The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Robert Bragg

Physicist and engineer Robert Henry “Pete” Bragg, Jr. was born on August 11, 1919 in Jacksonville, Florida to Robert Henry Bragg and Lily Camille MacFarland. He had one older sister, Alberta, a younger sister, Nadine, and a younger brother, Johnny. After his parents separated, Bragg lived with his mother and grandmother in Memphis, Tennessee, but he was encouraged by his family to move to Chicago, Illinois, to live with his Aunt Edna and Uncle Teddy where he attended Tilden Technical High School. Bragg pursued higher education at Woodrow Wilson Junior College, a community college in Chicago, Illinois, for a couple of years before enlisting in the military during World War II. Using the money allotted to him from the G.I. Bill to attend Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Bragg pursued a career in physics following the war. He received his B.S. degree in physics in 1949 and continued his graduate studies under the tutelage of Frances L. Yost, graduating from IIT in 1951 with his M.S. degree and his thesis on quantum mechanical scattering theories.

Following his graduation, Bragg was hired at the Dover Electroplating Company on the North Side of Chicago, and then the Portland Cement Association Research Laboratory. While working with the latter of these companies, Bragg became an expert in x-ray crystallography and xray diffraction. He was then hired by the Armour Research Foundation at IIT, where he worked for another five years while continuing his graduate studies working under his mentor, Dr. Leonid V. Azaroff. Bragg completed his studies at IIT in 1960 and earned his Ph.D. degree in physics.

Bragg was then hired by Lockheed Martin Missile and Space, where he worked for nine years before joining the faculty of the materials science and engineering department at the University of California, Berkeley in June of 1969. Bragg served as chair of the materials science and engineering department from 1978 to 1981, the only African American to do so at that time. Bragg’s research interests included x-ray diffraction and its application to such topics as the structure and electronic properties of carbon materials. There materials were used in aircraft and aerospace vehicles as well as in everyday items such as golf clubs and tennis rackets. He taught at the university and conducted research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) until 1986. After his retirement, Bragg was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1992 to conduct research for one year at the University of Ife in Nigeria. He also performed research at the Advanced Photon Source at the Argonne National Laboratory in 1999.

Bragg’s investigations in chemistry and physics earned him numerous honors and awards throughout his career. He was named a fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) in 1995 and a professor emeritus of the University of California, Berkeley upon his retirement in 1987.

Bragg passed away on October 3, 2017 at age 98.

Accession Number

A2011.003

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/11/2011

Last Name

Bragg

Middle Name

Henry

Organizations
Schools

Carnes Elementary School

St. Anthony School

Woodstock Middle School

Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School

Illinois Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Jacksonville

HM ID

BRA12

Favorite Season

Spring, Early Fall

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

N/A

Favorite Quote

Be Cool.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/11/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Oakland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens

Death Date

10/3/2017

Short Description

Physics professor and physicist Robert Bragg (1919 - 2017 ) was a leader in the techniques of x-ray diffraction and the study of carbon-based materials, and served as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley from 1969 to 1987.

Employment

Cadney's Tea Room

Beat Plumming and Heating

Palmer House

D.S. Signet Elementary Training

Research Lab Portland Cement Association

ITT Research Institute

Lockheed Martin

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Black, Dark Blue, Beige, Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:5118,39:15000,97:19466,131:22952,207:23699,218:24197,225:24861,234:25442,248:31676,280:38330,372:45178,431:45506,436:47064,459:47556,467:67280,636:68344,648:70244,678:76770,744:78860,756:86260,817:91020,905:91510,917:95858,960:102930,1083:106390,1129:107065,1148:107365,1153:112960,1171:113376,1180:117998,1259:125683,1342:126442,1358:131310,1425:139740,1536:140760,1554:142790,1559:143178,1564:143566,1569:144342,1602:157748,1734:159380,1768:159652,1773:159924,1778:160400,1787:160944,1797:161284,1803:170414,1871:184150,1983:184630,1990:206597,2205:210869,2281:221263,2399:222073,2456:237010,2635$0,0:1302,13:2442,31:3810,63:4722,77:7260,92:10529,127:10757,132:11156,141:12011,161:12467,172:13607,200:14006,209:14291,216:14576,222:20082,251:20690,260:21602,275:24783,289:25351,298:26132,311:26487,317:27836,350:28546,362:29114,380:29469,386:32073,401:32535,411:32843,416:38257,493:38562,499:39416,517:39660,522:44160,563:48152,589:48880,597:53114,635:53402,640:53906,648:57642,658:58279,667:58643,672:59371,681:59735,686:60463,696:61009,704:65536,743:65996,749:67870,757:69286,781:69699,789:71420,803:73590,854:74080,863:75550,902:78560,960:78910,966:83864,1005:84088,1010:84536,1020:85096,1036:85376,1042:86440,1057:86832,1065:87392,1077:88232,1096:90470,1103:91019,1118:91812,1133:92239,1141:92788,1152:93337,1163:93764,1172:94069,1178:96126,1187:96416,1193:97228,1217:97692,1228:99374,1258:99780,1263:104538,1326:105168,1338:107208,1347:107588,1353:110324,1403:111312,1417:113212,1446:113896,1460:114200,1466:114504,1471:115036,1480:115796,1492:119490,1519:125180,1599:125380,1606:126080,1628:126380,1636:126780,1646:128700,1652:135696,1811:136224,1825:136488,1830:137148,1842:137478,1848:141635,1874:144086,1932:145340,1959:146366,1985:147563,2023:147791,2028:148247,2038:148817,2051:149216,2060:150014,2082:150584,2094:151040,2105:152180,2133:153263,2153:153662,2161:154004,2169:158940,2188:159252,2193:159954,2205:160578,2218:161592,2234:162918,2252:171050,2292:171425,2298:171725,2303:176130,2343:180460,2364:181825,2393:182475,2405:184812,2421:186348,2438:186860,2447:191905,2502:192307,2509:195730,2533:196990,2548:197242,2553:198061,2569:201420,2590:202780,2622:203664,2638:204140,2647:205228,2661:205704,2669:206452,2685:206792,2692:207064,2697:207472,2705:207744,2710:208152,2718:208492,2724:211620,2782:211960,2788:212436,2806:212912,2814:213524,2825:217648,2838:220256,2875:222536,2883:223119,2897:223490,2906:223702,2911:226276,2934:227910,2964:228360,2974:228560,2979:229360,3003:229560,3008:230160,3027:230960,3045:231260,3052:233750,3079:240198,3200:241002,3215:243858,3226:244290,3235:244668,3244:245478,3263:245694,3268:245910,3273:249032,3321:249604,3334:251987,3358:252724,3366:253796,3385:254064,3390:254801,3412:255538,3424:264850,3552:265340,3561:267510,3599:268350,3613:268770,3620:269050,3625:275493,3680:275919,3688:276842,3705:277126,3710:278130,3717
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Bragg's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Bragg talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Bragg talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Bragg talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Bragg talks about his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Bragg explains how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg talks about his mother's half-sister who was in show business

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg discusses his parents' marriage and their separation

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Bragg talks about his mother's second marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Bragg talks about his resemblance to certain family members

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Bragg shares his early childhood memories, part 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Bragg shares his early childhood memories, part 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Bragg describes his upbringing in Memphis, Tennessee, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Bragg recalls growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg talks about his elementary school experience, part 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg talks about his elementary experience, part 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Bragg discusses his awareness of African American organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Bragg recalls his family's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Bragg describes himself as a teenager

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Bragg talks about living in Chicago, Illinois with his uncle

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg describes his uncle's work for Oscar DePriest as a plumber

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg describes his experience at Tilden Technical High School in Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Bragg talks about is experience at Wilson Junior College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Bragg talks about his service in the Army Air Corps, part 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Bragg talks about his service in the Army Air Corps, part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Bragg recalls taking aptitude tests and joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg recounts his experience in his U.S. Army laundry unit

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg describes his direct commission to officer in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Bragg describes his army experience in the Philippines

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Bragg describes his army experience in Japan

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Bragg talks about a murder that occurred while he served in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Bragg talks about going to college after his return from the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Bragg talks about earning his master's degree at the Illinois Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg tells how he met his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg remembers looking for a job after earning his master's degree

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Bragg recalls his experience of integrating the cafeteria at Portland Cement Association

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Bragg describes his work at the Portland Cement Association

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Bragg remembers looking for a new job after the Portland Cement Association

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert Bragg remembers doing well on a test at North Carolina A&T College

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg talks about his work at the Armour Research Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg describes his PhD dissertation, part 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Robert Bragg describes his PhD dissertation, part 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Robert Bragg talks about his job at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Robert Bragg describes his involvement in the Palo Alto community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Robert Bragg details his laboratory work on the properties of carbon

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Robert Bragg talks about his travels while working at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Robert Bragg recalls discussions of race relations in Argentina and the U.S.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg talks about his position at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg discusses the role of African Americans in science

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Robert Bragg continues discussing the role of African Americans in science

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Robert Bragg talks about his accomplishments at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Robert Bragg discusses his research at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Robert Bragg talks about his most significant scientific achievements, part 1

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Robert Bragg talks about his most significant scientific achievements, part 2

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg talks about his work as a detailee with the U.S. Department of Energy, part 1

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg talks about his work as a detailee with the U.S. Department of Energy, part 2

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Robert Bragg talks about his other professional positions

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Robert Bragg responds to a question about black student preparedness

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Robert Bragg discusses African American organizations

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Robert Bragg talks about his family and reflects on his decisions

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Robert Bragg recalls being a busboy at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg discusses his involvement in University of California, Berkeley committees

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg talks about his appointment as faculty assistant to the chancellor

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Robert Bragg talks about his best students at University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Robert Bragg reflects on his life's accomplishments

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Robert Bragg shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Robert Bragg talks about his scientific legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Robert Bragg talks about his immediate family

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Robert Bragg explains the origins of his nickname "Pete" and reflects on his life's accomplishments

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Robert Bragg describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$7

DAStory

6$7

DATitle
Robert Bragg shares his early childhood memories, part 1
Robert Bragg details his laboratory work on the properties of carbon
Transcript
You have good stories. Do you have an earliest childhood memory?$$Yes and no. I don't, I can't really put my finger on it, but I almost think I can remember when my sister [Nadine Maryann] was born. Now, that's not really possible because I was only two years old. But I have this dim recollection of some people coming and going in the house and I'm associating that with the birth of my younger sister, two years later. The next recollection I have is when we were on this homestead where--now, how we got there, I don't know. But sugarcane was grown there. And what they would do would be to harvest this sugarcane and make a preliminary extraction of the sweet juice from the sugarcane. And the way it was done was, they had a mill which was a couple of stones, large stones that are juxtaposed. So, and they're rolled, and the power for rolling these mills--these stones was a mule who went around in a circle. And he just sort of kept plodding around and rolling these stones and they would feed the stalks of cane into the stone and the drippings would collect in a barrel. And that was eventually fermented or distilled and made into sugar. And I can remember that you could chew this cane. It was rather sweet, and to this day, I'm sure people do that, but not the way the sugarcane was extracted. But apparently, they would boil this material, and there was a scum that collected off of it. And they would put that scum in a barrel, and it would ferment and would change into alcohol and rather potent. So the term sugar barrel high came from people who would, n'er-do-wells, would sit next to this barrel and dip this cane (laughter), this fermenting liquor to get high (laughter). So I don't know whether that comes later or not, but I do have this image of this mule going around, powering the stones. And the next one is when we moved to, from the lumber camp to Chicago [Illinois]--to Memphis [Tennessee] because then, just before that we're in this lumber camp, I had a pet alligator. Apparently, out in the woods, they had killed this alligator and brought home this, his little, you know, babies. So I had this pet alligator, have nothing, no further, nothing beyond that, but I do remember I had a pet alligator.$$He was a little one.$$Yeah, about so long, hang onto your finger you know.$$(Laughter).$$And I remember there was a guitar player who hung out at this juke who would come by the house. And sometimes he would play. And then one time, he showed up, there had been a big fight, and they'd broken his (laughter) guitar. So, beyond that, these are my earliest childhood recollections.$Okay, so now meanwhile, in the laboratory, you're studying the properties of carbon?$$Yeah, that was very interesting. And it came about in this way. When we, when I got there, the big program--and that was what I liked about it. I didn't like the military aspects of the missiles, but Lockheed Missiles and Space Company [California]. So it was involved in both, you see. I could always absolve myself of some blame by just thinking of, about space (laughter). To tell you the truth, I never really sweated it that much. But when I arrived there, the big program was the ballistic missile program. And one of the big programs with that is reentry. When you fire missiles into space and when it comes, when it reenters, ordinarily it would burn up because the aerodynamic heating would be such that it's going so fast, you know, faster than the speed of sound. And once it enters the earth's atmosphere, it just catches--you know, ordinary materials would burn up. And to this day, perhaps you read about the shuttle and the tiles coming off and burning through and burning up and all that. Well, a lot of work went into finding materials, hopefully, passive, which meant it would just do--they would not burn up so badly. And the material that does that better than any other is carbon. So that led to a lot of research on carbon. Union Carbide [Corporation], carbon producing companies which produce electrodes for manufacturing steel and all that, they also had projects to manufacture carbon for the space program, you know, the program. But the government was paying for all of that. They didn't do any of that on their own money because it wasn't that big a market. Once you built something, it wasn't--you didn't do hundreds of tons. You'd just do a few, you know. But a whole lot of manpower went into research on these materials. And so we had people around there who were studying the thermo-physical properties and the reentry properties and the tinsel properties and all that. And I loved that because I could do all kinds of physics, you know, in addition to what I was doing in characterizing the material. All that relates back to structure. So not long after I got there, I got involved in the reentry materials program. And there was a conference in Japan that occurred in '62 [1962], I guess it was, that they sent me to because some of it had to do with carbon materials. And also there was a chemical company in--I forget which town it was, but off of the beaten path of the conference, that (unclear) that made a material called glassy carbon which seemed to have very novel properties that might be useful in our reentry vehicles. So I made a side trip to this town in Japan where they, you know, put on the big dog and gave me this sales pitch (laughter), brought some of it back, little pieces, you know. And it turned out that it really was no good for that purpose at all, thermo shock, you know. If you heat something very quickly, and it expands very quickly, it'll fly apart unless it's strong enough. So it didn't have that thermo-shock resistance.$$So it wouldn't burn, but it would fly apart?$$Yeah, just fly apart. But in the meantime, because it was secret, we couldn't tell the Japanese, couldn't tell them what we wanted to do, and so it meant we had to reinvent the wheel. So we had a big program reinventing how to make glassy carbon. And I have a lamp back there in my room that's, the bowl of it is glassy carbon. But we never did get a patent on it because--well, I don't know what the reason was except that somehow we had licenses, let people have licenses to produce it, but we never patented it. But anyway, that's how I got into carbon.

