hired me. He's my profession mentor," and all that. "If you," he told me, "If I hear you breathe a word of this to another living soul, I will fire your ass. Do you understand me? Have I made myself clear?" I said, "Yes, sir." "Not another word to anybody." And so I was threatened with being fired if I cried rape, or help, or I've being taken advantage of here. And it happens occasionally in our profession. And I understand that it happened to the person who was supervising me then; that when she was in graduate school, something similar had happened to her. So she should have known better in how traumatic it could be. But, like I said, her career continued to rise, and she became the deputy director of a government agency.$$Now, so how--$$By the way, it would be pretty easy to find out who it is, so I don't--I mean somebody who would know, you know, but I'm not trying to, you know. So I was never able to discuss it with her. And she left here in, like, a few years, and-

M. Brian Blake

Computer scientist and academic administrator M. Brian Blake was born in Savannah, Georgia. He graduated from Benedictine Military Academy in 1989 and then enrolled in the Georgia Institute of Technology where he graduated with his B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1994. In 1997, Blake earned his M.S. degree in electrical engineering with a minor in software engineering and a graduate certificate in object-oriented analysis and design from Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia. He went on to earn his Ph.D. degree in information technology and computer science from George Mason University in 2000.

Upon graduation, Blake spent six years in industry working as a software architect, technical lead, and expert developer with companies such as General Electric (GE), Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and The MITRE Corporation. Blake joined the department of computer science at Georgetown University in 1999 as an adjunct professor. After being promoted to associate professor in 2005, he became the youngest African American tenured computer science professor. In 2007, Blake was selected to chair Georgetown University’s computer science department, making him the first African American appointed to the position. Blake was then brought on at Notre Dame University in 2009 where he served the Associate Dean of Engineering for Research and Graduate Studies, and as professor of computer science and engineering. Blake was also the first African American tenured professor in Notre Dame’s College of Engineering. In May of 2012, Blake was named Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Miami. His research interests include

Blake has published more than 150 refereed articles and publications in the area of software engineering and the integration of Web-based systems. He served as the Associate Editor-in-Chief of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Internet Computing, and Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Service Computing. In 2006, he was selected to serve on the National Science Foundation Advisory Board for Computer, Information Science, and Engineering. Blake is also a senior member of the IEEE Computer Society.

In 2007, was honored by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education as “One of 10 Emerging Scholars.” He was the creator and founder of the Web Services Challenge, an initiative that evaluates software engineering techniques in the area of web service composition. As an undergraduate at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Blake was initiated in the ANAK Society and received the J. Erskine Love, Jr. Award. In 2003, US Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine and Lockheed Martin recognized him as the “Most Promising Engineer/Scientist in Industry.”

Blake is married to Bridget Blake, a mechanical engineer who earned her M.B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and now serves as a consultant for The MITRE Corporation. They have two sons: Brendan Blake and Bryce Blake.

Brian M. Blake was interviewed y he HistoryMakers on June 3, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.139

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/3/2013

Last Name

Blake

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Brian

Schools

George Mason University

Mercer University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Benedictine Military School

Shuman Middle School

Eli Whitney Elementary

First Name

M.

Birth City, State, Country

Savannah

HM ID

BLA15

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

10/13/1971

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Coral Gables

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pudding (Bread)

Short Description

Computer scientist and academic administrator M. Brian Blake (1971 - ) joined the faculty of Georgetown University in 1998, and went on to become the youngest African American tenured computer science professor and the first African American to become chair of the computer science department. He was also the first African American tenured professor in the College of Engineering at the University Notre Dame.

Employment

University of Miami

University of Notre Dame

Georgetown University

MITRE Corporation

Cleared Solutions

Lockheed Martin

General Electric Company

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:632,11:1336,23:2296,37:2936,51:3256,57:6776,137:7864,165:8184,171:12408,291:13816,319:19964,367:20666,375:21524,393:22304,404:24020,434:24488,441:24878,448:25346,455:28103,467:28438,473:28840,482:30046,504:30649,514:30917,519:31453,527:31922,535:32659,554:33329,567:33597,572:36947,642:37885,664:38153,669:38756,683:39426,695:40632,719:40900,724:42642,768:43111,776:56317,983:56965,994:57532,1005:57937,1011:58990,1027:60691,1060:61258,1071:61663,1077:62554,1093:67742,1118:69338,1135:70782,1151:71314,1159:71998,1175:72302,1180:74278,1215:75114,1227:76102,1244:80526,1278:81039,1288:81894,1309:82749,1333:83034,1339:84003,1369:85029,1394:86226,1407:86739,1417:88734,1460:89589,1488:89817,1493:97320,1583:98205,1604:98618,1613:99031,1621:101922,1698:102335,1706:103220,1726:103456,1731:104046,1748:104400,1755:104872,1766:118327,1906:119380,1922:119785,1929:120190,1939:121081,1956:121567,1966:124564,2019:128900,2027:130056,2045:132504,2079:135778,2116:136666,2132:136962,2137:137628,2148:139108,2170:140218,2193:143272,2200:144337,2219:147177,2269:149094,2322:150088,2349:150585,2357:151011,2365:152005,2382:152573,2391:153496,2406:154632,2436:159208,2466:159705,2474:160060,2480:160344,2485:161338,2503:161977,2519:164036,2578:168363,2619:168718,2625:169286,2639:171487,2685:172836,2714:173972,2739:174611,2755:174895,2768:178161,2831:182066,2921:182989,2937:183557,2953:189680,2985:190192,2998:191216,3029:194288,3096:194608,3106:194864,3116:195312,3125:198192,3194:199024,3210:200944,3253:201200,3317:201520,3323:202096,3328:202352,3333:203312,3354:204208,3390:209131,3396:209473,3406:210100,3424:213856,3495:214252,3503:214846,3515:215308,3523:215704,3531:216166,3541:216628,3552:218410,3609:219664,3636:220192,3645:223096,3733:223690,3741:224020,3747:225406,3780:227056,3827:227914,3842:228310,3850:228640,3856:229960,3883:230488,3893:237652,3946:239101,3972:241516,4023:244966,4086:245311,4092:248278,4139:248623,4145:252772,4177:253178,4186:256426,4271:256890,4286:257354,4297:258862,4338:260950,4381:261356,4389:261994,4404:265440,4423:265660,4428:265935,4434:268135,4493:268410,4502:268795,4511:269125,4519:269345,4524:269675,4531:270280,4563:270995,4598:276520,4693:277720,4720:278440,4734:280660,4786:281200,4797:281800,4811:282280,4830:282520,4835:283120,4853:287020,4960:287380,4968:287920,4978:288760,5018:289120,5025:290080,5034:290560,5043:290800,5057:297430,5126:297970,5137:298330,5145:298630,5151:299470,5173:301750,5226:305470,5318:306850,5357:307090,5362:307630,5373:307990,5380:308290,5386:308830,5411:315064,5474:318120,5536$0,0:3717,110:4487,127:7028,163:8645,181:10108,210:15807,250:18214,290:19293,307:19957,316:20870,328:21534,337:21949,343:24450,350:25638,373:25968,379:26364,387:28014,422:28740,444:29598,461:30060,472:31116,486:34810,518:35860,540:36310,547:37135,562:38635,588:39760,611:40285,620:46210,733:47485,758:47935,765:49660,790:52831,808:53480,820:53834,827:54129,833:57138,904:57964,920:58436,942:60147,985:61740,1020:62330,1033:63746,1067:64926,1093:65339,1102:70308,1135:71100,1151:71676,1161:72252,1170:75514,1193:77958,1210:78420,1218:79674,1251:80730,1271:81192,1279:81654,1287:82776,1299:83502,1307:86076,1366:87066,1388:87462,1395:90605,1419:91232,1435:92543,1460:94652,1498:100508,1577:101012,1586:101804,1599:102236,1606:102524,1611:102956,1621:107180,1651
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of M. Brian Blake's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - M. Brian Blake lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - M. Brian Blake describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - M. Brian Blake talks about his mother's growing up in Estill, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - M. Brian Blake talks about his mother's entrepreneurial skills and her influence on him

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - M. Brian Blake describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - M. Brian Blake describes his father's growing up in Estill, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - M. Brian Blake talks about Estill, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - M. Brian Blake talks about how his parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - M. Brian Blake talks about his father's entrepreneurship

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - M. Brian Blake describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - M. Brian Blake talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - M. Brian Blake describes his childhood household

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - M. Brian Blake describes his childhood neighborhoods in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - M. Brian Blake describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - M. Brian Blake talks about attending Townsley Chapel AME Church in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience in grade school - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - M. Brian Blake describes the changes in his childhood neighborhood in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience in grade school - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience in grade school - part three

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - M. Brian Blake describes his interest in mathematics in grade school, and his father encouraging him to apply math to entrepreneurial use

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - M. Brian Blake describes his early exposure to computers and programming - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - M. Brian Blake describes his early exposure to computers and programming - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience in middle school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience at Benedictine Military Academy in Savannah, Georgia - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience at Benedictine Military Academy in Savannah, Georgia - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - M. Brian Blake talks about his preparation in computer science in high school and his decision to major in electrical engineering at Georgia Tech