Sylvester James Gates, Jr.

Physicist and physics professor Sylvester James Gates, Jr. was born on December 15, 1950 in Tampa, Florida to Charlie Engels and Sylvester James Gates, Sr. His father worked for the U.S. Army, causing the family to move many times. Gates had lived in six cities by the time he reached the sixth grade. His parents always stressed the importance of education and his father bought him a Encyclopedia Britannica set when he was just eight years old, sparking his interest in science. Gates graduated from High School in 1969. With the encouragement of his father, Gates applied and was admitted to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He earned his B.S. degrees in mathematics and physics in 1973. Gates remained at MIT for four more years, earning his Ph.D. degree in physics in 1977. His thesis, “Symmetry Principles in Selected Problems of Field Theory,” was the first at MIT to deal with supersymmetry.

In 1977, Gates went on to attend Harvard University as a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. He remained at Harvard until 1980, when he moved to California to work as a research fellow with the California Institute of Technology. In 1982, Gates accepted a position as an assistant professor of applied mathematics at MIT. During this time, he also served as director of the Office of Minority Education. Gates joined the University of Maryland as an associate professor of physics in 1984, and became a full professor in 1988. He briefly served as a professor of physics at Howard University from 1990-1993, before returning to teach exclusively at the University of Maryland in 1994. While at Howard, Gates served as the director of the Center for the Study of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres. In 1998, Gates was named the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, becoming the first African American to hold an endowed chair in physics at a major research university in the United States.

Gates’s work in mathematics and theoretical physics has greatly contributed to knowledge about supersymmetry, supergravity and string theory. He has written or co-written over 120 research papers and articles. Working with M.T. Gisaru, M. Rocek, and W. Siegel, Gates co-authored Superspace or 1001 Lessons in Supersymmetry, a standard textbook on the topic of supersymmetry. Gates received numerous honors and awards, including being the first recipient of the American Physical Society’s Edward A. Bouchet Award. In 2009, President Barack Obama named Gates a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In addition to his research, Gates is known for advocating the importance of education and being able to easily explain complex physics theories to a non-physics audience.

Sylvester James Gates, Jr was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 30, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.143

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/30/2012

Last Name

Gates

Middle Name

James

Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sylvester

Birth City, State, Country

Tampa

HM ID

GAT02

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/15/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ham

Short Description

Physicist and physics professor Sylvester James Gates, Jr. (1950 - ) is known for his work in supersymmetry, supergravity and string theory. He co-authored the textbook Superspace or 1001 Lessons in Supersymmetry.

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

University of Maryland, College Park

Howard University

Harvard University

California Institute of Technology

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:7534,75:12349,145:12673,150:13726,175:27380,278:27788,286:28060,291:30345,305:30783,335:31659,350:32389,362:38075,432:38856,445:40631,482:40915,487:41554,499:48346,589:49120,601:50152,623:50840,633:52904,666:59440,722:60028,731:61036,747:64271,767:64595,772:65243,781:67025,809:67430,815:69050,844:69779,856:70346,871:70670,876:74655,887:75645,895:77712,909:83835,977:84215,982:89903,1039:90308,1045:90632,1050:94115,1108:95006,1125:101566,1202:112687,1304:116395,1356:117013,1363:117837,1373:122967,1397:126417,1472:126969,1482:131488,1545:133094,1574:133678,1583:137620,1659:142868,1707:143273,1713:143840,1722:146837,1778:147323,1785:149267,1817:153000,1822:155448,1865:158010,1883:159130,1899:162815,1957:163277,1968:163893,1977:164509,1986:191575,2315:198628,2428:199236,2437:199540,2442:200984,2480:201592,2490:209634,2544:210530,2554:216336,2616:216952,2625:217832,2637:220860,2669:232548,2833:234186,2866:234576,2872:235200,2878:235746,2887:236682,2901:237306,2910:237618,2915:240816,2978:241908,3081:242220,3086:242532,3091:243000,3098:243936,3112:247859,3123:249246,3148:249757,3156:251071,3180:251801,3193:256692,3273:257349,3284:262296,3316:263672,3331:264016,3336:265134,3362:266510,3383:267542,3400:270810,3448:271154,3453:271498,3458:280557,3540:284375,3619:285122,3634:286533,3664:290642,3681:295378,3794:295634,3799:300540,3852$0,0:3794,12:5998,46:17095,200:17620,208:18220,219:19870,244:20320,251:21295,279:22345,299:24145,333:28154,355:28649,361:29540,372:30233,381:34492,440:34804,445:35428,454:36130,466:38386,480:39492,500:41309,539:41783,546:42178,552:42968,613:47708,669:52824,715:53116,720:54357,747:55014,757:55306,762:59523,805:62367,866:62920,874:63236,883:66150,908:67700,941:68444,954:69312,972:70180,992:70738,1002:71420,1015:71916,1026:72474,1038:72722,1043:74272,1074:74830,1085:75388,1112:81670,1153:82702,1167:83734,1191:84594,1202:84938,1207:85368,1213:87174,1250:87690,1260:88636,1272:89582,1288:89926,1293:93296,1309:95918,1317:96488,1323:101410,1375:101836,1387:105318,1437:105894,1447:106982,1501:108070,1523:108582,1584:109542,1589:117221,1689:120602,1764:120878,1769:121361,1783:121637,1788:130512,1881:143203,2065:143851,2132:145309,2156:146767,2183:147091,2188:147496,2194:153130,2233:154534,2262:155722,2287:155938,2292:156154,2297:157126,2319:164656,2390:165184,2401:165646,2409:170964,2479:171482,2485:172074,2495:172740,2505:173406,2517:174368,2535:174664,2540:175256,2549:176218,2576:180930,2643:182250,2662:183130,2671:186954,2701:188535,2724:188907,2729:197296,2809:204902,2876:205197,2882:205610,2893:206318,2917:206790,2926:207026,2931:207262,2936:210622,2954:217940,2998:219156,3023:222196,3099:222652,3106:223032,3117:223564,3133:227630,3143:229258,3182:239554,3343:239842,3348:240202,3354:242820,3362:243160,3369:243636,3445:252210,3520:256616,3581:259340,3594:259851,3621:260508,3634:261019,3643:263680,3684:264130,3690:269298,3739:272562,3824:273906,3850:274290,3861:274674,3869:274994,3875:276594,3911:279954,3933:280557,3943:284108,4010:284644,4019:287170,4036
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sylvester Gates' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sylvester Gates lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sylvester Gates describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sylvester Gates talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sylvester Gates describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sylvester Gates talks about his father's experience in the U.S. Army and his passion for education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sylvester Gates talks about his father's passion for education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sylvester Gates talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sylvester Gates talks about his father's experience serving in the U.S. Army and the Red Ball Express

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sylvester Gates talks about realizing the vast range of skin tones among African Americans

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sylvester Gates describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sylvester Gates talks about the "beauty" of mathematics

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sylvester Gates talks about his siblings and his growing up as a military child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sylvester Gates talks about losing his mother to breast cancer

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sylvester Gates describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sylvester Gates talks about his early interest in science and his impetus to become a scientist

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sylvester Gates talks about his interest in space and airplanes

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sylvester Gates talks about his interest in science and science fiction television shows

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sylvester Gates talks about the artistry of Jack Kirby

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sylvester Gates talks about culture and his first encounter with racism

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sylvester Gates talks about growing up in Orlando, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sylvester Gates talks about his high school physics teacher, Mr. Freeman Coney

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sylvester Gates talks about his teenage interests

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sylvester Gates talks about his involvement in sports during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sylvester Gates talks about his valedictorian address

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sylvester Gates talks about his speech as valedictorian of his high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sylvester Gates talks about his decision to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sylvester Gates talks about race relations in Boston and the assassinations of political figures during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sylvester Gates talks about his academic struggles at MIT

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sylvester Gates describes the dream that helped him overcome his academic struggles

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sylvester Gates talks about his experiences at MIT - part 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sylvester Gates talks about his experiences at MIT - part 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sylvester Gates talks about his experiences at MIT - part 3

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sylvester Gates talks about balancing his studies with his personal life during college

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sylvester Gates talks about his mentors

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sylvester Gates talks about his mentors and his decision to continue his graduate studies at MIT

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sylvester Gates talks about his Ph.D. advisor, James Edward Young

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sylvester Gates talks about his graduate school experience and working with Ronald McNair

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sylvester Gates talks about his journey towards choosing his Ph.D. advisor

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sylvester Gates talks about his process for choosing the subject for his doctoral thesis

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sylvester Gates talks about the process of his defending his thesis at MIT

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sylvester Gates talks about the history of supersymmetry and his interest in the topic

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sylvester Gates talks about his work with supersymmetrical equations and their implications

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sylvester Gates talks about string theory

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sylvester Gates talks about theoretical science and mathematics

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sylvester Gates talks about human understanding of nature and the universe

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sylvester Gates talks about the public's skepticism of science and the knowledge gap

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sylvester Gates talks about the limitations of science

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sylvester Gates talks about his post-doctoral research activities and Richard Phillips Feynman's sense of humor

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sylvester Gates talks about his professional activities

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sylvester Gates talks about Abdus Salam

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sylvester Gates talks about his work at the University of Maryland

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sylvester Gates talks about STEM education in the United States - part 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sylvester Gates talks about STEM education in the United States - part 2

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sylvester Gates talks about his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Sylvester Gates talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Sylvester Gates talks about his relationship with his father

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Sylvester Gates reflects on his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Sylvester Gates reflects on his life choices

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Sylvester Gates talks about his experience flying in Australia

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Sylvester Gates talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Sylvester Gates describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Sylvester Gates talks about his early interest in science and his impetus to become a scientist
Sylvester Gates talks about his work with supersymmetrical equations and their implications
Transcript
Now would you consider yourself to have a photographic memory or--?$$All I know is I have a memory that's peculiar, that I do know. I, one of my most important memory--well a couple of very important memories led to my becoming a scientist. So let me describe those. When I was four or five years old, my mother [Charlie Anglin Gates] bundled up her children to take them to a movie. And I remember standing in line and us huddling together and going into this darkened room and in fact this is the first time I believe I had ever been to a movie theater. And we entered the movie and sat down and we watched it and I have almost no recollections of what we watched except for a few. Among the recollections I do have was seeing a countdown for a rocket blast off. I also remember seeing a man and a woman in space suits with their helmets off inside of a rocket hugging each other. And this in fact, was the first clue in my life that I would go on to become a scientist. For many years I puzzled over what that movie might have been and about five years ago with the aide of the internet, I began making a search trying to figure out what it was and I went down a couple of dead-end leads. About two years ago I found a movie called Spaceways starring Howard Duff and Eva Bartok and I rented the movie from Netflix and the scenes that I still have in my memory banks are there in that movie. It also answered a, it answered a question for me which was very puzzling for years and years about my development. My mother as I had described was a person who was interested in artistic endeavors. She had no interest at all as far as I could tell in science and technology. So I had wondered for years why she would take her children to go see a movie about space rockets? And the answer turns out to be as far as I can tell because one of the stars of that movie was Howard Duff. Well Howard Duff was married to a woman named Ida Lupino and Ida Lupino was my father and mother's favorite actress and so it made perfect sense that she would go to this movie to see the husband of her favorite actress. And that's probably why we wound up being in that audience.$$That's interesting you know all the connections.$$Yeah. So I'm going--I actually have some things in the photographs that I'm going to give you related to that cause I figured you might want those things.$$Okay.$$You asked me about other childhood movies--memories. I remember what sort of really made me wake up to the desire to become a scientist. So in 1958 or '59 [1959], we were living in Fort Bliss in El Paso and one day my father brought home some books on rockets and space travel. He had remembered that his four year old son had come home excited from the movies one day and tried to explain to him about rockets and countdowns and blast offs. And so he figured this child who was you know four years older might be interested in learning more about these things. So he brought home four books by an author named Willy Ley [Willy Otto Oskar Ley, German-American writer, spaceflight advocate and historian] and they were called Adventures in Space. And from reading his books I learned that the little dots of light in the night sky were places to which one might travel. And in my, between my own ears because of this, I had sort of a big bang. That is, I had some idea as an eight year old child of how big the universe must be because if those dots of lights were places and they were that small, then how big must this place be in which we live. And so I thought it might be interesting to go to those places and I knew that astronauts were the people who did that and so I wanted to be an astronaut. But I also knew that science had something to do to get to you to those places and so simultaneous those--simultaneous with that I had the wish to grow up to become a scientist.$So from the early 70s [1970s] in this kind of mathematics that I do, there have been some problems that no one has been able to solve and now it's going on almost four years. So in the 90s [1990s], I decided that I was officially mature that I didn't care what other people were going to say. I was going to return to these unsolved problems. Many people think that I was crazy or whatever but I've been at it and it has in fact led to the most creative parts of my career. So we have found that for example buried in these equations that people can't solve, we have found computer code, not just any old kind of computer code but the kind of computer code that lets a browser work, totally stunning. We have found that these, that parts of these equations that people have not been able to solve lead to pictures that allow you to do algebra and calculus simply by playing with the pictures. You're playing with them but they correspond to mathematical operations. So we have found a way to visualize equations in such a way that we are more efficient at understanding the essence of equations than any methods that other people have ever invented. We currently are still in the process of struggling with these problems but we have found whole new pieces of mathematics that no one has ever used before and some of these results boggle the mind quite frankly. So let me go back to the computer codes.$$Well what--maybe, what are these questions anyway? Maybe you can outline--$$There are systems of equations that no one knows how to answer--$$Okay, alright.$$--find the answer to. It's like you know you write a simple equation like say the square of a number is equal to 4. What's the number? Well the answer is 2 because 2 x 2 equals 4. So there are problems like that, they're more complicated but they're essentially of that character that nobody knows how to answer. So we have found these new tools and this whole new point of view and I'm, in a few more years I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able to solve some of these problems because it takes years to actually develop these things. But the new viewpoint is absolutely critical to actually do that. But the fact that we find these pictures in equations stuns people. We call these pictures adinkras after a traditional word from West Africa. An adinkra is essentially a, an aphorism and that is a saying about a--it's a symbol that has a meaning behind it and so we thought that was an appropriate name to attach to these images of equations that we can generate and give very definite rules to and that's what I actually drew on the blackboard back here is one of them. The fact that we have found computer code of a certain type in the equations has prompted some people to ask the question, who put it, who put the code there and, to at least suggest that the answer is the creator of the universe. So for the first time in my life I've actually done research that some people say raises religious questions.$$So you're saying that this, these codes you've discovered could only have been placed there by someone (unclear)?$$I'm not saying that but I know people who have said that. And in fact if you go to YouTube right now, that's not a site that I endorse by any means because someone else put it together but there's a video running on YouTube that within the last month, last three months, half a million people have watched on this subject and it involves me. I mean some people have taken some images and words I've said and some of these people definitely believe that this is evidence of a creator. Other people argue that no it's not. But I've never done a piece of research that has prompted people to ask these kinds of questions.$$I don't--I wish I knew more about what it was so I could ask a good question. But I don't--$$Well I've written a popular level article for people who want to learn about this. It's called "Symbols of Power". It's actually available online so if you just type my name and the word adinkra, you could probably find the article.