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - M. Brian Blake talks about graduating from high school and his extracurricular activities there

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - M. Brian Blake talks about his growth spurt in high school, and running track

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - M. Brian Blake talks about his parents attending his track meets

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - M. Brian Blake talks about attending a minority introduction to engineering program at Purdue University and his decision to attend Georgia Tech

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - M. Brian Blake talks about his mentors at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and his experience as a research assistant

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - M. Brian Blake talks about his undergraduate research experience at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - M. Brian Blake talks about graduating from Georgia Tech as a member of the ANAK honor society

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - M. Brian Blake describes his decision to pursue the Edison Engineering Program at General Electric

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience of working as a software engineering consultant at Lockheed Martin and also pursing his master's degree

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience at Mercer University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience of pursuing his Ph.D. degree at George Mason University while working on a full-time job

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - M. Brian Blake describes his decision to become a professor at Georgetown University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - M. Brian Blake describes his Ph.D. dissertation on workflow models, and his relationship with his mentor, Skip Ellis

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - M. Brian Blake describes the impact of his Ph.D. dissertation on workflow models

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - M. Brian Blake describes Workflow Automation through Agent-based Reflective Processes (WARP) and its applications

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - M. Brian Blake talks about his mentor at George Mason University, Professor Hassan Gomaa

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience at Georgetown University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - M. Brian Blake talks about serving as an expert witness

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience working for MITRE Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - M. Brian Blake talks about his involvement in mentoring

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - M. Brian Blake talks about serving as the lead software process consultant for the Imaging Science and Information Systems Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience as an administrator at Georgetown University

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - M. Brian Blake talks about Workflow Automation through Agent-based Reflective Processes (WARP) and working with the Department of Justice

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - M. Brian Blake talks about his involvement with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - M. Brian Blake talks about Beverly Magda at Georgetown University

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - M. Brian Blake describes how he was hired as a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre Dame in 2009

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience at the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - M. Brian Blake describes his decision to become the vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school at the University of Miami

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - M. Brian Blake describes his experience at the University of Miami

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - M. Brian Blake describes his research focus in the area of service-oriented computing and cloud computing

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - M. Brian Blake talks about the cutting edge in computer science

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - M. Brian Blake describes his research collaboration with HistoryMakers Ayanna Howard and Andrew Williams

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - M. Brian Blake talks about his career goals for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - M. Brian Blake reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - M. Brian Blake reflects upon his career

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - M. Brian Blake discusses his goals for the University of Miami

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - M. Brian Blake describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - M. Brian Blake talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - M. Brian Blake talks about the University of Miami's football team

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - M. Brian Blake talks about starting a bank account at the age of eleven, buying his first house, and the importance of financial management

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - M. Brian Blake talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
M. Brian Blake describes his early exposure to computers and programming - part one
M. Brian Blake describes Workflow Automation through Agent-based Reflective Processes (WARP) and its applications
Transcript
One of the interesting things I did, when I was in fifth grade, my dad [Malworsth Blake] bought this Apple IIe. It was one of the early MacIntosh, one of the early Apple machines. He said--he was so excited, he was like I'm going to use this to do all my accounting, it's going to save me time and all this stuff. I think he might have got on that thing maybe two months, before it started collecting dust. And we had a converted garage into a family room, so in fifth grade, I just picked it up and basically just started writing programs on it. I think by the time that I graduated from--we had a different machine by then, but by the time I was kind of in high school, I had hundreds of programs I'd written on that machine.$$Now, how did you get started with writing programs for an Apple IIe. Now, this is in the garage. Now, there's a missing part of this story, you just picked up and just started writing programs?$$I'll tell you the background. So the Apple IIe was there, and then I, in fifth grade, it had a couple of games on it, you could make these small programs to add things. The basic--it's interesting, the programming for Windows machine, it has like this DOS, very kind of rudimentary programming language, if you will, as the basic underneath the operating system. Those early machines, they just had basic programming language. So the programming language was actually the operating system language. So if your basic was the first programming language, most people learned it was kind of C, C++, basic, was just the foundation. So you could write small programs right from the command line on those Apple IIes. And I wrote a couple of things, I kind of add two numbers together and things like that. But how I really learned to program on that was that it had a couple of games on it and they were not games like we would know them today.$$What were the games?$$Yeah. Breakout was on there, which was like a bar and a couple of balls, and then it had other--so it had, what was it called, Westward Ho was a game on there. Most of the games were text-based. So this was a game that you had to move across the country with a lot of goods. It was kind of like a simulation, if you will, but you could decide what you were going to bring and what you're going to--it was kind of those societal games. There was another game on there that was a computer simulation for stocks. So you can-- another simulation of you had to make choices about what stocks to buy and what particular time, and the simulation would run, and you could actually grow different things. So, and I played those games, only a couple of those. So, you know, I got excited about games and particularly about, and these weren't like the games, like I said, this was not WE or Nintendo, or anything like that, these were like kind of text-based games, if you will. So I subscribed to, I think it was called PC Computing or PC World, it was a magazine. So back then, if you remember it, they had disk drives that were relatively new. They used to have a disk drive where the disk was about the size of a sheet of paper and then about the time I got on the machine, the disk was the size of--it was five and a quarter, so it was kind of like this size. (indicating) So, and those disk couldn't hold--they could hold some programs, but not so much. So what you would do is, you would order the magazine, and the magazine would come with all the programming language in it, and you'd have to type in the program line by line, and then you'd have the game. So that's kind of how you got--you could either buy it or you could actually subscribe to a magazine that would actually give you games.$$How did you get acquainted with PC World Magazine, was that at school?$$I guess so. I'm trying to think when--I started subscribing to that in fifth grade. My fifth grade was early for computers back then. Now, it's not so early. But I think I must have seen it somewhere. There was another buddy of mine in the neighborhood who also--I actually had Apple IIe and he had the Radio Shack version, it was a Tandy TR80, he had the other computer. So he and I would go back and forth about how you would do it. Probably some interaction there, we discovered the magazine. And once I got that, I think how I started learning the programs, I'd write this coding in, I knew nothing about what was going on, and then what would happen would be over time, it was all basic language, over time I'd begin to pick up what things mean. And the reason why you'd have to is because you're going to make mistakes when you type it in, and it wouldn't work, and you had to try to figure out--you could go line by line, but sometimes the program would be written wrong in the--so you would receive it wrong, so you couldn't get it to work because there was some error in it, so over time you would begin to realize, okay, I think I've caught all the errors, so it must be something else. And you begin to see some of the things that are breaking down, and you begin to read it a little closer, so it's almost--I think that's how people can pick up other languages, too. They watch TV and they look at text and over time, if you look at the subscripts that show on TV over time, you can kind of pick up what the language means because you're kind of comparing what happens to what's being said. And that was very similar for me, how I learned BASIC language basically through that, and over time, I just got better and started doing that.$Tell us about WARP [Workflow Automation through Agent-based Reflective Processes], I think we mentioned it in general, but not specifically?$$Right. So, WARP was this notion of--I think the acronym stands for Workflow Oriented Agent Base Reflective Processes is what it stood for, but the idea was--it was actually intelligent software using agents that could--reflective being that it could look--it could introspect on software that already exist and try to connect it into workflow automatically. So it was a--it really was sort of an expert system, if you will, that could actually assess already written code and develop workflows from that code. It was about I think it was like 15 or 20,000 lines of code I wrote during my dissertation, and it was really foundational to my early work. One of the interesting things about being a software engineer and being sort of self-proclaiming expert at programming was that when you do your dissertation you have all this theoretical stuff, you could actually--I could write my own software to kind of do a proof of concept and WARP was that proof of concept. And as I said later it extended to any number of projects that we had. We had a project with the Federal Aviation Administration where it actually served air traffic control data, had a project that served date through neuro informatics(sp) through the National Institute of Mental Health. We had another project where I used it for image guided surgery so the theory behind actually integrating the workflow and some of the modules we developed later, you know, based on that initial module were using any number of applications.$$Okay.

Samuel Williamson

Atmospheric scientist Samuel P. Williamson was born on March 5, 1949, in Somerville, Tennessee to the late Julius Williamson, Jr. and Izoula Smith. He graduated from W.P. Ware High School in 1967. Williamson received his B.S. degree in mathematics from Tennessee State University in 1971 and his B.S. degree in meteorology from North Carolina State University in 1972. He went on to earn his M.A. degree in management from Webster University in 1976. From 1996 to 1997, Williamson was a visiting Executive Fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government where he explored national security issues involving science, technology, and public policy.

In 1971, Williamson was hired as an elementary mathematics teacher in the Fayette County School System in Tennessee. Later in 1971, he began his atmospheric science career as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force’s Air Weather Service. In 1977, Williamson joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For more than twelve years, he was NOAA’s principal planner and ultimately the Director of the Joint System Program Office for the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) WSR-88D, Doppler Weather Radar System through the design, development and initial deployment of this first major joint program among three Federal departments—the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Transportation. Later, as a Senior Staff Associate for the National Science Foundation, Williamson enhanced science education. In his role as a senior advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, he helped shape the legislative agenda for science, space, and technology policy. In 1998, Williamson was appointed as the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research. As the Federal Coordinator, he is accountable to the U.S. Congress and the Office of Management and Budget for systematic coordination and cooperation among 15 Federal departments, independent agencies, and executive offices with meteorology programs or interests to ensure the Federal government provides the best possible weather information and user services to the Nation. Under his leadership, significant advances were made in the areas of aviation weather, space weather, wildland fire weather, weather information for surface transportation, advanced modeling and data assimilation, and tropical cyclone research and operations.

Williamson is a member of the American Meteorological Society, the Montgomery College Foundation Board, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Guard Association. He also serves on the Committee for the Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability (CENRS) of the National Science and Technology Council.

Williamson is a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award (2010), the NOAA Distinguished Career Award (2010), the NOAA Bronze Medal (1996), and the National Guard Association of the United States Garde Nationale Trophy (1993). In 2006, Williamson was elected as a Fellow of the African Scientific Institute.

Samuel P. Williamson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.142

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/22/2013

Last Name

Williamson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

P.

Schools

Harvard University

Webster University

North Carolina State University

Tennessee State University

Fayette Ware Comprehensive High School

Jefferson Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Samuel

Birth City, State, Country

Somerville

HM ID

WIL64

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Charleston, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Be the best that you can be

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/5/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist Samuel Williamson (1949 - ) was appointed as the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1998. In 2010, Williamson received the Presidential Rank Award and the NOAA Distinguished Career Award.

Employment

United States Department of Commerce

United States Air Force

Fayette County School System

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Samuel Williamson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mother's education and her employment

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson describes his father's family background - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson talks about his father's personality and his education and his employment

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about his father's employment

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mother's education and his relationship with his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson talks about his father's service in World War II as a quartermaster on the Red Ball Express and his skill as a sharpshooter

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about his parents' last years together

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson tells the story of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson tells the story of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mathematical skills

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Somerville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his teachers in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience in high school - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience in high school - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson describes his decision to attend Tennessee State University and receiving a scholarship to do so

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about joining the U.S. Air Force ROTC at Tennessee State University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson talks about getting married in 1970

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience at Tennessee State University the evening that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson describes the events on Tennessee State University's campus following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson talks about his teachers at Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his career in the U.S/ Air Force, and well known football players who were at Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson talks about football player, Joe Gilliam

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about athletes from Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson describes his decision to study meteorology at North Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience while studying meteorology at North Carolina State University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience with racism while trying to find housing near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience at Charleston Air Force Base

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson describes his decision to pursue his master's degree in management at Webster University's Air Force extension program

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson describes his contributions at the National Weather Service and as the principal planner of the NEXRAD Joint System Program

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mentors, Richard Hellgren and Colonel William Barney

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson describes his work as the deputy director of the NEXRAD Joint System Program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson talks about receiving the Presidential Rank Award in 2010

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 2001

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson talks about radar technology for weather and airplane control, and explains the phenomenon of wind shear

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about phase array radar

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson shares his perspectives on the evolution of weather warning systems, and the need for infrastructure to sustain inclement weather

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson discusses the importance of improved weather warning systems and shelter infrastructure

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson discusses the need for better response to severe weather warnings and improved shelter infrastructure

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson explains why the United States is prone to tornadoes

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson describes his work in the area of atmospheric and environmental transport dispersion models

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his contributions to improving traffic reports for increasing the safety of highway travel

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson describes his work on improving predictions of the development and impact of storms and hurricanes

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson talks about providing recommendations for better ways of dealing with wildfires in the western U.S.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about his collaboration with federal agencies to monitor the impact of solar radiations

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon his career and his legacy - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon his career and his legacy - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon his career in the military and his experience as a Visiting Executive Fellow at Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon the mentoring that he received over the course of his career in the federal government

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about his wife and his two children

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Samuel Williamson talks about his father's personality and his education and his employment
Samuel Williamson describes his contributions to improving traffic reports for increasing the safety of highway travel
Transcript
And so, he [Williamson's father, Julius Williamson, Jr.] was picked to do good; he was well known in the community, well respected, he promoted education, he was a family man, he always wanted--he was very spiritual, he was a deacon in the church where he actually grew up at. He became a deacon on the deacon board in 1950 and served fifty-four years on the deacon board where he retired in 2004. He passed the torch to my brother, whose name is Julius Williamson III. He also was chairman. I had already left, you know, I had my own career and so forth. So, but he was the one the community looked up to, my dad was well known and very respected. When people wanted things they came to him, if blacks wanted to borrow money from the bank his word was good enough, you know, up to a certain amount. So he helped people and he believed in helping people and I remember when I was a child, my dad had a lot of clothes and stuff that he had gotten, he was giving things away and my mom [Izoula Smith Williamson] said, "Let me look at it first before you give away everything." So that's just the way he was. I will tell you one other story, he drove a school bus and then there was a young man who every morning, you know, it was cold in the winter time and he would get on the bus with no coat. My day said, "Where's your coat?" He said he left it; there was some excuse he gave every day. As it turns out he didn't have a coat and so about the third day because it was so cold, the kid gets on the bus, my dad had gone to a store and bought a brand new coat and gave it to him. So I happened to meet this young man as he is now an adult and he was telling me about this story about what kind of heart my dad had. He just wanted to help people, he felt that he was in a position; it wasn't like we were out there sharecropping and have to worry about being evicted off our land because we had our own (unclear). So I think a lot of my drive came from my father, my mom was just loving, she just cared, she did everything, you know, for her children but my dad was the primary provider.$$Okay. Now did your dad get a chance to finish school?$$No he did not, my dad had about a fifth grade education. When he went into the [U.S.] Army, then of course as part of the schooling that he got in the Army, then once he came off of active duty in 1946 the VA had what you called the GI school, means that there was money that where you could go to the school and you could learn a trade. I think he really wanted to do his in farming. He had ideas about of becoming a large farmer; he wanted to become a big farmer, you know, a black farmer. And so he learned a lot about how to manage business and so forth. So when you add up his technical training he received once he came off active duty, I would say it probably equated to a GED equivalent to high school.$$So he went to school on the GI bill?$$They called it GI school at the time but it was really the GI bill (unclear).$$So is the GI school to help people in agriculture--?$$Agriculture, development but also there were other skills too. If you wanted to become plumbers, they were technicians. The Booker T. Washington era for what he promoted was technical training, you know, become technicians.$$Industrial (unclear).$$Industrial (unclear)--.$The next thing I did in this job [Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)], I think is very important here is you think about the number of people who are dying on the highways and byways we have about 7,000 people dying on the highways every year. We have about a half million people that are being injured on the highway that are caused by weather. You may have a pile-up caused by fog, or you may have a hundred car pile-ups because of smoke, or for haze or what have you. You may have a pile-up because of frozen or liquid precipitation or even snow or what have you. So what we've done here is we have what you call a national review of what our needs and priority are on where we should be focusing our attention on research and how--what do we do about the black ice problems on bridges. What can we do now to better mitigate that issue so that when you're traveling on these bridges you don't start slipping and sliding and then create a accident that kills yourself or you run into somebody else and it kills them. What can we do to mitigate the fog problems that we are experiencing that are causing these car pile-ups. So what I have done is with this national needs assessment is that, we started a whole train of events of things that people can do. One of the first things you hear when you turn the TV on in the morning time is that you get a weather report and you get a traffic report so what we are doing with that is we are sensitizing people that you are traveling to work and you want to know how the weather is going to impact your travel. That's what I started, I started all that. It got started on all the TV networks; the weather channel works hand in hand with me. That's saving lives if you are more sensitized on what is going on. Another important thing is if you are traveling on vacation we started a national number called 511, you know what 911 is when it comes to emergencies, you dial 511, have you ever dialed it before, you are going to get two things. One is that you are going to get information about road construction or road maintenance so that you have a sense now of where traffic is going to be slow on that artery. Second thing you are going to get is weather. So if you want to know how the weather is impacting your travel on interstate 81 or 66 or 40 or any of the main arteries that you are going to be traveling throughout and in the country then that's what we are giving you now. That's something that I started. The goal is to save lives and it was never done before, this is the first time that this has ever been done when I started this.

Kenneth Olden

Cell biologist and biochemist Kenneth Olden was born in Parrottsville, Tennessee. He graduated from Knoxville College in 1960 with his B.S. degree in biology. In 1962, Olden enrolled at the University of Michigan and graduated from there in 1964 with his M.S. degree in genetics. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in cell biology and biochemistry from Temple University in 1978. Upon graduation, Olden served as a postdoctoral fellow and instructor in the physiology department at Harvard University Medical School where he worked from 1970 to 1974.

From 1974 to 1979, he was employed as a researcher in the laboratory of molecular biology at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 1977, he became the first African American to be awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of independent investigator at the NIH. From 1979-1991, he held several positions at the Howard University Cancer Center, including Director, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Oncology. Olden served in several positions at Howard University between 1979 and 1991, including associate professor of oncology in the Medical School as well as professor and chairman of the Department of Oncology.

In 1991, Olden was named Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Nation Toxicology Program (NTP) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. He was the first African American to become director of one of the NIH Institutes. Olden then served as Chief of the Metastasis Group in the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the NIEHS. He was appointed as the Yerby Visiting Professor in the Harvard School of Public Health from 2006 to 2007. In 2008, Olden became founding Dean of the School of Public Health at the City University of New York.