Carlos Handy

Physicists Carlos Handy was born on October 18, 1950, in Havana, Cuba, to a Cuban mother and an American father. His father, W.C. Handy, is known as “Father of the Blues.” Growing up in New York City, Handy attended George Washington High School where he was a top math student. In 1972, Handy earned his B.A. degree in physics from Columbia College in New York. He then continued his studies at Columbia university, earning is M.A. degree in physics in 1975 and his PhD degree in theoretical physics in 1978.

From 1878 to 1981, Handy worked as a postdoctoral research associate as Los Alamos national Laboratory focusing on the use of moment representations to relate large scale to local scale features of strong coupling problems. A related approach to this led to Wavelet analysis, as developed by others (i.e. Grossman, Morlet, and Daubechies). In 1983, Handy was hired by Clark Atlanta University as an associate professor of physics. During his time there, he received grant money from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which led to his discovery of the Eigenvalue Method (EMM) technique.

With a second grant from the NSF, Handy established the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems at Clark Atlanta University, a research and student mentoring center. In 2005, Handy left Clark-Atlanta University and became the head of the physics department at Texas Southern University where assumed full responsibility for the development of the physics program.

Throughout his career, Handy published numerous research articles. The most recent of these was an extension of EMM to determining the symmetry breaking regime of an important pseudo-hermitian system, and application to Regge pole scattering analysis in atomic and molecular physics. His professional concerns include the need for modern facilities in physics education as well as student’s early mastery of calculus. Carlos Handy works in Houston, Texas.

Carlos Handy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on [mm, dd, yyyy]

Accession Number

A2012.194

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/17/2012

Last Name

Handy

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

R

Schools

Columbia University

George Washington High School

Los Alamos National Laboratory

First Name

Carlos

Birth City, State, Country

Havana

HM ID

HAN04

Favorite Season

May

Favorite Vacation Destination

Costa Rica

Favorite Quote

Greatness comes from within.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/18/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

Cuba

Favorite Food

Condensed Milk, Rice

Short Description

Research physicist and physics professor Carlos Handy (1950 - ) is the founder of the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems at Clark Atlanta University, and the first Physics Department Chair at Texas Southern University.

Employment

Texas Southern University

Clark Atlanta University

AMAF Industries

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:740,33:1845,45:3715,79:6952,122:18406,364:19236,376:24465,482:25876,510:26291,516:32939,528:35144,572:35396,601:35963,613:37916,646:38231,652:39239,664:39554,670:39995,679:41570,710:42263,723:42830,734:48124,771:50100,813:50708,825:52456,876:60121,978:60590,987:60858,992:65883,1113:66352,1122:66821,1131:73789,1266:79364,1296:79692,1301:85924,1421:86498,1429:87072,1437:87400,1442:91008,1528:101247,1651:107058,1730:114196,1921:124550,2007:132458,2158:137148,2258:138287,2284:146126,2474:152324,2514:164360,2652:164612,2666:165053,2713:165431,2742:168896,2807:169337,2817:170030,2831:174231,2858:177542,2925:182162,3016:182547,3022:191038,3105:193978,3184:197674,3269:198850,3281:201580,3405$0,0:5950,117:10213,180:34409,451:34967,459:37292,491:37850,498:41058,545:41488,551:52584,694:53010,701:53862,715:54359,724:57057,801:59684,856:61885,902:62382,915:62879,924:73996,1043:75772,1076:76068,1081:76512,1088:78510,1146:78954,1154:83394,1278:84356,1299:85244,1313:94882,1384:96194,1406:98654,1460:100048,1481:100458,1486:103000,1543:103574,1552:111085,1639:112789,1669:114706,1713:115274,1719:121384,1780:129640,1906
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carlos Handy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy talks about Cuban patriotism

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy talks about his mother's early life in the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his childhood experiences of going back and forth between the United States and Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy talks about his mother's growing up in Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carlos Handy talks about his grandfather, W.C. Handy, a famous blues musician

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes his memories of his grandfather, W.C. Handy

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy talks about his paternal family's musical talents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy talks about his father's growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy talks about his father's career as a businessman

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes how his parents met and got married

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy talks about his siblings and his childhood household

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carlos Handy describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in New York City and Cuba

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy talks about being brought up by a Cuban mother

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his childhood neighborhood in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes his experience in elementary school and junior high school in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy describes his experience at George Washington High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy talks about representing his high school on the NBC program 'It's Academic'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his freshman year at Columbia University and his work with Martin Gutzwiller at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges that he faced during his freshman year at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his experience as a physics major at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy talks about physicist Martin Gutzwiller

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy talks about his parents' separation and his decision to pursue graduate studies at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes his experience as a first-year Ph.D. student at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges that he faced during his doctoral studies at Columbia University - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges that he faced during his doctoral studies at Columbia University - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes his doctoral dissertation research in the field of gauge theories, at Columbia University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his disappointing experience in the physics department at Columbia University and the lack of mentoring

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy talks about the broad applicability of a doctoral degree, and the problem with stringent expectations in academia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy describes the way he was treated in the physics department at Columbia University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes his work on the moment problem at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes race relations in New Mexico

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy talks about getting married, and moving to AMAF in Baltimore, Maryland, and to Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes his research on the moment problem at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his research collaboration with physicist Daniel Bessis - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes his research collaboration with physicist Daniel Bessis - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy describes his research with Daniel Bessie, on the neutron star problem

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes his work with Hermitian operators at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his research at the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy describes his decision to accept a position at Texas Southern University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy describes his experience as chair of the physics department at Texas Southern University, and the status of HBCUs in the state of Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes the demographics of Texas Southern University

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his involvement as chair of the physics department at Texas Southern University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges faced by the physics department at Texas Southern University

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy discusses the graduation rate of African American students in the STEM fields in the Texas university systems

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Carlos Handy talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$1

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Carlos Handy describes his research collaboration with physicist Daniel Bessis - part two
Carlos Handy talks about his mother's early life in the United States
Transcript
So, [Daniel] Bessis [physicist], this is now January of '85 [1985], comes back from his Christmas break. And he says, he says, you know, I tried to, I tried to solve this problem, but I, I couldn't come up with a solution. I said, well, I solved it. He says, what do you mean you solved it? Yeah, I solved it. So I showed him what I did. And his jaw dropped because not only had I solved the problem, I did something else. It turns out--and this is the other irony, it turns that he and Barnsley, a few years before, had tried it--because the method I came up, not just gave you an answer. It gave you an answer in a very special way. I could tell you, I could tell you that the true answer had to be between this number and that number. And depending upon how much I wanted to go, I can make those two shrink, and those are called lower and upper bounds. So I can tell you that the true answer must be between this and this, and I can make this arbitrary type. And they had been looking for a method like that. And, in fact, Barnsley came up with something called the "bathtub," "Barnsley's bathtub theorem" which is really a variation of something called the Barta's Bounds for ener--, for, you know, for eigenvalues, well, it's really for the ground state, the Barta Bounds. But that method can give you estimates, but there's no way to shrink 'em down. I could shrink 'em down, and so Bessis gets very excited because even though that's not what I was looking for, that's what I discovered. And then he says that there's a very famous problem, called the Quadratic Zeeman Effect for super strong magnetic fields. What is means is basically, you know, the earth's, the magnetic field of the earth is like, you know, one gauss or .4 gauss [unit of measurement of a magnetic field]. It's very, very small. But if you go on the neutron star, the magnetic field can be a billion, I mean huge, (unclear) billion gauss, very strong. And so what astronomers wanna do is, they'll measure the energy emitted by these hydrogen-looking atoms, and by doing the spectro-analysis, they can actually measure in magnetic fields. So it's a, you know, it's an involved, it's an inverse process. So if you have, if you have good--if you can accurately measure the energy levels from a hydrogen atom, you can then determine what the strength and magnetic field (unclear) neutron star. So it's an important pract--theoretical and practical problem. But the problem is that, this quadratic Zeeman effect is a strong coupling problem, all right. The boundary layer I think I told you, it's a strong coupling problem. And when people try to solve that problem, they, because the methods are not, they're not robust, they're not accurate enough, they can give answers that vary all over the place. But here I am coming with a solution that can tell you that the, what the true (unclear). There's no uncertainty. So, I remember in '85 [1985] Bessis looking at me, and, and you have to understand Bessis is the first collaboration I ever had in my life, okay, not at Columbia, not at Los Alamos, the first collaboration I ever had in my life. So I remember in '85 [1985] Bessis saying, we wrote a paper, a 'Physics Review Letters'[journal] paper which is the top publication still [C. R. Handy and D. Bessis, `Rapidly Convergent Lower Bounds for the Schrodinger Equation Ground State Energy', 1985].$Okay. Now, when she [Handy's mother, Leonor Maria Cartaya] was raised up, did she have a chance to go to, to finish school?$$Well, she, at the time, she, she--in fact, she met my father, she was, I think, in a doctoral program in pedagogy, but never finished, but she was close to getting a doctorate in education.$$Okay, was she in the United States or in Cuba?$$Well, she, she came on an academic, she came on an excursion in 1947. I guess it was like an academic excursion. She toured Howard University [Washington, District of Columbia], other places like that. And then she fell in love with the United States and stayed behind, rented an apartment and in that building, my father was living with his kids from his first wife. He was a widower.$$Is this in New York?$$In New York City.$$New York City.$$Okay, and little by little, they started a relationship, and, you know, one thing led to another, and they got married in 1950. So or 1949, 'cause I (laughter), heck, so I don't know. They married in 1949 or 1950, but I do know that, that we were, we popped up nine months after (laughter). So--.$$So, they, your mother had moved back to Cuba for a minute, I guess when you were born?$$Yeah, 'cause she taught. She was a school teacher.$$Okay.$$So she would go back and forth. She would fly--my mother hated to fly, and my father never flew. So my mother would fly from Havana [Cuba] to Miami [Florida] and then take either the train or the Greyhound Bus up the East Coast. And I do remember, she would, she, you know, she tells me that the bus driver would tell her, well, you know, you folks in the back. And so she says that on one occasion she said, or the only occasion she said, "Me no speak English," okay, so she stayed put. And my mother was of the character that she would not bow down. You know, she would find a way to (laughter) stay where she wanted to be, so--.$$Okay.

David Garrison

Physicist David Garrison was born on October 27, 1975 in Chicago, Illinois to parents Christine and Millard Garrison, Jr. He has two older siblings, Cassandra Guichard and Michael Garrison. He went to grade school in O’Fallon, Missouri, attending Mount Vernon Elementary School, Fort Zumwalt North Middle School, and Fort Zumwalt North High School. While in high school, he was a jazz soloist in the jazz band. Garrison finished secondary school in 1993, after which he began studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and played on the varsity football team for three years. He received his B.S. degree in physics from there in 1997. That same year he began a doctoral program in physics at Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Pennsylvania State University in 2002.

During graduate school in 1999, he started Fast Financial Analysis with his future wife Rispba McCray-Garrison. The company provides software programs useful in analyzing money metrics. In 2002, he began working for the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) as a visiting assistant professor. A year later, he became a regular assistant professor and began reorganizing the physical sciences program into an actual physics department. The department now has a B.A. degree in physics, a M.S. degree in physics, a collaborative Ph.D. degree in physics with the University of Houston, and a P.S.M. degree in physics with a sub-plan in technical management. With these degrees programs, Garrison has been able to attract students better qualified to help with his research in numerical relativity, cosmology, computational physics, and plasma physics. In addition to research at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, he has also worked in collaboration on many projects with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, including a project for the development of a plasma rocket engine. In 2003, Garrison became the faculty chair of the physics program and began the UHCL Physics and Space Science Guest Lecture Series. He has also served terms on university bodies such as the Planning and Budget Committee, the Faculty Senate, University Council, and the Academic Council.

In 2002, Garrison married Rispba McCray-Garrison on December 28. In 2012, he became an advisory board member for the Space Center Houston and published What Every Successful Physics Graduate Student Should Know<\em>.
David Garrison was interviewed by The HistoryMakers<\em> on August 15, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.199

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/15/2012

Last Name

Garrison

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Pennsylvania State University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Fort Zumwalt North High School

Fort Zumwalt North Middle School

Mount Vernon Elementary

Mount Hope Elementary

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GAR03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

If We Knew What We Are Doing, We Wouldn't Call It Research, Would We?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/27/1975

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Physicist and physics professor David Garrison (1975 - ) is a physicist who began teaching physics at the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2002, where he is the physics program founder and faculty chair of the department.

Employment

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Fast Financial Analysis

Pennsylvania State University

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:2490,41:3300,55:5163,92:9537,209:13587,294:14316,311:26267,437:27482,457:27887,463:28211,468:31046,531:31451,537:44518,661:44854,666:47374,726:47794,732:54495,828:55132,833:57043,864:57589,871:65708,948:89994,1250:90282,1255:90570,1260:91002,1267:91434,1274:91938,1282:92226,1287:96100,1346:96850,1357:97900,1402:98875,1461:117030,1710:117830,1721:119110,1757:121190,1805:124690,1825:125810,1874:134655,1919:135180,1937:138540,2018:139065,2024:139590,2030:147155,2101:148175,2116:149620,2138:149960,2143:151575,2169:156070,2219:156758,2228:159166,2263:161746,2306:166820,2397:173305,2450:173730,2456:174835,2473:181840,2562$0,0:7332,105:12126,158:17196,181:18364,198:18948,208:19459,216:20992,240:21503,248:24656,265:25244,274:25580,279:26168,290:26924,300:29640,319:29976,326:30256,334:30760,344:33665,377:33925,382:34445,394:35095,405:35550,415:36785,442:37435,455:37695,460:38865,485:39320,493:39840,503:40360,514:44365,536:44745,541:45790,553:46170,558:48291,580:48615,585:53656,641:55224,661:57968,703:59046,715:59830,725:62840,737:63830,743:64202,748:65039,758:66341,776:66899,783:68201,802:68573,807:71750,818:72206,826:72719,836:72947,841:73517,853:75740,903:78020,954:81418,993:82098,1013:86419,1083:87175,1108:87427,1114:88624,1140:89128,1149:91908,1185:92584,1199:93416,1212:94092,1226:94352,1232:94560,1237:95930,1243:96498,1256:96924,1263:98344,1289:99409,1311:99977,1338:100758,1350:104628,1388:104900,1393:105308,1400:106750,1412:107542,1427:108334,1444:108622,1449:109270,1463:111702,1480:112854,1497:113526,1504:114774,1519:116886,1542:117558,1550:120610,1564:121585,1580:121885,1585:122485,1594:123085,1599:123610,1607:124510,1621:127250,1651:128174,1667:128510,1672:129740,1678:130389,1692:131215,1716:133516,1772:137005,1792:139555,1838:141055,1860:141730,1872:142105,1883:143005,1897:143680,1909:146080,1960:146455,1966:152140,1999:157835,2053:164304,2096:167458,2128:169872,2153:170282,2159:171020,2172:171676,2181:172086,2187:172496,2193:173070,2201:173480,2207:173890,2213:174218,2218:176667,2232:181590,2307:182094,2315:183606,2341:184398,2356:184902,2365:185478,2374:185982,2382:186630,2394:189725,2415:190697,2434:191426,2445:192560,2483:194933,2498:195257,2504:196715,2533:197039,2538:197687,2547:198659,2565:200441,2610:205710,2652
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Garrison's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Garrison lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Garrison describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Garrison describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about his father's experience in the Army and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Garrison describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Garrison describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Garrison describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about he and his sibling's transition to Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about his high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about graduating from high school and his decision to attend MIT

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his experience at MIT

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about his peers, professors and the academic environment at MIT

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about computers and emerging technologies during his college years

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his decision to attend Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Garrison talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about his company, Fast Financial Analysis

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his experience at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about his doctoral advisors

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Garrison describes his dissertation on binary black hole codes

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his decision to join the University of Houston, Clear Lake

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Garrison talks about his work at the University of Houston, Clear Lake (part 1)

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Garrison talks about his work at the University of Houston, Clear Lake (part 2)

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about the distinguished lecture series at the University of Houston, Clear Lake

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about his publication on cosmology

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his professional activities with UHCL and the Space Center Houston

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about his book and journal publications

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about his colleagues at the University of Houston, Clear Lake

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his future plans and the challenges he sees in higher education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about his interest in physics

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about the challenges with physics education at the university level

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Garrison reflects on his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Garrison reflects on his life choices

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David Garrison reflects on his career

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David Garrison describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
David Garrison talks about computers and emerging technologies during his college years
David Garrison talks about his doctoral advisors
Transcript
And it was, it was fascinating, and then also, this is also when the dot.com revolution was going on or at least getting started 'cause when I started at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology], I'd never really, I learned a little bit of computer programming from my cousin. You know, he taught me how to program on a Commodore Vic 20. And it was basically one of those things where we had the cassette tapes that would store the programs to get, it could take hours for it to load and everything. And I hadn't really, I'd never heard of the Internet. I hadn't been on a modern computer. And then I got to MIT, and we were using, you know, high-level Unix machines. I hadn't even used a PC, and we were already at, using Unix and learning about the Internet, the world-wide web and being able to do stuff on it. And then also, when I was working on my senior thesis, I ended up kind of getting involved in this computational project to simulate the gravitational lens on un-lensed images. And the idea was could I, could--is it possible to train a computer to just look at the sky and figure out where the gravitational lenses are without having a human astronomer have to go through and do it by hand. And so I was given this piece of code that really wasn't working very well. And over time, I improved on it, I optimized it and everything else. And then I made the kind of discovery that, I didn't even have to go into the lab to do this. I could actually be at home on my computer and 24 hours a day, as long as I had access to the Internet, I could go and I could change the code. I could rerun it. I could do whatever I needed to do without going into the lab. So that was part of my motivation from there on out, was the laziness that I could just have this total freedom to do science, but that I would, didn't have to be in a certain place at a certain time to do it.$$Now, do you remember when you got your first computer?$$I bought a computer when I first got to MIT, and they had a, an Apple store downstairs in the student center. And I bought an Apple, and the main reason why was because when I was in high school, I took a computer class, and we learned how to use, you know, basic computer stuff on, on Apples, and they were Macintosh SE's. I actually have one in my office now. And it was, you know, they were incredibly primitive compared to what we have today. But that's what kind of started. And then I never really liked the PC's much. But I, I learned how to use the Apples and I just stick with them since then.$Okay, now, who was your advisor at Kent State?$$I had two advisors--$$Penn State.$$--Jorge Pullen was my primary advisor, and my secondary advisor was Pueblo Laguna. And Jorge was interested in, I think his primary interest was in quantum gravity more so. But he also did some stuff with numerical relativity. I was pretty much in numerical relativity. And like I said, at some point in my scientific career, I think the older scientists just decided that they wanted to stick the younger people in front of a computer. And I felt more comfortable with that. And Pueblo was more focused on the numerical relativity aspect. So we'd, I learned how to, you know, run code on Super Computers and the interesting thing was that at the time, most computers were single-core, single processor. And we were running on dozens, sometimes even hundreds of processors at once. And so we had a, a skill for running multi-processor or writing multi-processor programs before anybody even knew that that was gonna be a major need.$$So you'd have them networked and--$$Yeah, oh, yeah, they were networked, and, you know, they were--we'd use Super Computer architectures. And then we started experimenting with Beowulf architectures where they were, they weren't shared memory. And then so each processor had its own memory, and they'd have to communicate with each other. And so we got to do some really interesting research. And also Penn State, even though it was isolated, at the time, it was the United States premier center for gravitation physics research. So anybody who had done anything with general relativity or cosmology passed through Penn State. And the only other center in the world that was anywhere close to as big as what we were doing was in Pottstown, Germany. And so we talked to them. But we had, pretty much any, anybody who was a big name in the field or a potential big name in the field, passed through there, like Shawn Carroll or Scott Hughes, or, let's see, one of my mentors there was Lee Smolin who's now one of the big people at the Perimeter Institute. And we also had, we didn't meet Steven Hawking, but we did meet Roger Penrose. He actually would spend several weeks every year there at Penn State and was one of, and had a joint faculty appointment. And so we were getting seminars from world-class people, and we knew the absolute cutting edge of the research. And so we were in this just, within our department, we were in this kind of a bubble of, you know, absolutely, top-of-the-line, best research going on. And we knew anything going on in the field, just by walking up the hall and talking to people.

Conrad Williams

Physicist and physics professor Conrad Williams was born on March 1, 1936 in Warsaw, North Carolina. Williams grew up on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and as a seven year. Williams had a strong interest in science, and his mentor, a geology curator for the Museum of Natural History, taught him about rocks and rock formations. Williams graduated from Spingarn Senior High School in 1954 and then earned his B.S. degree from Morgan State University in 1958. In 1960, Williams joined the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) as a solid state physicist. He continued to work at the Naval Research Laboratory while earning his M.S. degree in physics from Howard University. He also received his Ph.D. degree in physics from Howard University in 1971 under the guidance of Dr. Arthur N. Thorpe and Dr. Albert I. Schindler (NRL).

Williams worked at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory for thirty one years. In 1980, he resigned and joined the National Science Foundation as program director of the college and university faculty programs; and, in 1981, became the associate program director for condensed matter physics and superconductivity. In 1983, he returned to NRL and retired in 1993 as the head of the Applied Magnetics Section. In 1993, Williams joined the faculty of Morgan State University as a physics professor. During his tenure, he made significant contributions to the development of the research infrastructure, particularly in the area of condensed mater physics.

Williams made significant contributions to the field of magnetism and magnetic materials for over five decades. His research interests centered on the physical properties of magnetism in unique compounds, such as magnetic anisotropy, magnetostriction and magnetization. Williams designed and constructed the world’s first low temperature 6-Tesla high field torque magnetometer that was instrumental in developing the theory and experimental verification of the magnetic properties of novel rare earth intermetallic compounds. Many of these materials are utilized in parts of the U.S. Navy’s fleet as well as other applications.

Williams has received several awards, including the Naval Research Laboratory’s prestigious Sigma Xi Award for Pure Science in 1977 for his research in establishing origin of the magnetic anisotropy energy of rare earth laves phase compounds. He was named a “Giant in Science,” by the Quality Education for Minorities in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Network. Williams is also a fellow of the American Physical Society and the National Society of Black Physicists. Williams has been a distinguished invited professor and/or scientist at many institutions that include: the Indian Institute of Technology, Howard University, the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University. He has served on many national and international committees which include the Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, appointed by the Secretary of Energy; the National Science Foundation's Materials Research Advisory Committee; the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), appointed by the Secretary of State; and the NSF Advisory Panel on Scientific Opportunities in High Magnetic Field Research, which served as the basis for the National High Field Magnetic Laboratory in Tallahassee, Flordia.

Conrad Williams was interviewed by The History makers on July 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.142

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/17/2012 |and| 8/29/2012

Last Name

Williams

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Lovejoy Elementary School

Brown Junior High School

Spingarn STAY High School

Morgan State University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Conrad

Birth City, State, Country

Warsaw

HM ID

WIL59

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Thailand, Malaysia

Favorite Quote

You Know.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/1/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Yogurt

Short Description

Physicist and physics professor Conrad Williams (1936 - ) was a leader in magnetic research at the United States Naval Research Laboratory and at Morgan State University.

Employment

Morgan State University

Naval Research Laboratory

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Indian Institute of Technology

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:24062,379:26724,406:27208,411:42958,493:44650,505:49596,521:50356,532:52028,558:52636,567:53928,587:54232,613:54612,626:70990,783:75610,834:81818,884:93716,1000:95930,1049:96340,1055:97652,1077:99128,1103:100440,1117:104973,1144:105754,1168:111560,1253:112290,1264:130254,1592:131250,1607:132329,1622:132661,1627:141293,1766:147788,1837:151086,1859:167997,2020:198728,2503:199736,2520:209111,2620:209467,2625:215549,2726:216188,2737:221133,2792:221910,2800:236286,2945:237188,2958:248290,3094$0,0:4559,12:5168,21:32084,211:36244,252:41136,290:41973,301:43842,314:59630,456:60980,469:64670,526:65750,540:66380,550:90235,852:100880,994:106920,1106:114952,1200:117460,1291:120380,1346:136028,1500:139322,1530:142860,1565:143672,1587:151473,1679:154771,1728:159176,1770:182629,2038:182921,2043:189167,2161:190616,2201:204375,2424:205007,2433:209312,2494:214024,2590:215392,2619:223746,2726:228821,2755:239026,2862:251780,3002:252605,3015:265263,3146:266781,3175:267747,3192:291760,3415
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Conrad Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams talks about his mother's life in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Conrad Williams describes his father's upbringing in Kenansville, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Conrad Williams talks about his parents' meeting and their separation

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams talks about visiting his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up (part one)

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up (part two)

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Conrad Williams continues to describe his childhood experiences in Washington D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Conrad Williams describes his experience in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams talks about his childhood role models, George Coleman and Charley Johnson

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams describes his interests in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his experience as an amateur radio operator

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams describes how radios work

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams talks about his mother's place of employment

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Conrad Williams describes his interest in music

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Conrad Williams describes his decision to attend Morgan College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Conrad Williams describes his first week at Morgan College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Conrad Williams describes his experience at Morgan College and his relationship with Dr. Julius Taylor

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams talks about his professors at Morgan College [now Morgan State University]

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams describes Sputnik's influence on the U.S. scientific community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his decision to work at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams describes his dissertation research on the effects of charged particle irradiation on the magnetic anisotropy of iron-nickel alloy films

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams describes his experience earning a Ph.D. at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Conrad Williams describes his relationship with Dr. Norman Coon

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Conrad Williams describes how cordless machines were invented

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Conrad Williams talks about intellectual property rights of research

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Conrad Williams talks about Dr. Norman Coon's death

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Conrad Williams talks about how he met his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams describes his approach to problem-solving

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams describes his experience at the National Science Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams talks about returning to the Naval Research Laboratory in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams describes his most significant research contributions in condensed matter physics

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams talks about his experience as a faculty member at Morgan State University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams talks about the importance of recruiting faculty with diverse professional experiences

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams talks about his research on exchange and spin spring materials and ferra-fluids

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his ongoing research projects

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams talks about the lack of analytical thinking among students in science

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams reflects upon the lessons from his childhood

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams reflects upon his legacy

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

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams talks about church and the role of religion in his life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams reflects upon being taped by The HistoryMakers

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams displays his Hall of Fame watch

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Conrad Williams' interview

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams describes his visiting professorships

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his service on the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of Energy

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams describes his service on the UNESCO committee in the 1980s

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams describes his service on the National Science Foundation Advisory Panel on Scientific Opportunities and High Magnetic Field Research

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Conrad Williams describes his interest in electric vehicles