Olden has received four of the most prestigious awards in public health: the American Public Health Association Calver Award in 2002, the Sedgwick Memorial Medal and the Laurenberg Award in 2004, and the Julius B. Richmond Award in 2005. He also received three of the highest awards for a public servant in the executive branch of the U.S. Government: the DHHS Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award in 1995, the President’s Meritorious Executive Rank Award in 1997, and the President’s Distinguished Executive Rank Award in 1998. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Rochester and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College of Charleston. Olden was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1994.

Ken Olden was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on May 21, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.123

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/21/2013

Last Name

Olden

Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Knoxville College

University of Michigan

Temple University

Tanner High School

Allen Chapel School

First Name

Ken

Birth City, State, Country

Newport

HM ID

OLD01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Genetics loads the gun, the environment pulls the trigger.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

7/22/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Durham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Cell biologist and academic administrator Kenneth Olden (1938 - ) became the founding Dean of the School of Public Health at the City University of New York in 2008. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Employment

United States Environmental Protection Agency

City University of New York

Harvard University Medical School

National Caner Institute of the National Institutes of Health

Howard University Cancer Center

National Institute of Health (NIH)

United States Department of Health and Human Services

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:906,3:1544,18:2124,32:6230,159:7110,172:10053,198:12626,240:17440,309:17772,314:27629,422:27897,427:38570,563:42424,600:43080,608:43818,618:44392,628:49312,703:53216,713:54224,730:55043,748:55358,754:55610,759:57059,789:59831,850:60272,859:64703,898:65068,904:65360,910:66090,919:66601,928:77664,1097:78267,1108:78602,1114:80958,1129:81253,1135:84258,1179:88236,1253:88782,1263:89484,1273:90342,1289:90654,1294:91512,1308:91980,1317:92292,1322:93150,1331:93696,1339:101855,1411:102380,1419:102905,1429:103205,1434:103505,1439:105380,1457:106076,1478:106598,1487:107004,1495:108106,1519:108454,1526:108976,1536:109266,1542:109498,1547:109730,1552:109962,1557:115316,1580:115561,1587:115904,1595:116737,1624:117227,1631:117668,1641:117864,1646:118060,1651:118403,1660:118697,1667:119040,1675:119236,1680:120720,1689$0,0:1190,12:2254,26:7346,149:11358,174:12730,189:13710,205:16758,223:17334,230:20022,263:22254,279:29360,358:29920,366:30800,383:31920,406:32240,411:32560,416:33040,424:35836,442:37420,470:37684,476:41240,513:41590,519:41940,526:43270,552:43760,560:44180,568:45860,635:50613,666:51341,676:51705,681:53252,699:54617,718:55436,729:56073,737:59052,752:59490,763:59782,768:60439,778:61680,800:62994,823:68555,964:68780,970:69185,980:75352,1068:75584,1073:75816,1087:76280,1098:76512,1103:78088,1116:78952,1133:79960,1145:81976,1181:82552,1193:84352,1217:94840,1347:102821,1515:103113,1520:103624,1529:103989,1535:105668,1559:106033,1565:106398,1571:111674,1608:112002,1613:112658,1623:113888,1639:118152,1697:119382,1720:122974,1750:127320,1809:127754,1818:128002,1823:129800,1862:131340,1876:134726,1898:135462,1908:137762,1935:138222,1941:138682,1947:139326,1955:140522,1970:159755,2188:160181,2195:160536,2201:160820,2206:161317,2216:162737,2239:163021,2245:163305,2250:164299,2271:164796,2284:165364,2294:166997,2327:170720,2334:171310,2354:173021,2392:173434,2401:173906,2411:175610,2422
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth Olden's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth Olden lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth Olden describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth Olden talks about his mother and about Newport, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth Olden describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth Olden talks about his parents attending church while growing up in Newport, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth Olden talks about visiting his hometown in Newport, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth Olden talks about his parents attending school in Newport, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth Olden talks about his parents as his role models

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth Olden talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth Olden describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth Olden describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Parrotsville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth Olden describes his experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth Olden describes his early interest in reading and in pursuing higher education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth Olden talks about successful African Americans in his community and his role in church while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth Olden describes his experience in high school - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth Olden describes his experience in high school - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth Olden talks about graduating from high school, attending Knoxville College, and his interest in becoming a scientist

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth Olden describes the difference between research laboratories and teaching laboratories

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth Olden describes his experience at Knoxville College and talks about his chemistry teacher and mentor, Dr. Mertin

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth Olden describes his experience in the undergraduate research program at the University of Tennessee before it was integrated

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kenneth Olden talks about graduating from Knoxville College, working for a year, and starting graduate school at the University of Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kenneth Olden describes his decision to attend the University of Michigan to pursue his master's degree in biology

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kenneth Olden describes his experience at the University of Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kenneth Olden describes his experience as a researcher at Columbia University, and his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree at Temple University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kenneth Olden describes his doctoral dissertation in bioenergetics, and the characterization of the P503 pigment

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kenneth Olden talks about his family's reaction and understanding of his career as a scientist

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kenneth Olden talks about his experience in Knoxville, Tennessee during the Civil Rights Movement, and the peaceful integration of businesses there

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kenneth Olden describes his experience as a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University, and the characterization of a cell-wall mutant of E.coli

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kenneth Olden describes his postdoctoral work on characterizing a cell-wall mutant of E.coli

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Kenneth Olden talks about ATP is the source of energy in protein degradation, and being cited in the 1972 Nobel Prize lecture

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kenneth Olden describes his appointment at the National Cancer Institute in 1974, and becoming tenured in 1977

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kenneth Olden talks about protein secretion

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kenneth Olden describes his discovery that protein secretion does not require a carbohydrate tag

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kenneth Olden describes the scientific community's reaction to his discovery that protein secretion does not require a carbohydrate tag

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kenneth Olden talks about the Nobel Prize winning discovery of the peptide signal sequence that facilitates protein secretion

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kenneth Olden talks about his research in finding a possible cure for melanoma, and the challenges that prevented it from being a feasible cure

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kenneth Olden talks about the problems with chemotherapy as a treatment for cancer

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kenneth Olden describes his decision to join the Howard University Cancer Center in 1978 - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Kenneth Olden describes his decision to join the Howard University Cancer Center in 1978 - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Kenneth Olden describes his service as the scientific director of the Howard University Cancer Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Kenneth Olden talks about his appointment as the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in 1991

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Kenneth Olden describes his tenure as the director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Kenneth Olden discusses the problems of holding positions of power for too long

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Kenneth Olden talks about the state of the Howard University Cancer Center after he left in 1991

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Kenneth Olden talks about his appointments at Harvard School of Public Health and the City University of New York [CUNY]

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Kenneth Olden talks about his appointment as the director of the National Center for Environmental Assessment at the EPA

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Kenneth Olden talks about the role of the National Center for Environmental Assessment at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Kenneth Olden talks about the role of the National Center for Environmental Assessment at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Kenneth Olden talks about the role of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and his service there

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Kenneth Olden talks about environmental justice

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Kenneth Olden talks about the dual role of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers in the manifestation of chronic diseases

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Kenneth Olden describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Kenneth Olden reflects upon his career

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Kenneth Olden reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Kenneth Olden talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Kenneth Olden talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$4

DAStory

3$9

DATitle
Kenneth Olden talks about his appointment as the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in 1991
Kenneth Olden talks about ATP is the source of energy in protein degradation, and being cited in the 1972 Nobel Prize lecture
Transcript
So when they were looking for a director of NIEHS [National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences], I had the experience. And, and they were looking for somebody who could kind of bring NIEHS back, find its, it had lost its way. And that was NIEHS's thinking. And so they wanted somebody who, who had very rigorous standards to come in and restore--bring NIEHS back. And so when I interviewed, they figured I was that person. And so I got the job.$$Hold on one second [coughs]. I'm sorry, all right.$$And again, NIH [National Institutes of Health] had never had a non-Caucasian. Not only African American, there was never a non-Caucasian and the only woman was the wife of one of the inside guys. So that was it. So when I showed up, there were seventeen institutes and, and around the conference table and all of them were white males except a Caucasian woman and me. And so to, to think that, that NIH would do that was not, was not you know, it was--I almost didn't apply because I said what the hell, I'm wasting my time, this is not gonna happen. And no one would thought it, thought it would happen, in the black community thought it would happen. But one person called me at the NIH who was my mentor and said look Ken, you know this is a different time. And, and I'll promise you I will do, make sure the playing field is level. I, I'm not gonna sub--you know, tilt it towards you or anybody else, but I'll make sure and I'm in a position to do that, that the playing field is level. If the Search Committee comes back with your name at the top, we'll take a serious look at it. That's what the Search Committee came back with and that's exactly what happened.$But so then what I did is became a instructor [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts]. And then I got a Macy Faculty Fellowship, Josiah Macy Foundation. And, and my project was to look at protein degradation. And that's when we really hit the, the, the jackpot. So we decided that--it was known that cells degrade proteins, but nobody--and we had thought that it required energy. But we didn't know what type of energy. And so I worked out and demonstrated that, that not only did you need energy to break down a protein, but you needed a special kind of energy. It had to be ATP [adenosine triphosphate], it couldn't be other forms of energy. And it turns out that that was a major, unknown in the way that cells degrade proteins. The people who were competing with us when I was at Harvard, won the Nobel Prize, [Avram] Hershko [won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation], Hershko and--the Nobel Prize was given in protein degradation and showed me how important it was. And I was at--working with Fred [Alfred] Goldberg. Fred Goldberg and myself and a few others were working on protein degradation. My part was to figure out that ATP was required. Hershko and I forget the other guy's name. Anyway, they won the Nobel Prize, they are Israelis.$$This is in, in 19--$$That was in, yeah '72 [1972], '72 [1972] I'd say.$$'72 [1972].$$Just before I came to NIH [National Institutes of Health]. So it worked. So we, we--well it turns out that when the Nobel Prize was given and the Nobel Prize lecture was written, one of the, you know there are certain seminal discoveries and, and the ATP linkage was one of them, and that was my paper. So because Hershko got the Nobel Prize for figuring out how proteins are degraded, and, and that was what Goldberg was interested in. I was not interested in that per se. But the source of energy was ATP. So in the Nobel Prize lecture publication in Science [journal], our paper is cited, and--$$Okay, okay.$$So it was important.$$All right, so, so it changed the field.$$Yeah, yeah, yeah.$$Made a major contribution to the field.$$Yeah, that's absolutely right. And that's never been refuted. That's the source--for many, many years everybody knew that was the source of energy. But what is--what's the source nobody knew. So we designed a set of experiments to show what the source of energy was.