DASession

2$1

DATape

8$4

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Conrad Williams describes his service on the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of Energy
Conrad Williams describes his dissertation research on the effects of charged particle irradiation on the magnetic anisotropy of iron-nickel alloy films
Transcript
Now, we also discussed some of your synergetic, synergistic activities, committees and such. Now, you served on many national and international committees, sir, and one is the Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee--$$Yes, well, the Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee is short and known as, it's known as BSAC. I sat on that committee for about, about four years or maybe a little longer if I can recall. And that committee was, I guess, designed to review the, the activities that were going on at the national laboratories in the area of basic engineering basic energy sciences. And I was appointed to that committee by the Secretary of Energy at that time. And most, those organizations and the DOD [department of Defense] laboratories that were doing basic energy science, such as Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkley, Oak Ridge, Argonne, Brookhaven, whereas I could go down the list, and Oak Ridge, I guess--I think I said that one. But those, well, the directors of those laboratories would come to this meeting, bring, I guess, their top scientists to tell us a little about the programs that they were doing that had technological interests and where there was perhaps opportunities for scientific breakthrough. It was very interesting, you know. I always liked to go to those meetings largely because of the fact that, you know, it's better than going to the library (laughter). You know, and somebody is coming to tell you about the science that's going on, current science that's being done, and you get an education in addition to an opportunity to make recommendations as to, you know, directions and other synergistic programs that they should, they might want to consider. So that was the essence of that committee. I think, I can't name all the laboratories that came before that committee, but it was an honor to sit there. It was--$$Okay. Are there any, I don't know if I should even ask this, but are there any stories that come out of this long association with the National Science Foundation committee?$$So, what do you mean, about the Basic Energy Science Advisory Committee?$$Yeah.$$Yeah, yeah, well, you know, some of them would probably not be repeatable at this point (laughter). You know, since we, since there's no, you know, eraser on this tape (laughter).$$No, but I guess we could ask this. Was there ever a time when, you know, a project came across?$$Well, it was, it was good. There were two African Americans on the committee. It was myself and then there was, oh, I can't think of her name right now. But she was just recently the, stepped down as the president of Norfolk State [University, Norfolk, Virginia]. It'll come to me before the end. And it was good to be at the table as African Americans. At least, I could give an African American point of view or a, a particular as it's relating to the funding in some instances of, of what kind of programs, from the HBCUs [historically black colleges and universities] that could be integrated into their funding scheme, yeah.$$Okay.$Okay. Now, what was your dissertation about?$$(Laughter) Sounds like all those papers I've written, yeah. What was the title of that? 'The Effects of Neutron Irradiation or Charge Particle Irradiation on the Magnetic Anisotropy of Iron-Nickel Alloy Films'.$$Okay, now, is there a way to break that down for the uninitiated?$$Yes, I guess, well, basically, it was a short--if you have iron and nickel, right, they're atoms, okay. And you have them in a matrix, in a material, okay. Well, they wanna form, I mean they have certain sides that they like to lie on within the symmetry of the lattice, an iron atom here, maybe a nickel atom here, an iron atom here, maybe a nickel atom here. But they're not necessarily ordered. They could be random on the sides. But the magnetic properties, the magnetization or the easy direction of magnetization which as we would call, the anisotropic axis, you know, the axis that is easier to--, you apply a magnetic field, all the spins will point in that direction. It depends upon where they're located and how they interact with one another. So the idea was that if you can somehow change the arrangement of these atoms under some force, some magnetic force, such that they all aligned in one direction, then we could say that that's the easy direction of magnetization. So if we apply a field in that direction, all the spins are just spun in that direction so they're gonna point that way. And we get a large signal, okay, whereas if we applied it perpendicular, it's harder to rotate the spins in that direction because we've already frozen them in, in this direction. So that's called anisotropy, that is, this direction is easier, this direction is harder. So if it were easy all over, in other words, if all the directions were randomly easy, that would be an isotropic situation. So by applying a--so one way you can get the atoms to move is, you put 'em in a magnetic field, okay. And then you knock 'em around with maybe charged particles from a Van de Graaff accelerator or just neutrons. And so the atoms will move. You know, you hit 'em, they're gonna move. They're gonna go to an equilibrium position. But now this new equilibrium position is determined by the direction of the magnetic field. So you're gonna find that most of the spins, the short-range, directional order of these iron-iron pairs, nickel-nickel pairs will be in the direction of that magnetic field. Now, you say well, I mean why can't I just heat this sample up and have the atoms randomly moving. But then you lose the dipole-dipole interaction, that is, the spins aren't as strong. You lose the magnetization if you heat it too high. But if you bombard these things with charged particles, then it's so fast that you don't raise the temperature to get rid of the magnetization. And you, and that is a, that is the vehicle for aligning the dipole moments. That was the essence of my thesis.$$Okay, all right.$$But, but for a master's thesis--, you see I designed and built the apparatus to, to measure these effects. And, you know, such as vibrating sample, magnetometer and a torque magnetometer because I had the electronic background to do that. And, and we got a lot of mileage, the branch got--we got a lot of mileage out of those instruments.$$Okay. So, this is, so you got your master's degree in 1960, is it '65 [1965]?$$'65 [1965], yes.$$'65 [1965], okay.

Keith Jackson

Physicist Keith Hunter Jackson was born on September 24, 1953 in Columbus, Ohio to Gloria and Russell Jackson. He earned two B.S. degrees, one in physics from Morehouse College and one in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Jackson then moved to California where he obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in 1979 and 1982, respectively.

After obtaining his graduate degrees, Jackson began working for Hewlett Packard Laboratories. He became a member of the Gate Dielectric group and developed techniques to create thin nitride films on silicon layers. In 1983, he served as a professor at Howard University, working in the Solid State Electronics group. Beginning in 1988, Jackson worked for Rockwell International (now Boeing) in the Rocketdyne division where under the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program he performed research on diamond thin films, high powered chemical and Free Electron Lasers (FEL) and water-cooled optics. In 1992, Jackson began working for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as associate director of the Center for X-Ray Optics (CXRO). His research interests were in the Extreme Ultra-Violet (EVU) lithography, x-ray lithography, electroplating and injection molding. EUV lithography is the technology, which is used to build billions of nano-sized devices for use in computers and cell phones. X-ray lithography and molding is used to build micro-sized mechanical devices like micropumps, and tiny mirrors for large screen projection TV’s. In 2005, Jackson became Vice President of Research and Professor of Physics at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). On January 4th 2010, Jackson moved to Baltimore, Maryland and joined the faculty of Morgan State University as Chair of the Department of Physics.

Jackson served as president of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) from 2001 to 2006. He is also a fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists and the African Scientific Institute. In 2004, Jackson was selected as one of the 50 Most Important African Americans in Technology by U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology. In addition to his published papers, Jackson has written pieces on minority physicists including “Utilization of African American Physicists in the Science & Engineering Workforce” and “The Status of the African American Physicist in the Department of Energy National Laboratories.”

Accession Number

A2012.140

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/16/2012 |and| 9/10/2012

Last Name

Jackson

Middle Name

H.

Schools

Morehouse College

Georgia Institute of Technology

Stanford University

First Name

Keith

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

JAC29

Favorite Season

April

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

In Physics, We Don't Teach You What To Think. We Teach You How To Think.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

9/24/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Oranges

Short Description

Physicist and physics professor Keith Jackson (1953 - ) served as president of the National Society of Black Physicists, vice president of research at Florida A&M University and chair of the Department of Physics at Morgan State University.

Employment

Morgan State University

Florida A&M University

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)

Rockwell International

Howard University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:3061,17:9810,94:11378,114:16740,216:17000,221:17780,237:18430,249:18820,257:27626,365:29054,392:29474,398:30062,406:30398,442:36856,500:38896,556:39916,574:40392,582:40664,594:41412,611:44655,623:45795,638:46555,648:51970,700:53566,726:56606,772:60068,793:60396,798:61544,813:72450,943:74375,990:83376,1118:95408,1272:96928,1298:100810,1330:107894,1410:108531,1418:109805,1446:111261,1466:113536,1499:116472,1574:117816,1595:120588,1631:120924,1636:121260,1641:122436,1651:123612,1668:124284,1677:132293,1779:133163,1790:141328,1886:142316,1902:143988,1932:144292,1937:144672,1943:145128,1951:146268,1970:154688,2053:156272,2070:157328,2083:157680,2088:160340,2107:160824,2112:173365,2237:174392,2258:174708,2263:176130,2286:180336,2313:184970,2417:219910,2711:225212,2769:225547,2775:225949,2783:235268,2932:235924,2943:236416,2950:237400,2963:249104,3136:252050,3154:253250,3180:263219,3333:266385,3364:268085,3404:268850,3415:271740,3471:272165,3492:280620,3596:281222,3606:284240,3638$0,0:6800,46:7640,69:10440,134:10930,143:15489,196:19080,414:42926,623:43448,634:43680,639:43912,644:44724,660:45014,666:45478,676:45710,681:65772,918:69910,946:70480,953:70955,960:84053,1157:84589,1166:96010,1333:98676,1364:101160,1385:101835,1397:102210,1403:103860,1433:105060,1453:107985,1564:108435,1571:108810,1577:114628,1606:121240,1623:138126,1852:138506,1858:146666,2021:146994,2026:147814,2040:148306,2047:155018,2132:162103,2224:162933,2236:163763,2247:164178,2253:169624,2304:170121,2313:173188,2339:184056,2417:188243,2493:192804,2578:195084,2594:195464,2600:203630,2704:204518,2733:220164,2914:223700,2927:226594,2968:227026,2977:228800,2986:231270,3005:232073,3020:239925,3097:240520,3105:240945,3114:241880,3130:251898,3206:252570,3214:253722,3229:254202,3235:260118,3297:260545,3306:266610,3387:271275,3459:276160,3481:280386,3535:281074,3544:284586,3592:291430,3655:300048,3772:303084,3815:306304,3874:311095,3904:323886,4034:324318,4047:324822,4056:327630,4122:327918,4127:331206,4136:332436,4152:333502,4167:338175,4209:338745,4216:342437,4253:343018,4265:346255,4319:353230,4387:357390,4414:359070,4434:374536,4637:379645,4688:385951,4788:386473,4796:388996,4843:390214,4868:395037,4916:396205,4936:405130,5028:417200,5143
DAStories

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his mother's experience growing up in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson talks about his mother attending Ohio State University

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Keith Jackson describes his father's service in the U.S. Air Force and his experience at Harvard Law School in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his father's death in 1957

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes how his parents met and got married

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

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson recalls his memories of his father

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson talks about his brother, and describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes the sights, smells and sounds of growing up in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Keith Jackson describes segregation in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Keith Jackson describes his experience in school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Keith Jackson describes his interest in comic books and Estes model rockets

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his childhood perception of the space race

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson talks about his secular upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson talks about his brother, David Jackson, and his childhood interest in slot cars

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes how slot cars work

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson talks about his technical problem-solving skills as a teenager - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson talks about his technical problem-solving skills as a teenager - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Keith Jackson describes his experience attending Champion Junior High School and Bishop Hartley Catholic School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his mother's reasons for sending him to Bishop Hartley Catholic School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Bishop Hartley Catholic School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Eastmoor High School in Columbus, Ohio - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Eastmoor High School in Columbus, Ohio - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson talks about the activism of Dr. Charles O. Ross at Ohio State University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson talks about applying to colleges in the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to attend Morehouse College to major in physics

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson talks about Carl Spight's role in improving the physics department at Morehouse College - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson talks about Carl Spight's role in improving the physics department at Morehouse College - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Morehouse College - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Morehouse College - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson talks about the physics department at Morehouse College

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson talks about his foundational education in physics at Morehouse College

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson talks about black professional societies in the 1970s, and the trends regarding black scientists at the time

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson discusses science education at historically black colleges and universities - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson discusses science education at historically black colleges and universities - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson discusses the importance of a foundational education for physics and engineering students

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson discusses recent discoveries and trends in the physical sciences and technology

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes the Higgs boson and the implications of its discovery - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes the Higgs boson and the implications of its discovery - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his experience as a graduate student at Stanford University - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his experience as a graduate student at Stanford University - part two

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to work at Stanford University's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his doctoral research at Stanford University's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his doctoral research at Stanford University's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory - part two

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his doctoral research at Stanford University's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory - part three

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson talks about the dangers of working with lasers

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to join the department of electrical engineering at Howard University

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to leave Howard University and accept a position at Rocketdyne

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his work on the free electron laser at Rocketdyne

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his work on diamond thin films at Rocketdyne - part one

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his work on diamond thin films at Rocketdyne - part two

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his work on the application of Rocketdyne's water-cooler mirrors in the synchrotron radiation community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes the importance of finding the correct match in employment

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to join Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1992 - part one

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to join Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1992 - part two

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes the concept of Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his work on Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson discusses the futuristic projects at Rockwell International's Advance Programs division

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) - part one

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) - part two

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson discusses the lack of African American professional physicists at laboratories funded by the Department of Energy - part one

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson discusses the lack of African American professional physicists at laboratories funded by the Department of Energy - part two

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson talks about what it takes to become a successful physicist

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson talks about the shortage of African American scientists in management and research roles

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson talks about the African American scientists employed at Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAEOHE) - part one

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAEOHE) - part two

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to become a professor of physics at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his experience working at Florida A&M University, and the nature of the U.S. federal granting process

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes the mismanagement of research funds at Florida A&M University in the early 2000s - part one

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes the mismanagement of research funds at Florida A&M University in the early 2000s - part two

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes the state of research funding at Florida A&M University

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement in securing research funding for Florida A&M University - part one

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement in securing research funding for Florida A&M University - part two

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement in securing research funding for Florida A&M University - part three

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Florida A&M University

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to leave Florida A&M University

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes the challenges to science education at HBCUs - part one

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes the challenges to science education at HBCUs - part two

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson reflects upon his career choices

Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson talks about his family

Tape: 15 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

2$1

DATape

9$8

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Keith Jackson describes his work on the application of Rocketdyne's water-cooler mirrors in the synchrotron radiation community
Keith Jackson describes his doctoral research at Stanford University's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory - part three
Transcript
About this time, there was, I made a reintroduction to the synchrotron light source community because we had, the company [Rocketdyne; rocket engine design and production company] had a contract or thought that they were competing for a contract to build a large free-electron laser. And this was a half billion dollar contract. A lot of effort went into it, and eventually, the [U.S.] Air Force decided that they weren't gonna go for it. They weren't gonna build this huge free electron laser to take out satellites because they didn't believe--I mean take out missiles because they didn't believe it would work, which left us with a number of technologies. One was the, one was, had to do with particle accelerators and magnetic structures called undulators that go around them. And it also left us with a division that built cooled mirrors, water-cooled mirrors, okay.$$What--okay.$$So you'd have a water-cooled mirror for the laser. That way you'd be able to keep the temperature rise at the surface, and the optics wouldn't distort and the laser would keep running. Now, the trouble is, when you looked at this, well, who else needed these kinds of technologies, you know? Who, who could, who had the pocketbook to pay for this and the technical need. And I argued within the company that the synchrotron radiations community needed these kinds of optics because the advance photon source at the Argonne National Lab [Illinois] was coming on line, and also the advance light source at Berkeley [Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California] was coming on line. And when you looked--these were sources that were built for these small-cap, magnetic insertion devices called undulators. And when you put these undulators into being, they pulled out a tremendous amount of light at x-ray wavelength, at EUV [extreme ultra violet], and x-ray wavelengths. And they would, and when you had optics on there, they would build a tremendous amount, there would be a tremendous amount of thermo loading on the mirrors. And they had various schemes, technologies that they had developed that were, that relied on very exotic cooling techniques. One was a liquid gallium cooled mirrors. So gallium like mercury is a liquid, not quite at room temperature, but add a little bit above. And you have the, you can pump it as you would any liquid, and it has a tremendous thermo-conductivity. And so there was one scheme where you would use this to cool a mirror. Now, I never, the reason I smile is, I never believed that that would work. And the people at the Advanced Photon Source at the time said that something like 90 percent of their mirrors would be these gallium-based things. And this is, and plus, they did not have the technology--they would have to build the mirrors. That's how they, because that's why it was gonna be 90 percent of it so they would have a job for life. But, you know, we had a company, a little company that actually built these mirrors, these water-cooled mirrors. We had prototypes, we had some of the--Rocketdyne solved these technical problems like how you bond these mirrors together, how you actually, you had, we had different types of 'em, some of 'em which had, we called 'em pinFET. That means you stuck little pins in, and then you put it on top, and then you blow water through it. And you can change the size of this pin. You could change the concentration of the pins. So we needed something, one area cooler than the other. There were even schemes for being able to use the thermo differences to bend and focus mirrors, which was unheard of at these wavelengths.$But, so anyway, so we engineered an apparatus after we looked at the requirements, okay. So we have to have a window, something that shows us from the storage ring. And so we have to use a thin film metal window. Then the issue was, well, if you vent your chamber, you let it up to air, if there's atmospheric pressure there, it's gonna break through this window. I said, well, we're not, I'm naive and I say, well, we're not gonna let it vent. And they say, well, what we're gonna have is we're gonna have a fine. Anybody who vents their chambers, $10,000. And I said, well, maybe we'll get a thicker window. So I started to look into getting windows thick enough to take atmospheric pressure--and by the way, these foils are about a hundred times thinner than a sheet of aluminum foil. A sheet of aluminum foil is a hundred microns thick. These films, these foils were ten microns thick. Your hair is 125 microns thick. And it soon became clear, well, there's no foil on earth that's gonna be thin enough that I could put in there. So I, then I looked at supported films. And so there's a mesh there, and somehow, this guy miraculously gets aluminum foil on there that's three microns thick. And I say, well, that's still not gonna support this thing if I vent. And so the senior graduate student said--he wants to graduate. And so he's saying, well, we're gonna go back to the first suggestion of not venting the chamber and use the reputation of Dr. [Richard] Zare [Jackson's doctoral thesis advisor] and the desire that they had to get other people using this thing. And so we tried that, once. And this graduate student I was working for was from India. His name is Javed Hus--well, his ancestry is Indian. I don't think he was, I think he was born in the United States. And so we're running an experiment, and he's putting these things in, noxious gases. And I'm saying, well, Javed, you know, we don't really have the equipment to be handling this. And so we're doing that. We're getting some data, and the people come up there and inspect our apparatus. And we complete the experiment, and as I'm taking the thing down 'cause I was the only one authorized to use the crane, all right, the director of operations comes over to me. And I'll never forget, he says, well, Jackson, you're okay, but we don't want this Indian guy here anymore. And you need to go tell Zare. And in the meantime, 'cause I'm thinking, boy, you know, here I gotta go play, I gotta play rat. And in the meantime, he's getting impatient 'cause he wants to graduate. He's been there seven years, and he's not such a great experimentalist, all right. So he's starting an experiment in the lab using a laser and it's a gas laser, and he's got the gas plumb to it. And he got impatient and he didn't hook up the gas properly. So he took a big cylinder--and normally, you have a regulator that drops the pressure, he built an adapter where he was taking the straight pressure from the cylinder, with just some plastic tubing. And it's a low-pressure cylinder, but, no way. And the gas reacted with the plastic, burned away and the gas pours out into the room. The gas is poisonous. The other fifteen members of the group exit, you know, the lab, and they're out on the lawn. I came into the building from the back. I didn't see 'em. I come into the elevator. I go down into the lab. We're in the basement. And I opened the door and it was like a fist struck me from the gas that was in there. Happily, there was a graduate student, no, a post-doc that was there that was there with a gas mask or he made a gas mask. And he helped me back in the elevator, and we got up to the lawn where I was sitting up there coughing away. And after I regained my composure, I conveyed to Dr. Zare what the operations director said, and agreed with him (laughter). He's gotta go, you know. And then he got tremendous flack from the chemistry department and the university for the accident down there. And therefore, I, you know, that's where he worked out another experiment for the student to do, and I got to take over the experiment and, eventually got another assistant; engineered a system, a safety system that would shut two valves to protect the accelerator, sensor mat to go with it, utilized a new species of pump, turbo-molecular pump, to evacuate the chamber, all first for there, initiated collaborations with another scientist, David Shirley, director of Lawrence Berkeley [National] Laboratory [Berkeley, California], to get some experiments going, why this stuff was being built. And then got it, and did the experiment, did it on two gases, well, I did it on three gases, published the thesis on two, CO [carbon monoxide] and N2 [nitrogen] and was, you know, able to demonstrate for one of the first measurements, first that the alignment actually exist, what its value was, how to--the theory for coupling together the angular momentum so that it agrees with the experimental results and published that. That was my thesis. And then took a job in, at Hewett Packard [HP] in the semi-conductor device laboratory.

Demetrius Venable

Physicist and physics professor Demetrius D. Venable was born on October 11, 1947 in Powhatan, Virginia to Josephine Viola Bell Venable and James Bernard Venable. He attended Pocahontas High School where Venable’s father, who was his high school math teacher, helped spark Venable’s interest in math and science. He received his B.S. degree in physics from Virginia State College in 1970. Continuing with his studies, he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from American University in 1972 and 1974, respectively.

Upon completion of his Ph.D. program, Venable was hired by IBM-East Fishkill where he studied semi-conductor measurement technology as a senior associate engineer. After two years with the company, Venable returned to academia at Saint Paul’s College as an assistant professor of physics and director of the Cooperative Physics Program. In 1978, he joined the faculty of Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) as an assistant professor of physics. One of Venable’s major accomplishments at Hampton was his instrumental role in founding the doctorate program in physics. He held numerous positions at Hampton, ultimately becoming executive vice president and provost in 1994. When he moved to Howard University in 1995, he was named the chairman of the department of physics and astronomy, a post that he held until 2007. During his tenure at Howard University, Venable helped create the interdisciplinary doctorate program in atmospheric sciences. He also was instrumental in establishing atmospheric physics research at the Howard University Beltsville Research Campus and the Raman Lidar Program. With a specialty in optical physics, Venable has studied water vapor mixing ratios and atmospheric dynamics to further his group’s goal of weather and climate predictability.

Throughout his career, Venable has received numerous recognitions including the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s Distinguished Public Service Medal and the White House Initiative Science and Technology Advisory Committee’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Science and Technology. Venable served as chairman of the American Institute of Physics’ Advisory Committee on Education from 1998 to 2001 and he is a charter fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists. He has served on various boards and committees at the state and national levels including on the U. S. Department of Energy's Fusion Energy Advisory Committee, The American Association of Physics Teachers, The Virginia Academy of Science, The Southeastern Universities Research Association, The Virginia Aerospace Business Roundtable and The National Physical Sciences Consortium. Venable is married Geri Turner. They have raised two children, Juanita and Jessica.

Demetrius Venable was interviewed by on June 14, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.133

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/14/2012

Last Name

Venable

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D

Schools

Virginia State University

American University

Columbia University

First Name

Demetrius

Birth City, State, Country

Powhatan

HM ID

VEN01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Knowledge Is A Value In Itself, It Need Serve No Other Purpose In The World.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/11/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Physicist and physics professor Demetrius Venable (1947 - ) was instrumental in the founding of the doctorate program in physics at Hampton University. He was also influential in establishing the atmospheric physics research at the Howard University Beltsville Research Campus and the Raman Lidar Program.

Employment

IBM

Saint Paul's College

Hampton University

Howard University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:12496,170:13900,187:22722,282:35262,426:35642,432:35946,437:37010,454:41418,610:46125,686:47385,700:50010,737:53265,831:55365,863:55785,868:61174,915:63465,959:64334,973:65361,990:67415,1028:68442,1044:68995,1052:76907,1276:77618,1286:78013,1293:78408,1299:79119,1316:79514,1322:81884,1369:82358,1376:88367,1441:88922,1447:91499,1473:91997,1481:96894,1593:98637,1630:99052,1636:101044,1685:105770,1712:106238,1719:107174,1740:107486,1745:107954,1752:108266,1757:111152,1822:111620,1829:112088,1837:117840,1891$0,0:18412,324:21230,335:21466,346:22528,407:28324,475:29825,513:31405,546:31721,557:32037,562:37056,662:48391,855:49321,867:50158,877:51728,894:54780,960:56524,983:61883,1099:64925,1145:67967,1176:75972,1280:83670,1359:84118,1364:86806,1404:90299,1431:91168,1444:91484,1449:92037,1457:95262,1487:101164,1545:102088,1560:104972,1593:106304,1623:106896,1632:107932,1658:108524,1668:112298,1741:116442,1845:120840,1859:121428,1867:122184,1879:123696,1900:124368,1909:125292,1921:126132,1931:127980,1975:128568,1995:131340,2055:131928,2063:140550,2191:143658,2248:144176,2256:144842,2270:145434,2280:146692,2304:148320,2341:148616,2346:148986,2352:149504,2360:153736,2379:154447,2390:155474,2408:156422,2453:159231,2468:168160,2582:172556,2636:173074,2645:175056,2665:175552,2675:176730,2703:177164,2712:178466,2749:178962,2758:179210,2763:180698,2808:180946,2820:182682,2869:185848,2889:186508,2901:186838,2907:187102,2912:187432,2918:187696,2923:188158,2932:188818,2950:190138,2979:190996,2996:194110,3008:195012,3023:199932,3139:205320,3192:205796,3200:206544,3217:207428,3231:208108,3244:208788,3256:209808,3286:210692,3300:215090,3357:218518,3396:223945,3446:229695,3548:231070,3601:232195,3615:253114,3702:253751,3710:259598,3788:260588,3800:263288,3810:263750,3818:264608,3833:264872,3838:265136,3843:268380,3900:268660,3905:269360,3917:274675,3931:278585,3991:279435,4000:280200,4014:285555,4137:286830,4157:287510,4166:288530,4180:295416,4212:306562,4301:309004,4342:309670,4353:309966,4358:310484,4368:312334,4397:316644,4443:317256,4454:317664,4461:321676,4555:322220,4564:322832,4574:323444,4586:323920,4594:330778,4669:333786,4719:335102,4747:336230,4773:339220,4796:339500,4801:341600,4843:341950,4849:343770,4888:344610,4902:345870,4934:347910,4941
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Demetrius Venable's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Demetrius Venable lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Demetrius Venable describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Demetrius Venable describes his family's hometown in Powhatan, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Demetrius Venable talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Demetrius Venable describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Demetrius Venable talks about his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Demetrius Venable talks about his father's service in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Demetrius Venable talks about his parents and his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Demetrius Venable describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Demetrius Venable describes his childhood home

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

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Demetrius Venable talks about his family's involvement in church

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Demetrius Venable describes his childhood interest in math and science

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Demetrius Venable describes his experience in school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Demetrius Venable talks about his growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Demetrius Venable describes the integration of schools in Powhatan, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Demetrius Venable talks about his experience at St. Frances de Sales Girls School and St. Emma Military Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Demetrius Venable describes his experiences at Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Demetrius Venable talks about his decision to major in physics at Virginia State University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Demetrius Venable describes his activities at Virginia State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Demetrius Venable talks about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Demetrius Venable describes his employment opportunities as a physics major

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Demetrius Venable describes his choice of American University for graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Demetrius Venable talks about his African American mentors in physics

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Demetrius Venable describes his Ph.D. dissertation research at American University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Demetrius Venable describes how he met his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Demetrius Venable discusses African Americans in physics

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Demetrius Venable describes his experience at IBM and his decision to transition into teaching

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Demetrius Venable describes his experience at St. Paul's College in Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Demetrius Venable describes his research at Brooks Air Force Base and NASA Langley Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Demetrius Venable describes his experience at Hampton University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Demetrius Venable describes his efforts to establish a Ph.D. program in physics at Hampton University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Demetrius Venable describes his research at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Demetrius Venable talks about the success of minority students in Howard University's atmospheric sciences program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Demetrius Venable discusses the scientific evidence for global warming

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Demetrius Venable talks about the Ph.D. program in physics at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Demetrius Venable describes his research contributions in optical physics

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Demetrius Venable describes his goals for future research

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Demetrius Venable reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Demetrius Venable describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Demetrius Venable describes his family and his personal life

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Demetrius Venable describes what it takes to become a physicist