Donald Lyons, Sr.

Physicist and physics professor Donald R. Lyons was born in 1954 in Stamps, Arkansas. His father, Patrick Donald Lyons, Jr., was a bricklayer; his mother, a housewife. After attending J.L. Jones Elementary School and J.A. Phillips Jr., High School, Lyons graduated from, Webster High School in 1972. While in high school, Lyons enrolled in the Upward Bound program. With his parents unable to pay for college, the Upward Bound program provided Lyons with the opportunity to earn college credit prior to graduation, gain experience working in a university laboratory, and earn a full academic scholarship to attend Grambling State University. Lyons graduated from Grambling State University in 1976 with his B.S. degrees in physics and mathematics. He then enrolled in Stanford University where he studied under Nobel Laureates Arthur L. Schawlow and Theodor Hansch and received his M.S. degree in physics in 1978 and his Ph.D. degree in physics in 1982.

From 1975 to 1976, Lyons served as a research fellow at Bell Telephone Laboratories in the Solar Physics Group, and as a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory in the Solid State Physics Department. He then joined Corning, Inc. in 1982 and was appointed as a senior scientist in the Applied Physics Department. Lyons moved to California in 1985 and was hired as a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Applied Technology Section until 1990. Lyons continued his career in industry as scientist for Grumman Aerospace Corporation where he directed the Sensor Sciences and Materials Structures Groups at the Grumman Corporate Research Center. In 1993, Lyons joined the faculty of Hampton University and was named the University Endowed Professor of Physics. At Hampton University, Lyons also served as the director of the Research Center for Optical Physics.

Lyons has successfully applied for and received several U.S. Patents and fifteen research grants and contracts related to the use of distributed Bragg reflection sensors for commercial applications. In addition, he has created projects for the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. Lyons was recognized by the Upward Bound program for directing successful programs that center on mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. The American Physical Society and the Virginia Business Observer have both featured Lyons and recognized his contributions to science and technology.

Donald R. Lyons was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 20, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.135

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/20/2013

Last Name

Lyons

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Occupation
Organizations
Search Occupation Category
First Name

Donald

Birth City, State, Country

Stamps

HM ID

LYO02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

4/2/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hampton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Physicist Donald Lyons, Sr. (1954 - ) is the University Endowed Professor of Physics and director of the Research Center for Optical Physics at Hampton University.

Employment

Bell Laboratories

Corning Incorporated

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Grumman Corporation

Hampton University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:403,3:807,8:3231,59:6195,69:12415,174:12820,180:15770,201:27070,355:28726,394:29158,402:31606,458:35814,472:38550,494:45004,561:49886,600:57371,749:57655,754:59927,863:64542,940:74546,1102:74986,1109:79298,1184:83346,1250:83874,1258:93566,1308:93822,1313:97178,1345:97522,1350:101700,1406:105660,1432:105992,1437:118076,1560:119748,1580:122104,1619:122712,1626:131536,1686:142416,1780:143892,1821:145122,1840:147886,1863:148402,1870:152852,1902:155171,1946:155645,1953:157580,1972:157928,1979:162976,2008:163531,2014:166639,2054:167194,2063:167749,2069:175161,2135:178318,2189:178780,2200:192772,2302:201236,2332:201500,2337:201830,2343:202622,2356:203876,2385:204140,2390:204536,2397:212490,2493$0,0:838,11:1324,19:1729,25:19545,325:19861,330:29008,432:29398,558:52834,833:53536,845:73128,1132:75585,1162:76972,1189:77264,1194:110500,1786:117200,1858:121360,1969:125695,2035:126120,2041:139715,2190:140170,2198:140430,2203:144184,2255:156686,2419:156994,2424:157379,2430:169462,2589:169984,2600:170506,2610:170738,2615:171086,2627:171608,2639:172594,2672:179897,2777:182263,2835:184993,2860:188448,2888:193432,2989:193877,2995:197488,3008:199760,3045:207348,3121:207750,3129:208085,3135:215254,3290:216527,3317:219274,3369:219542,3374:230753,3496:231167,3504:231719,3514:233390,3530
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald Lyons' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons describes his mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about his father's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about his father's club

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald Lyons talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald Lyons describes when he decided to become a physicist

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald Lyons talks about his father's talents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons talks about his father's building projects

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons talks about living with his neighbor growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons talks about the church he attended as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about his elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about the disturbances in his schools

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald Lyons describes segregation in Minden, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald Lyons talks about being in the band in middle and high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons describes his experience with Upward Bound in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons describes his approach to learning while at Grambling State University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons talks about his discipline in learning at Grambling State University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons describes his time at the Bell Summer Internship Program

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons talks about the African American physicists he met at the Bell Summer Internship Program

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about his work at the Bell Summer Internship Program

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons talks about his time at Grambling State University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons describes his summer working at Argonne National Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons describes why he chose Stanford University for graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons describes becoming a Xerox Fellow at Stanford University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describe how a laser is formed

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about his graduate research on intermodulation and polarization modulation

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about his first talk before the American Physical Society

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons describes why he chose to concentrate on optical physics

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons discusses his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons describes being hired by Corning

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons describes how he designed and built his laboratory at Corning

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describes learning the patent development process at Corning

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons describes writing the patent on the Braggs grating wavemeter

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about his research on nerve fibers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons talks about the transition from Corning to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons talks about being demoted at Livermore National Laboratory for his research

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons describes the transition from Livermore National Laboratory to Grumman Aerospace Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons talks about his patent at Grumman Aerospace Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describes the transition from Grumman Aerospace Corporation to Hampton University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about the physics department at Hampton University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons talks about historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons talks about his grants and projects at Hampton University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons talks about professors at Hampton University

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons explains why he chose to become a professor at Hampton University

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons describes his work on fiber optic artificial nerves

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons describes how artificial fiber optic nerves interact with human nerves

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about his inability to procure funding for his research on artificial fiber optic nerves

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons talks about his mentoring of students at Hampton University

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Donald Lyons talks about teaching and research at Hampton University

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Donald Lyons describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Donald Lyons reflects on his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Donald Lyons reflects on his life

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Donald Lyons talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Donald Lyons talks about the mother figures in his life

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Donald Lyons talks about how he would like to be remembered.

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Donald Lyons describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$2

DATitle
Donald Lyons talks about living with his neighbor growing up
Donald Lyons describes his approach to learning while at Grambling State University
Transcript
At what juncture did you go to live with Mrs. [Trillie B.] Jones?$$I think I went to live with--I'm going to call her Mama from here on out I think I went to live at Mama's house when I was about six years old. I didn't live there all the time, I would stay at my house and I would stay at mama's house and I would go back to my house, you know, and be back and forth up to a point. But the thing I remember about being at Mama's house was that it was so peaceful. No noise, you know, very quiet and like I said she actually got me when she was about sixty years old. She had had-- I had stayed with her when I was a baby but I didn't remember. She took care of me when I was a baby for a little while. My mother [Ethel Bell Pearson] went to stay with her for while because of the domestic problems.$$I was going to ask if that was kind of-(simultaneous)$$That was, that was the motivation.$$--the gauge of when you were going to be there was the domestic issues.$$Right. So I was a baby, she had to leave in a hurry, she felt she had to leave in a hurry so she went and stayed with my mama, I mean I went and stayed with mama. She took me, She took me up there and she took care of me.$$Your other brothers and sisters too or just you?$$No just me because I was a baby, the older ones were able to some extent fend for themselves, not that much but more so than I was.$$Tell us about Mrs. Jones, what was she like and--?$$Very interesting personality. She had, she was-- Before she was a Jones she was a Smith. She outlived both of her husbands. I never met Mr. Smith because he was already deceased by the time I knew him, by the time I was conscious of knowing Mama. Mr. Jones, we called him grandfather, he was her second husband and so the thing I could tell you about her personality was that she was a very strong willed Christian woman. Very strong physically at age sixty she was still seemingly to have as much energy as a twenty year old. She was always working; she would get up at three o'clock in the morning and go to bed at seven or eight o'clock at night.$$So did she work at home or did she--?$$She had retired by the time I knew her. She said she used to work on an aircraft, so I don't know the history of that but she was born in 1892 and she had seen a lot of life before she had me there. The main thing about her is that, like I said, she was a very strong Christian and so we lived in church and so that was a big part of my life when I was growing up.$So did you stay in touch with the Upward Bound teacher at Grambling [State University, Grambling, Louisiana]?$$I did for some years but after awhile it started to fade--once I finished Grambling and went to Stanford [University, Stanford, California] there was no time to do anything. I mean just no time, you know. We can talk about that a little bit more.$$So Grambling--Emmett Johnson taught you precalculus. Is this when you first start at Grambling?$$No this was in high school.$$Oh you are still in high school.$$I'm still in high school and then I started learning calculus. Then when I took calculus, you know, it was "A" in all the math courses. So calculus and took linear algebra and took differential equations under Emmett Johnson and I told somebody the other day because they were asking me, I don't know who was asking this question I said you know, one of the--another profound turning point for me was we took linear algebra we had done, the three of us those three high school students, we stayed together all the way through. They both ended up being math majors and then they got married and then I was a physics major, but I actually started to outperform them just because we had one cal [calculus] class where the guy would come in and just give a pop quiz every time. And so, gave a pop quiz I always failed it, you know. I said, "Wait a minute, so he says he's going to give a pop quiz." I say," I don't how to pass a pop quiz," the only way I could pass is to just do all the problems, so I just did all of the problems, all of them. So when he would give a quiz I could just fly through those problems in my head, I would be finished in no time perfect scores from then on out. But that was the trick, the trick was to do all the problems before he even gave them to you. So he could pick any problem it wouldn't matter because once you do them there was a technique for solving calculus problems; there are techniques for solving everything. You know, once you do them, I mean people had worked these things out centuries ago. He would give a pop quiz and they would say, "How do you do so well on them?" And I said, "Do all the problems."$$Now did anybody else catch on to your techniques and do the same thing?$$Nobody did it, I'm sure they understood it but I don't know why they didn't do it, I don't know why. Because sometimes there was no--they would have examples then they would have the problems and there is something about math that after awhile you start seeing a pattern. I can't really explain past that but there is a pattern. A pattern is something that people have laid out in terms of theorems and stuff like that, but in your head it's a pattern and so I caught the pattern by doing all the problems.$$Now that's essential to my learning math. We've been told by people that involved in math is that you have got to-- it's sequential, you have got to learn one thing before you can another and as you go on you-- You can't start with algebra without knowing fractions, you know, that sort of thing. So you're going ahead and doing the whole problem, so this is labor intensive, of course, so even if somebody knew how to do it, it's not a trick, it's labor intensive.$$It's not a trick.$$You have to do all the problems.$$It's labor intensive and I still ask, sometimes I ask my son, I say, you know, they have a lot more to do, I think, in high school than we had but I said, you know, "What else do you have to do? You're in school, school is about learning."

James Hubbard, Jr.

Mechanical engineer and engineering professor James Edward Hubbard, Jr. was born on December 21, 1951 in Danville, Virginia. Hubbard received his high school diploma with a concentration in engineering in 1969 from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. In 1971, he enlisted as an officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine and served during the Vietnam War. He attended the Calhoon MEBA Marine Engineering School and became the youngest serviceman to receive the unlimited horsepower, steam and diesel engine Marine Engineering license from the U.S. Coast Guard. Returning to the United States, Hubbard began his undergraduate studies at Morgan State College, but after receiving encouragement from teachers, family and friends, he enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Hubbard went on to graduate from MIT with his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering in 1977, 1979, and 1982, respectively.

Hubbard has served as a professor and a researcher both inside and outside of academia. After receiving his Ph.D. degree, Hubbard continued his work as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT until 1985, and as a lecturer until 1994. While there, he mentored both graduate- and doctorate-level students. Following his tenure with MIT, Hubbard was hired at the Boston University Photonics Center, PhotoSense, Inc. and iProvica. In 2004, Hubbard returned to academia and was named the Samuel P. Langley Distinguished Professor Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland. Hubbard’s research has included sensors and system concepts, optoelectronics, and photonics. His work in 1985 resulted in the production of what many consider the first example of an “adaptive structure,” or a structure that can respond to changes in its environment. He also received a patent for his work with “Smart Skin” technology, or a large-area blanket-like sensor that could be used in a number of applications. His work with the Morpheus Laboratory, Hubbard’s research group at the University of Maryland and NIA, has focused on aerodynamic engineering and has resulted in such projects as ornithopters and the Sky Walker program.

Hubbard is a member of the Air Force Studies Board, the Naval Research Advisory Committee, and the Committee on Space Defense Technology. He has garnered several awards in recognition of his work in both industrial and academic settings. Hubbard was the 2009 recipient of the Smart Structures Product Innovation Award from the International Society for Optical Engineering. In 2002, Hubbard received the Black Engineer of the Year President’s Award from U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine.

Hubbard and his wife, Adrienne Hubbard, have three adult sons: James, Drew, and Jordan.

James Edward Hubbard, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 19, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.090

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/19/2013

Last Name

Hubbard

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E

Schools

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

Calhoon M.E.B.A. Engineering School

Morgan State University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Danville

HM ID

HUB01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Favorite Quote

All that glitters is not gold

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

12/21/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hampton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Flounder (Fried)

Short Description

Mechanical engineer and engineering professor James Hubbard, Jr. (1951 - ) served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during the Vietnam War and became the youngest serviceman to receive the unlimited horsepower, steam and diesel engine Marine Engineering license from the U.S. Coast Guard. Hubbard is the Samuel P. Langley Distinguished Professor Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland.

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Charles Stark Draper Laboratory

Optron Systems, Inc.

Boston University Photonics Center

PhotoSense, Inc.

National Institute of Aerospace

University of Maryland, College Park

improVica

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Hubbard's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Hubbard lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Hubbard describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Hubbard describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Hubbard talks about his parents' education and their employment

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Hubbard talks about his family living under the Jim Crow laws in Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Hubbard talks about how his parents met and were married

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Hubbard talks about his father's move to Philadelphia to escape the Jim Crow laws of the southern United States

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Hubbard describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Hubbard talks about living in Philadelphia with his father for a year, and returning to Danville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Hubbard talks about his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Hubbard talks about growing up in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Hubbard describes his childhood in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Hubbard talks about living under Jim Crow laws in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Hubbard describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Hubbard talks about the teachers who influenced him in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Hubbard talks about his performance in math in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Hubbard talks about attending Calvary Baptist Church in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Hubbard talks about the Civil Rights Movement and Bloody Monday in Danville, Virginia in 1963

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Hubbard talks about his mother's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and his family's move to Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Hubbard talks about his experience in school in Baltimore, Maryland, and how it impacted him

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Hubbard describes his experience at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Hubbard describes his experience in the U.S. Navy Sea Cadet Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Hubbard talks about how he became a part of the Maryland Naval Militia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Hubbard talks about his experience in the Maryland Naval Militia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Hubbard talks about his experience at Calhoon MEBA, and entering the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Hubbard describes his experience in the Merchant Marines as a ship engineer on an ammunition ship in the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Hubbard reflects upon his experience with racism during the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Hubbard describes his decision to attend Morgan State University and his experience there

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Hubbard talks about those who influenced him to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Hubbard describes his experience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and talks about his mentors there

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Hubbard talks about his mentors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Hubbard talks about his involvement and leadership in the Black Mechanical Engineers (BME) organization at MIT

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Hubbard talks about HistoryMaker, Shirley Jackson, and the Bell Labs Fellowship for minority students

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Hubbard talks about his dissertation research in helicopter rotor acoustics at MIT

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Hubbard talks about his financial struggles as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Hubbard describes his doctoral research on helicopter rotor acoustics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Hubbard talks about his mentor, Wesley Harris

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Hubbard talks about joining the faculty of the mechanical engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT)

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Hubbard talks about his contributions to the field of piezoelectricity and smart structures - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Hubbard talks about his contributions to the field of piezoelectricity and smart structures - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Hubbard describes his decision to leave the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1985 - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Hubbard describes his decision to leave the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1985 - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Hubbard talks about working at Draper Laboratory, and with HistoryMaker Cardinal Warde at Optron Systems, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Hubbard talks about his work with photolithography techniques and his decision to become the executive vice president of Optron Systems, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Hubbard talks about co-founding the Boston University Photonics Center and founding PhotoSense, Inc. and iProvica, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Hubbard talks about his invention of Smart Skin and his patents