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Demetrius Venable describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Demetrius Venable talks about his African American mentors in physics
Demetrius Venable describes his research at Howard University
Transcript
Tell us, first of all, before we go into American University, who is your mentor at Howard? Who is the--$$Arthur Thorpe. And Arthur Thorpe is still on the faculty here today, okay. So this is 1966, I mean 1970, right. My, Dr. [James] Davenport, who I spoke about earlier, was a graduate of Howard [Howard University in Washington, District of Columbia], and he and Dr. Thorpe were colleagues here. So Dr. Thorpe actually would come down to Virginia State [Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia] and served as my senior thesis advisor when I was at Virginia State. So he helped out a lot with developing and strengthening the program down there. You may have heard of John Hunter. John Hunter was one of, probably the third African American to get a Ph.D. in physics. And John Hunter established the program in physics at Virginia State. And that program went on to produce a lot of well-known people who became physicists later on. Dr. Branson was a graduate of that program. And Dr. Branson was here as chairman of the physics department at Howard.$$That's Herman Branson.$$Herman Branson, uh-huh, was a student of John Hunter's.$$He was president of Central State [Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio].$$President of Central State, right. I sometimes tell a story about, you know, those connections there. You go from John Hunter to Herman Branson to Arthur Thorpe and then to me, you know, so I can draw lines between us, right. And I tell my students that, you know, you need to put your name on there and put a line there and go to work at a, at a nice institution and, you know, send some folks along as well, make the line longer. But in any case, Arthur Thorpe was my mentor here at Howard. And he's been a real strong supporter of my entire career. He was instrumental in my coming back to work here, in fact. So, yeah, quite a good supporter.$Okay, so, now, so were you actually, were you seeking another spot or how did the Howard [University in Washington, District of Columbia] position--$$Well, you know, as I said, you know, I really didn't wanna be continuing to go up in administration. So Arthur Thorpe, again, came to me and said, look, you know, we need a chairman. This is an opportunity. Would you apply for it? And I said, yes, I'll apply for it, you know, as long as it means I can get back to doing research because I really couldn't do research and be vice president. It's just, just impossible to do that. So I said, yes, as long as I can get back to doing research, it's something that I would consider. So I put an application in, and they made me an offer.$$Okay, so you came over to Howard [University] in '95 [1995]?$$Ninety five [1995].$$Okay, all right.$$So I was at Hampton for seventeen years, and I was chairman and administrator there, and then I was, been at Howard, this is my seventeenth year at Howard.$$Okay, now, what have been--what have the years at Howard been like? Have you engaged basically in research?$$Yeah, well, I served as department chairman for, for twelve years here. Being a chairman is very different from being a vice president. I wanna say that first of all. That's like being a, just a regular part of the faculty, right. So, I spent a good fraction of my time developing research programs. My, my personal research has been focused around the, the laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland. Dr. Walter Lowe had done a lot, he spent a lot of time at (unclear) developing the facility out there--this is a facility that the university owned since the early '90s [1990s], I mean the early '70s [1970s]. And it was not a lot going on out there. Walter went out there and sort of renovated everything and got the lab back up and running for a project that he was doing in accelerator physics, synchrotron radiation with the Argonne Lab. So he spent a lot of time and effort and money and got the place back up and running. When Walter's project completed, he was building an accelerator that was gonna be moved to Chicago [Illinois]. So when it would move to Chicago, his activities at Beltsville were essentially completed. We started phasing in at about the time he was phasing out with the understanding of developing some laser physics activities. So we started by developing what's called a LIDAR [Light Detection and Ranging] facility. And that was primarily an effort on my part and Dr. Thorpe's part.$$Now, what was that? What was LIDAR--$$LIDAR is a technique where you use laser and you shine the laser into the atmosphere, and you study the light that is backscattered from the atmosphere, you know the laser light interact with particles and the molecules in the air. And some of the lights backscattered so you can detect it with a telescope. And you analyze the light that comes back into the telescope, and by analyzing the light that you collect, you are able to say what is in the atmosphere, and we were focusing on water vapor, although you can measure a lot of things. We were focusing on how much water vapor is in the atmosphere for us and how rapidly that water vapor concentration changed as a function of time and how that water vapor concentration changed as a function of altitude. So that's what we're using LIDAR for. So it had to do with efforts to do atmospheric studies. So I played a major role in developing--.$$And how do you spell the, that again--$$L-I-D-A-R. It's an acronym. It stands for light detection and ranging.$$Okay, light detection and ranging. Okay. So you've been, so this was established out at Beltsville.$$Um-hum, I started that in maybe '97 [1997], and, you know, maybe phasing over time. And as, in addition to that, the physics department was very much involved, the physics department here at Howard was very much involved in developing an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in atmospheric science. So physics, chemistry and mechanical engineering were all involved in developing this interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in atmospheric science. So my work was one of the research components of that interdisciplinary job. We hired Dr. Alvert--Everett, I'm sorry, I'm getting a little tired, Everett Joseph here in physics, and Dr. Gregory Jenkins here in physics to work with that effort, Dr. Vernon Morris in chemistry and I think Dr. Sonya Smith, all of these were people involved in developing that effort. She was in mechanical engineering. So, so my part was a research component within that overall picture, and I was developing that at Beltsville. Beltsville, since then, from an atmospheric physics standpoint, has grown extensively. We now have a full array of measurement capabilities out there with respect to atmospheric measurements. And we're using this data to go into models for, primarily for climatology, looking at climate change.

Godfrey Gumbs

Research physicist and physics professor Godfrey Gumbs was born on September 7, 1948 in Georgetown, Guyana to Mary Teresa Gumbs, a homemaker and Charles Alexander Gumbs, a postal worker. After graduating from Queen’s College of Guyana, he received a Guyana scholarship to attend Trinity College, Cambridge University where he earned his B.A. degree in applied mathematics in 1971. From 1971 to 1972, he sat Part III of the Mathematics Tripos which is a natural first step for the doctoral degree at Cambridge. Gumbs went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in theoretical condensed matter physics from the University of Toronto in 1973 and 1978, respectively.

From 1978 to 1982, Gumbs served as a Research Associate at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa. Then, from 1982 to 1989, he worked as a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada Fellow, a Canada University Research Fellow at Dalhousie University and the University of Lethbridge. As an NSERC Fellow, Gumbs held the position of Assistant Professor of physics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and as Professor of Physics at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. In 1992, he was hired by Hunter College, City University of New York and was duly appointed the Chianta-Stoll Chair and as a University Distinguished Professor. Gumbs received the Eugene Lang Student-Faculty Research Fellowship at Hunter College in 1993 and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Research from Hunter in 2003. He has served as a vising professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a J. William Fulbright Senior Scholar and a visiting fellow at his alma mater, Trinity College, Cambridge University. His research interests in theoretical condensed matter physics include: nanoscale semiconductor structures and electronic properties of mesoscopic systems. He has over 300 publications in leading scientific journals and co-wrote the textbook Properties of Interacting Low-Dimensional System, in 2011.

Gumbs is a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society (APS). He was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, a United States Air Force Faculty Fellow and a Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics Scholar (KITP) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Gumbs is a member of the Sigma-Xi Honorary Scientific Research Society. In 2005, he received APS’ Edward A. Bouchet Award for his significant contributions to physics and his mentoring of students. Gumbs and his wife, Jean have three adult sons.

Godfrey Gumbs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.106

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/17/2012

Last Name

Gumbs

Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of Toronto

Queen's College of Guyana

University of Cambridge, Trinity College

Rumveldt Anglican School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Godfrey

Birth City, State, Country

Georgetown

HM ID

GUM01

Favorite Season

Christmas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Panama

Favorite Quote

That's all it takes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/7/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Guyana

Favorite Food

Curry

Short Description

Research physicist and physics professor Godfrey Gumbs (1948 - ) is a distinguished professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York and an expert in the field of nanophysics.

Employment

CUNY- Hunter College

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

University of Lethbridge, Canada

Dalhousie University

National Research Council (NRC)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1254,17:1788,27:11843,104:18775,192:36180,290:36990,301:41185,360:42181,374:42928,403:56646,512:57576,523:66790,600:67240,606:68140,617:89621,887:90331,898:97986,995:102121,1033:103363,1047:105157,1080:108624,1101:109086,1109:109350,1114:116104,1219:116464,1225:122296,1330:133754,1430:137200,1444:139048,1488:139378,1494:139972,1504:140698,1521:141424,1535:141952,1544:150100,1625:150444,1630:156136,1682:158440,1739:160424,1777:165635,1847:167858,1859:171580,1888:172872,1907:178952,2004:179560,2013:187680,2101:188310,2110:189210,2122:189660,2129:192020,2138:196637,2218:197690,2237:199634,2277:202388,2315:203603,2334:208870,2356$0,0:3120,11:3876,32:7041,59:9018,74:10550,82:12200,103:15974,132:18200,141:22589,232:23205,241:23744,249:28587,316:30433,349:30717,354:31001,359:32066,379:32492,387:32918,395:34835,430:35474,441:44111,527:44775,532:47431,575:49340,604:54964,635:55276,640:55588,645:55900,651:56212,656:62859,747:63151,752:66290,801:66582,806:67020,814:68918,845:70597,870:75310,898:77310,934:80350,981:80670,986:80990,991:81550,1000:82670,1020:83150,1028:97776,1219:102936,1246:103332,1251:104223,1305:110416,1338:110764,1343:112243,1361:113287,1374:113635,1379:114505,1391:116767,1437:117376,1442:128213,1596:128797,1605:129308,1614:129600,1619:130257,1629:134199,1709:138423,1714:138990,1722:140124,1737:141015,1755:148595,1843:150128,1864:151953,1898:152245,1903:153559,1924:154070,1932:154362,1937:163201,2161:182976,2368:183366,2374:183990,2384:185628,2407:189528,2478:191244,2505:198392,2574:198736,2579:199080,2584:199682,2593:201746,2721:211838,2829:219700,2863:220420,2875:221212,2892:224164,2918:226828,2969:232348,3038:235310,3055:235690,3060:236450,3071:244432,3173:244822,3179:251270,3242
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Godfrey Gumbs' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Godfrey Gumbs lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about trade in Georgetown, Guiana

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his mother's upbringing in Georgetown, Guiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Godfrey Gumbs describes how his parents met and their personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his neighborhood in Georgetown, Guiana and the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his days at St. Thomas Moore Roman Catholic School

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his childhood illnesses

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about Wrungfield Anglican School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his childhood interests and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about the social and political climate of Guiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his family's educational background

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his graduation from Queen's College

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Godfrey Gumbs describes the influence of religion on his family

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his experience going to London for the first time

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Godfrey Gumbs describes the student body of Cambridge University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about the faculty at Cambridge University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about solid state physics and his decision to attend the University of Toronto

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Godfrey Gumbs describes how he met his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about the University of Toronto

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his doctoral research

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his postdoctoral research

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his work at the University of Lethbridge

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his work during his sabbatical

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about the use of carbon and carbon nanotubes

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his move to Hunter College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Godfrey Gumbs discusses the future of nanotechnology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Godfrey Gumbs describes the discovery of graphene

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about honors he has received

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Godfrey Gumbs describes Trinity College and his work with single electron transfer

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his research on graphene

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Godfrey Gumbs describes the challenges of attracting more minority students to physics

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about the future of nanotechnology

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his experience in Toronto as a minority STEM student

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Godfrey Gumbs discusses New York's efforts to attract minority students to physics

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Godfrey Gumbs reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Godfrey Gumbs describes his efforts to help students in Guiana

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Godfrey Gumbs talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Godfrey Gumbs describes his doctoral research
Godfrey Gumbs describes the challenges of attracting more minority students to physics
Transcript
All right, well, tell us. What was your dissertation title and what was it about in the simplest terms that you can describe it in?$$Okay, so, I was doing a couple of problems for my, for my dissertation but then decided to write just one of them. One was on the phase transitions in, in restricted systems, in low dimensional systems in films. And a phase transition is something as follows, namely that, if you have a piece of ice and you, you place it out in the, in the sun, then it melts. So there is a transition from solid, the ice phase, to a liquid phase or if you boil water, there's a phase transition from the liquid phase to the gaseous phase which is steam. And this is a very complicated problem. I mean phase transitions occur, for example, if you, if you have a magnet, and you, you heat, you warm the magnet up, then it could lose its magnetization. So the, the transition from being magnetized to not being magnetized, that's known as a phase transition. And so I was considering phase transitions and the behaviors of, what plays a role? The thing is what plays a role in causing this transition. And so I was, I did, I did a couple of problems on this, but my thesis advisor wanted me to write something up for the dissertation, so I can defend it (laughter), to become a doctor. And so I wrote up something on, on the second problem which is entitled, 'Surface Spin Wave Modes.' So if you have a surface, then it's quite, the behavior of the material is quite different from if you look inside of the material itself. So that's one. That's the operative word, "surface". A spin wave is a wave which involves a spin, and the spin in an intrinsic property. For example, you know that the electron has a charge, you know. There's a positive charge or a negative charge. The electron has a negative charge, but also it has something which is due to an internal degree of freedom known as its spin, like a spinning top. And this spin is what couples the electron to a magnetic field. For example, if you do an MRI, when there's only, the only way you could get an image is because you have a material which couples to this external magnetic field. And the material must have this internal degree of freedom known as the spin. So I did my work on this, on this extra degree of freedom and how it behaves in, on a film.$Okay, now, what are some of the challenges in bringing new students along today?$$Money. It's usually funding, funding. So, it is expected that if you are in physics, and you take a graduate student, then you should help, help at least to support that student. The only way you can support that student is if you have external funding or funding from some source. And so you have to write a proposal, get it reviewed, get the funding to support a student. And it is vital, I think, as you are, as you're getting older, to have students who you can mentor and with their energies be able to complete some of the projects which you have some idea, some vision how to do it, but, you know, you need man power. So this is a challenge which, not only faces me, but as a theorist, an experimentalist, even more so because then they have to find funding for equipment or supplies and they must have multiple hands, you know, doing the research. So it's a struggle, it's a struggle from that point of view. But when the work is done, and the results are, and the results are out, then it's very rewarding because then, you know, you get to share your knowledge. And you're able to contribute and, and participate in a very dynamic field.$$Is it more difficult to attract funding for theoretical research than for--$$Well, you need a lot more funding for doing experimental work because you need equipment, and you need supplies and you need students to help you out. And theory, if you, if you are out of funding, then you could still make do for a while until you get funding. But funding is becoming more and more difficult because there's less and less funding available. So you have to spend a lot of time forming alliances with people who are in research labs, who know about funding or just, you just have to keep looking. So it's, it's difficult, it's difficult now, but it was, it was also difficult when I got started many years ago.$$Okay, is part of the difficulty educating a funding source as to what you're actually doing?$$Say it again. I'm sorry.$$Is part of the difficulty educating the funding sources of what--$$Identifying the funding sources?$$I mean, well, yeah, well, not just identifying, but educating them in terms of what you're actually gonna do with the money?$$Oh, (laughter), yes. So you have to write a proposal, telling how you would spend the money and telling them what problems you will do. So the problems must be of interest to the referees or to the funding agency. So you must write a good proposal which would tell them how your work would be able to contribute in the, to the field. So in some way, you're educating them or trying to.$$Right, that's what I would guess that--$$Yeah, yeah.$$--make some of the projects not be as easily understood in physics as they would be in some other field.$$Well, they are supposed to send them out to experts in the field. So you're not really working alone in the field. You have all the competitors or you have colleagues or so, and they--the proposal must be such that it is interesting for funding. So you must write it in a way which they understand and appreciate, and the topic must be worthwhile funding because, you know, it's money, yeah.