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Hubbard describes his decision to accept a position as the Langley Distinguished Professor of Aerospace at the University of Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Hubbard talks about the students he mentored, and the "art of being a wolf"

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Hubbard describes his experience and his work at the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA)

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Hubbard talks about the Sky Walker Program

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Hubbard talks about his work on the Air Wolf Project

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Hubbard talks about founding a company with his son

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James Hubbard talks about his wife

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James Hubbard talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James Hubbard reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James Hubbard reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - James Hubbard talks about his father's training as a pilot and how he owned and flew a Piper Cub plane

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - James Hubbard describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - James Hubbard shares his perspectives on today's generation

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - James Hubbard talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
James Hubbard reflects upon his experience with racism during the Vietnam War
James Hubbard talks about his work with photolithography techniques and his decision to become the executive vice president of Optron Systems, Inc.
Transcript
So did your view of the [Vietnam] war change any by being over there?$$Emm hmm (NODDING OF HIS HEAD).$$Okay.$$I grew up in the Maryland Naval Militia, part of a small elite team trained by a recon marine; we were all flavors. I was--you couldn't have found a more dedicated patriot; boy did I love my country, and I was proud of my skills; I had learned a lotta ways to kill a person at seventeen, like the military would, and volunteered. Even though I was sent over there by this guy to be hurt, I loved every minute of it. What happened was when I got there, two things happened; there were--everybody was there; there were all services, which shocked me; even Coast Guard. When we got there, you could look around, there was Coast Guard people, National Guard, there was Korean Elite Forces, I mean just around 'cause don't forget now, ships pull in, you got everybody running over there unloading it. I didn't expect that; there were uniforms and insignias that I did not recognize, and the white troops--if you weren't careful, they would call you Nigger in a minute--the white troops; that stunned me, that made a huge impact on me. And then I found out that a lotta them was getting fragged by the brothers over there--$$Emm hmm.$$--for that.$$And fragging is--$$Throw a hand grenade in the outhouse when they go to the bathroom, stuff like that (laughter).$$Getting rid of the Second Lieutenant or--$$They hated a lotta things man, you be walking down the street and a brother would see you and they had this thing that they would do; it was a sign thing.$$I believe it's called the Dap [ph.].$$No, it ain't no Dap. It was a lang-- (simultaneous)--it was a language; they would do this, and I found out that it meant 'Hi my brother, I would die for you.' It was stuff like that but it wasn't a Dap. You be walking, and on the other side of the street, a brother you ain't never seen, you turn to him and he would do this thing, and then you would learn how to answer him back. So it was more racist in Vietnam than it had been in Danville [Virginia], and I didn't expect that; I didn't expect that at all.$$Okay.$$Lotta killing; some guys on my ship killed some people and they (laughter) weren't even supposed to be doing that. Anyway. Nineteen [years old].$So what I was telling you Larry, was that Don [Donald] Fraser left [Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, Massachusetts] to become Deputy Undersecretary of Defense and I left because he was my mentor, and I left to help Cardinal Warde [also a HistoryMaker] because Cardinal was trying to develop a device that I had a lot of experience developing for Draper--$$Emm.$$--and, because of my background, he also wanted me to run the company.$$Okay now, what is this device?$$Do you wanna know technically what--well (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Yeah, technically yeah.$$Okay. So it was during the Star Wars era, and there were a bunch of challenges for Star Wars; people were developing high-energy laser systems, alright? And what they would like for them to be able to do is sit on the ground and shoot down missiles, trying to hurt the United States. The problem, Larry, is when you shine a beam of light through the atmosphere, the currents in the air and all make the beam move all around. I mean if I aim at you if there's wind blowing, it'll blow--literally blow the--you know; I won't hit you. So one of the things you can do is take the beam of light and let it hit a mirror, and then steer the mirror to hit you; and then have a sensor that looks at all these air currents and as they wiggle the beam, the mirror wiggles in the opposite direction, and so the beam stays right on you and you're dead; that's called adaptive optics.$$Hmm.$$Well it turns out, it's really hard to do (laughter). The government, Lincoln Labs, had received a lotta money to develop the system I just told you about, but it turns out that the mirror has to be really flat and hard so they made it out of titanium. But the biggest mirror they could polish that flat was six inches. Then it turns out to do air currents, you have to have at least a thousand action waves on the back to wiggle the frequencies they want. They can only get 300 because it's only a six-inch mirror, and they used 300 piezo crystals to move it. Well, you gotta run piezos at 600 volts Larry; so they had 300 amplifiers in a room, air conditioned to get the 300 but I mean it was huge, it took up a whole building. When I was at Draper, I developed a two-inch mirror that had a million actuators on it. And, you could put it in your pocket; I have a patent on that--$$Hmm.$$--so Cardinal found out about that; I never published anything--a million. And so he was trying to develop the same kind of mirror to do large projection displays for movie theaters and for military use.$$Right, that's right.$$And so it was a natural--he was a gem; come on man (laughter). SAIC [Science Applications International Corporation]--I was interviewing with them 'cause I had worked with the founder of SAIC through Don Fraser; I had been on a government committee with him; his name was Larry Crowe and he was like--Larry Cole--and he was like "Jim, come and work with us." But then Cardinal--so I went with Cardinal and developed this deformable mirror. All kinds of photolithography techniques; I was there four years.$$Okay, and this was for Optron [Systems, Inc.]?$$Emm hmm (NODDING OF HIS HEAD YES), Optron.$$Optron, okay. Cardinal Warde.

Guion Bluford

NASA astronaut, aerospace engineer, military officer, and senior engineering executive, Guion S. Bluford Jr. was born on November 22, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the eldest of three sons of Guion Bluford, Sr., a mechanical engineer, and Lolita Bluford, a special education teacher. Bluford graduated from Overbrook Senior High School in 1960 and went on to graduate from Pennsylvania State University in 1964 with his B.S. degree in aerospace engineering. He was also a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force ROTC program and received his commission as an Air Force second lieutenant. Bluford graduated from the Air Force Institute of Technology with his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering in 1974 and 1978, respectively. In 1987, Bluford received his M.B.A. degree in management from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.

After receiving his Air Force pilot wings, Bluford was assigned to the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. As an F4C fighter pilot, he flew 144 combat missions in Southeast Asia. From 1967 to 1972, he was a T-38 instructor pilot at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas where he trained future U.S. Air Force and West German fighter pilots. Upon graduating from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1974, Bluford was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory as Deputy for Advanced Concepts in the Aeromechanics Division and then as Branch Chief of the Aerodynamics and Airframe Branch. In 1978, Bluford was selected for the astronaut program and was officially designated a NASA astronaut one year later. In 1983, he became the first African American to fly in space and the first to receive the U.S. Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings. Bluford was also the first African American to return to space a second, third, and fourth time when he flew on STS-61A in 1985, STS-39 in 1991, and STS-53 in 1992. He has logged more than 688 hours in space.

In 1993, he retired from NASA and the United States Air Force to become the Vice President/General Manager of the Engineering Services Division of NYMA Inc. He led the research support effort in aeropropulsion, satellite systems, microgravity and advanced materials. In 1997, he became the Vice President of the Aerospace Sector of the Federal Data Corporation and led the company’s NASA business. Finally, in 2000, Bluford became the Vice President of Microgravity R&D and Operation for Northrop Grumman Corporation and led the industry team in the development of two experiment facilities currently on the International Space Station. Today, Bluford is the President of the Aerospace Technology Group in Cleveland, Ohio.

Bluford has been awarded the Department of Defense Superior Service and Meritorious Service Medals; the Air Force Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal; the NASA Distinguished Service and Exceptional Service Medals; the Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal; the 1991 Black Engineer of the Year Award and fourteen honorary doctorate degrees. He was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1997 and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010

Guion Stewart Bluford, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.165

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/9/2013

Last Name

Bluford

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Stewart

Schools

Air Force Institute of Technology

University of Houston

Pennsylvania State University

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Guion

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

BLU01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $4000-$7500

Favorite Season

Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

For commencement speeches in which an honorary doctorate degree is confirmed, no honorarium is charged,

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Do what you love and love what you do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

11/22/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Lobster

Short Description

Astronaut and military officer Guion Bluford (1942 - ) , flew 144 combat missions in Southeast Asia as an F4C fighter pilot and served as a Branch Chief in the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory. He became the first African American astronaut to fly in space on STS-8 (1983, shuttle Challenger), and the first African American to return to space a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time on STS-61-A (1985, shuttle Challenger), STS-39 (1991, shuttle Discovery) and STS-53 (1992, shuttle Discovery). Bluford retired from NASA and the Air Force in 1993 to become a senior aerospace industry executive.

Employment

Aerospace Technology Group

Northrop Grumman Information Technology

Federal Data Corporation

NYMA Inc.

Johnson Space Center

Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory

3630th Flying Training Wing

12th Tactical Fighter Wing

Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Guion Bluford's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford talks about his mother's education and her career as a teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford talks about growing up in a non-segregated environment in Philadelphia, and talks about his mother's career, personality and interests

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford describes his father's education, and how his parents met at Alcorn A&M College in the 1930s

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Guion Bluford describes his father's employment as an engineer, and his family's early life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford talks about his brothers, and about growing up in Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford describes the demographics of West Philadelphia during his childhood years and describes his interests as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford talks about his childhood interest in airplanes as well as joining the Boy Scouts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford describes his experience at the YMCA and what influenced his childhood interest in becoming an aerospace engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford describes his experience in elementary school and junior high school in Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford describes his experience in high school in Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Guion Bluford talks about his role models in engineering and his interest in pursuing a career in aeronautical engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Guion Bluford talks about his teachers in school, his decision to attend Pennsylvania State University and his encounter with a college counselor

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford talks about his father's struggle with epilepsy, his mother career as a school teacher, and his grandfather's influence on his life

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford talks about his interest in solving puzzles and his decision to attend Pennsylvania State University for his undergraduate studies

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford talks about his graduating class at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford describes his experience as an undergraduate student at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford describes his family's involvement in the Christian Science church

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford describes his fear of heights and hospitals

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Guion Bluford describes his social experience at Pennsylvania State University in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Guion Bluford talks about his decision to enroll in the Air Force Advanced ROTC Course and join the U.S. Air Force as an engineer

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Guion Bluford talks about how he met his wife, Linda Tull

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford talks about his decision to become a pilot in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford describes his senior year at Penn State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford talks about graduating from Penn State University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford talks about Professor Leslie Greenhill and Professor Barnes McCormick, who were his mentors at Penn State University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford talks about his early married life and the few months following his graduation from Penn State University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford talks about his initial experience on Williams Air Force Base

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Guion Bluford describes his pilot training experience on Williams Air Force Base in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Guion Bluford talks about Air Force pilot Chappie James and his first assignment out of pilot training in 1966

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Guion Bluford talks about the low percentage of black pilots in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford describes his service as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot in Vietnam, from 1966 to 1967 - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford describes his service as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot in Vietnam, from 1966 to 1967 - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford talks about his fighter plane being shot at while he was in Vietnam

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford shares his perspective on the Vietnam War

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford talks about his decision to become an instructor pilot and his experience at Sheppard Air Force Base

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford talks about his decision to pursue graduate school

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Guion Bluford talks about Robert Lawrence

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford describes his experience in the master's degree program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford describes his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree in aerospace engineering

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford describes his experience as a doctoral student in aerospace engineering

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford discusses his doctoral dissertation on determining a numerical solution to describe the flow around a delta wing at hypersonic speeds

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford describes his decision to apply for the NASA astronaut program in 1977

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford describes his selection to the NASA astronaut program in 1978

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$2

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Guion Bluford describes his service as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot in Vietnam, from 1966 to 1967 - part one
Guion Bluford describes his experience at the YMCA and what influenced his childhood interest in becoming an aerospace engineer
Transcript
So, I got--$$So after--(simultaneous)--$$--I graduated from pilot training [at Williams Air Force Base, Mesa, Arizona], F-4Cs, frontline, Moc II, fighter bomber, Vietnam, Southeast Asia. That was my assignment.$$You were a bomber pilot?$$Fighter pilot. This is fighter pilot--(simultaneous)--$$Fighter pilot, okay.$$This is fighter pilot.$$All right, and you were flying the, what was the plane that you--$$F-4C Phantom.$$F-4C, okay.$$F-4C Phantom, brand new fighter airplane. It used to be a [U.S.] Navy airplane. Then the [U.S.] Air Force liked it and made it an Air Force airplane, "C" version. So after pilot training, I went to, left the wife [Linda Tull] and kids in Phoenix, went to Reno, Nevada to stay there for a space for three weeks of survival school. And then from there, I went down to Davis-Monthan [Air Force Base] in Tucson [Arizona], wife and kids, we all went down to Tucson for two or three months for radar school. And then we went to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, and I flew the machine, learned to fly it, take off, land, refuel, drop bombs, all that sort of stuff, about six months flying, six months. In October of '65 [1965] I sent the wife, and took the wife and kids to Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], got them situated and in October of sixty--not '65 [1965], October of '66' [1966], excuse me, October of '66 [1966], I went to Vietnam. My orders were to go to Ubon Air Base, 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. And if I had gotten there, I would have flown for [Daniel] Chappie James [Jr; fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, who in 1975 became the first black American to reach the rank of four-star general] and Robin Olds [fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. Air Force], two fighter pilots who ran the wing up there. And this would have been primarily, I would have flown Air cap over North Vietnam, primarily, you know, shooting down MiGs, defending thuds [fighter bomber], F-105s, that sort of thing.$$You said, "if" you had gotten there?$$Yeah, I didn't get there. I'll tell you why.$$Okay.$$But that's where I was assigned. So, once I got the wife and kids up in Philadelphia, matter of fact, I left and they were still living with my parents [Harriett Lolita Brice Blueford and Guion Bluford, Sr.] 'cause they had--we didn't have enough time to get an apartment for 'em, and then I left. I was gone for nine months. I went from there to, I flew from there to Travis Air Force Base in California. I hopped a transport with, full of military guys going to Vietnam. The airplane flew from California to Hawaii. We got off the airplane in Hawaii just long enough to stretch our legs, and then we flew from there to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, great big Air Force base in the Philippines. I got to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, got off the airplane and they said, have you gone through jungle survival training? And I said, no. So they slowed me up about a week or so, and I took a jungle survival course at Clark, which was exciting, you know, learn how to eat, how to live in the jungle, took classes, did escape and evasion, how to escape and evade in the jungle, POW [prisoner of war] training, all that sort of stuff. While I was there, they changed my orders. They flipped me from there to 12th Tact Fighter Wing, Cam Ranh Bay [Vietnam]. 12th Tact Fighter Wing had deployed all, the whole wing deployed to Cam Ranh Bay. And the, the members of the wing were all finishing up their assignment, and they were coming back. They needed people to replace 'em. And so instead of going to Ubon, Thailand, I went to Cam Ranh Bay and South Vietnam, Twelfth Tact Fighter Wing, a wing of maybe four squadrons and F-4C Phantoms. So we must have had eighty fighters, great, great big fighter base. It was also a transport base, lots of military transports go in there. We had a hospital there, a major hospital facility there, and the [U.S.] Navy had a port there. So it was a great, big--it was a major base. So I flew nine months in Vietnam, and I flew out of Cam Ranh Bay, 144 missions total, dropped bombs all over Southeast Asia, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Laos. I had sixty-five missions over North Vietnam. Primarily, they were air cover. When I did fly that way, we would take off out of Cam Ranh Bay and fly North. We would refuel just, just below the DMZ [The Korean Demilitarized Zone] between North and South Vietnam, and go up and fly six hour mission, air cap, come back, refuel coming back and then come home, good six-hour mission, did long missions. So lots of triple A. I still remember being shot at by a 85 millimeter. I still remember my last mission where I got deployed, scrambled off the alert path. We had two or three fighters that sat on the alert pad. And as, and they would assign you to the alert pad, which would mean you live in trailers out near the runway, and they would scramble fighters in, if they had an emergency some place. I still remember being scrambled and dropping bombs on active, triple A site in the DMZ between the North and South Vietnam. I still remember seeing all those tracers and all that sort of stuff, still remember flying, coming home one day and having a wing, a bullet hole in the wing. The best missions flying out of Cam Ranh Bay were ground support and supporting the ground guys. You'd fly in--see the [U.S.] Army guys all ready to take a piece of real estate, and you drop bombs on 'em, you drop 500-pound slicks as well high drag bombs, fired rockets. We had, the airplane didn't have a internal gun. So if we had to stray, we had to carry a gun pod which worked some of the time and which didn't work some of the time. It was nine months of doing that.$I was also very involved with the YMCA [Young Men's Christian Association]. In the summertime, my mother [Harriet Lolita Brice Bluford] would give me some money. I would hop the bus and L [subway] and go to the Central Y [YMCA], downtown Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]. And, and that was a major event, you know, in the summertime. I learned how to swim at the Y. I worked out, and they had calisthenics and gym activity, played basketball. I learned to play checkers and chess and ping pong, and I got good enough at checkers--at ping pong and chess that when I was in high school, I was on the Chess Team and on the Ping Pong Team. So it had that. The YMCA was also a major factor in my life because I learned how to make model airplanes, part of being at the Y. We'd get on, I'd get up and go to the Y every day. It would be a full-day activity. But part of it was, I made model airplanes and ships and so forth and so on. So my model building developed at the Y, and that led to my strong interest in airplanes and my desire to eventually, to be an aerospace engineer. Plus, the fact that I liked math, I really like--I'm a math guy. So a combination of all of that just drove me towards being what I wanted to be, an aerospace engineer. And then you copy--you put on top of that the fact that I had a father [Guion Bluford, Sr.] who was a mechanical engineer. Not only was he a mechanical engineer, but he loved what he did. He loved what he did.$$Yeah, I read that he would come, he would leave the house excited every morning.$$Oh, he was, he, he enjoyed--he never brought the, he never brought his work home, but I knew he loved what he did. And that was, that was a very motivating factor for me because that's why I sort of said, "Do what you love, and love what you do," you know, so. So I grew up in that world.