Paul Gueye

Physics professor and physicist Paul Guèye was born on July 8, 1966 in Dakar, Senegal to Jupiter Guèye and Elisabeth Soumah. He earned his B.S and M.S. degrees in physics and chemistry from the University Cheikh Anta Diop in 1987 and 1990, respectively. Guèye became the first Senegalese to earn his doctorate degree in nuclear/high energy physics; receiving his Ph.D. degree from the University of Clermont-Ferrand in 1994.

After completing his education, Guèye joined the physics department at Hampton University as a postdoctoral fellow and conducted research at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. In 2001, he was appointed a research professor at Hampton University and head of the brachytherapy research and development group of Hampton’s medical physics graduate program. In 2002, Guèye joined the Hampton University School of Science Recruitment Committee. His research interests include experimental nuclear physics, accelerator physics, medical physics, space science and Geant4 Simulation. Guèye worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to improve knowledge of radiation’s interaction with matter and is the Geant4 coordinator for the NASA space radiation program. He has also patented an “Apparatus and Method for Brachytherapy Radiation Distribution Mapping.” Guèye has worked extensively with the National Society of Black Physicists including serving as the co-chair of the medical physics section since 2004, chair of pre-college programs committee since 2005, co-chair of the nuclear and particle physics section since 2006 and president of the National Society of Black Physicists since 2011.

In addition to his research, Guèye co-supervised the first African American female Ph.D. students in nuclear physics and medical physics at Hampton University. He is very active in improving minority science education for both students and professionals. Guèye is the chair of the African Affairs sub-committee of the American Association for Physicists in Medicine. He coordinated the American Association for Physics Teachers’ “Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics” Workshop in 2011 and in 2008, and he organized the Fifty Years of Women in Medical Physics Symposium. Guèye co-led an international collaboration to develop a large research facility for Africa and is a member of the US Materials Research Society Sub-Committee in Africa. Guèye is fluent in French, Spanish and Italian. He lives with his wife Mornetka in Hampton, Virginia.

Paul Guèye was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 6, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.022

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/6/2012

Last Name

Gueye

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L.J.

Schools

Univerisity of Cheikh Anta Diop

University of Clermont-Ferrand

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Paul

Birth City, State, Country

Dakar

HM ID

GUE01

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

Favorite Vacation Destination

Senegal, West Africa

Favorite Quote

Love others as you love yourself. - Matthew 22:29

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

7/8/1966

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hampton

Country

Senegal

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Physics professor and physicist Paul Gueye (1966 - ) has served as a research professor at Hampton University since 2001 and president of the National Society of Black Physicists since 2011.

Employment

Hampton University

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (CEBAF)

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul Gueye's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paul Gueye lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paul Gueye describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paul Gueye talks about his non-traditional family life in Senegal

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paul Gueye talks about the importance of education in his family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paul Gueye describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paul Gueye talks about his cultural upbringing in Senegal

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paul Gueye talks about his family's accomplishments and religious beliefs, and the general religious harmony in Senegal

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paul Gueye talks about his father's education in France, and his parents' employment as school principals

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paul Gueye talks about how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paul Gueye talks about his likeness to his parents, and lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paul Gueye talks about being raised by his paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paul Gueye talks about Senegal being a popular country in sub-Saharan Africa

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paul Gueye describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paul Gueye describes his childhood neighborhood, everyday activities, and family gatherings in Dakar, Senegal

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Paul Gueye describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Dakar, Senegal - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Paul Gueye describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Dakar, Senegal - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Paul Gueye describes his interest in soccer (football) and his long-time involvement with the Vietnamese martial art, Viet Vo Dao

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Paul Gueye talks about Goree Island and the Pan African Festival of the Arts in Dakar, Senegal

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paul Gueye describes his experience in school in Dakar, Senegal

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paul Gueye talks about his and his twin brother's mischievousness

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paul Gueye talks about his academic performance and the teachers who influenced him in school - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paul Gueye talks about his academic performance and the teachers who influenced him in school - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paul Gueye talks about his early interest in science and his curiosity as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paul Gueye describes the French system of high school education, and his experience with this system in Dakar, Senegal

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paul Gueye describes his decision to study physics and chemistry in college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paul Gueye describes the social differences in the approach to education in the U.S. and in Senegal

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paul Gueye talks about his mentors in science, and how he was able to pursue his Ph.D. degree in physics in France

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paul Gueye talks about learning about the history of Senegal and the accomplishments of African icons during his school education

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paul Gueye shares a story from Senegal, about achieving success against all odds

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paul Gueye describes his work ethic and his interest in teaching

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paul Gueye talks about the lack of scientific infrastructure at African universities

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paul Gueye describes his experience at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal, and talks about his friend, Issa Cisse

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paul Gueye describes his interest in music, and talks about popular Senegalese musicians

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paul Gueye talks about his brother, Rene Gueye's employment in the business sector in Senegal

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paul Gueye describes his experience as a doctoral student in France

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paul Gueye describes his experience in France

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paul Gueye talks about his social personality and his nickname as "Monsieur Question" in school in Senegal

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paul Gueye describes his introduction to nuclear physics in France

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paul Gueye describes his doctoral dissertation research on dispersive effects and Coulomb effects in nuclear physics

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paul Gueye describes his decision to pursue his post-doctoral research in HistoryMaker Oliver Keith Baker's laboratory at Hampton University

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Paul Gueye describes his early impressions of the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Paul Gueye shares his perceptions of social and cultural diversity in the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Paul Gueye describes the fundamental concept of particle scattering experiments in nuclear physics - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Paul Gueye describes the fundamental concept of particle scattering experiments in nuclear physics - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Paul Gueye describes his joint affiliation with Hampton University and the Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Paul Gueye talks about Hampton University's Ph.D. program in physics

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Paul Gueye describes the significance of his doctoral dissertation work on the dispersive effects and Coulomb effects in nuclear physics

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Paul Gueye talks about his current experiments at Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Paul Gueye talks about the interaction between Thomas Jefferson National Lab and Hampton University, and lists graduates of HU's Ph.D. program in physics

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Paul Gueye describes the establishment and application of the Center for Advanced Medical Instrumentation (CAMI) at Hampton University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Paul Gueye describes his involvement with the National Society of Black Physicists in exposing African American students to medical physics

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Paul Gueye describes his efforts to establish a particle accelerator facility at Hampton University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Paul Gueye describes his efforts to promote minorities to pursue studies in physics and other STEM fields

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Paul Gueye reflects upon his career goals for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Paul Gueye reflects upon his life and his legacy

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

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Paul Gueye talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Paul Gueye talks about how he would like to be remembered

Clifford Johnson

Physicist and physics professor Clifford Johnson was born in 1968 in London, England. Growing up, Johnson spent ten years on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, where his father worked as a telephone engineer. As a child, Johnson began to teach himself electronics by secretly reading his father's books. In lieu of watching television, Johnson read electronics books and magazines, fixed appliances, and designed devices and machines such as radios and remote-controlled submarines. He also enjoyed gardening and making intricate patterned designs using needlework techniques such as crochet and macramé. Due to his interest in how things worked, Johnson decided at an early age he wanted to become a scientist. He went on to receive his B.S. degree in physics from the Imperial College at London University in 1989 and his Ph.D. degree in physics from Southampton University in 1992.

After graduating, Johnson began working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and in 1994, he moved to Princeton University as an instructor and post doctoral fellow. The following year, he became a postdoctoral fellow at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California. Johnson taught as an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky between 1997 and 1999 before joining the faculty at the University of Durham, England. Since 2003, Johnson has been a professor at the University of Southern California’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. In 2004, Johnson founded the African Summer Theory Institute, which held its inaugural workshop meeting in Cape Town, South Africa.

Johnson received the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Career Award in 1997, and in 2005, he was awarded the Institute of Physics’ Maxwell Medal and Prize for his work on string theory and quantum gravity. He has also been listed in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education as the most highly cited black professor of mathematics or a related field at an American university or college. In addition to his research and teaching, Johnson communicates and explains science to the general public. He blogs, has made short films on science, written articles for magazines, has co-authored a play, authored a book, and is currently writing and drawing a graphic novel featuring science. He appears on the History Channel’s The Universe series and other series on channels such as Discovery, Science, National Geographic, Spike, and Comedy Central. He has been a science consultant for film, TV, radio, and theater.

Johnson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 26, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.034

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2011

Last Name

Johnson

Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

V

Organizations
Schools

Imperial College, University of London

University of Southampton

St. Augustine Primary School

Montserrat Secondary School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Clifford

Birth City, State, Country

London

HM ID

JOH37

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

N/A

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

That's a sword that cuts both ways.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/5/1968

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

England

Favorite Food

Italian Food, Caribbean Food

Short Description

Physics professor and physicist Clifford Johnson (1968 - ) was identified as the most cited black mathematician in 2005. His research at the University of Southern California has focused on D-branes, quantum gravity, gauge theory, and M-theory.

Employment

Institute for Advanced Study

Kavli Institute

University of Kentucky

University of Durham, England

University of Southern California

University of California, Santa Barbara

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue, Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:9268,109:9772,116:10780,131:11368,140:11704,149:12040,154:18004,249:23460,264:23880,271:24440,280:25980,302:27520,334:28080,344:28990,370:29550,379:30040,388:30390,394:30880,401:31160,406:37129,426:38328,438:38873,444:41956,461:42816,474:43332,482:44020,520:44708,529:45052,534:47632,578:47976,583:48406,589:52180,618:52670,627:53090,634:53510,641:55050,673:56450,702:56940,710:59110,767:59460,773:59880,781:60300,790:60650,797:63380,850:64220,864:64710,874:65130,881:70068,906:70403,912:70671,917:71006,923:71810,939:72279,948:72748,957:73016,962:73619,974:73954,980:74490,989:75026,999:76433,1025:81324,1158:81659,1165:82463,1179:88803,1203:89988,1221:90304,1226:90620,1231:91331,1240:94333,1311:95518,1329:97256,1355:97730,1362:99152,1369:103290,1382:103752,1391:104984,1412:105523,1423:107371,1446:108218,1460:108526,1465:109065,1474:109527,1481:110066,1490:111221,1513:111991,1527:116754,1575:117194,1583:117986,1593:118954,1609:120274,1636:123970,1715:124322,1720:124674,1725:125906,1752:131186,1874:132154,1886:141002,1931:141254,1936:141947,1955:142325,1962:145349,2018:145853,2027:146294,2041:147113,2058:147365,2063:148562,2095:148814,2100:149444,2117:150389,2142:151271,2159:152468,2211:152720,2216:154169,2244:154610,2252:155240,2264:155618,2272:156122,2285:157319,2325:164344,2379:164968,2389:165826,2401:166918,2418:168166,2439:169414,2463:175654,2574:176122,2582:176668,2590:176980,2595:183510,2618:184905,2634:185370,2640:186114,2650:193870,2781:194195,2787:195560,2818:195820,2825:196535,2840:196860,2846:197510,2858:198810,2886:199135,2892:200825,2925:201410,2935:207812,3031:208406,3047:210320,3084:210584,3089:210980,3096:211574,3109:211838,3114:213290,3144:214016,3154:214412,3161:215270,3176:216062,3189:224020,3270:224790,3282:225490,3294:225910,3301:227310,3321:232000,3405:232630,3416:232910,3421:233960,3441:239430,3476:240570,3494:240810,3499:241590,3515:242130,3525:243930,3565:244650,3583:245190,3615:245430,3620:247950,3697:248730,3718:249270,3731:249570,3738:252810,3815:253830,3833:254190,3840:254430,3845:254970,3859:255870,3885:256110,3890:256650,3914:257070,3922:257370,3928:258150,3944:258390,3949:258630,3954:258870,3959:259350,3968:259770,3976:266634,4008:275210,4224:275925,4242:276445,4255:277095,4268:277810,4284:283828,4350:284716,4363:285382,4376:285900,4384:287084,4409:289674,4477:290118,4489:291228,4518:291820,4528:297067,4552:297433,4559:297982,4570:298470,4579:299263,4597:299934,4611:300361,4620:300666,4626:307385,4714:307775,4722:308100,4728:309465,4759:310180,4768:310505,4775:310765,4780:311870,4822:315586,4838:316130,4848:316402,4853:317014,4864:319464,4880:319736,4885:321096,4913:322456,4938:323204,4951:323680,4960:324768,4982:325176,4990:327310,5003$0,0:7800,87:9396,115:10236,138:24460,318:27448,352:31847,428:34088,465:34420,470:35416,490:35997,499:36412,505:36910,512:42736,538:43920,548:44512,559:44808,564:45252,571:45770,580:46732,592:47472,607:47842,613:49174,641:53088,659:53709,674:55710,718:56331,731:58401,772:65508,908:66198,922:66474,927:66819,933:67440,947:73200,963:75936,995:78184,1002:78932,1015:79272,1022:79748,1034:80360,1044:82944,1109:84032,1130:84576,1139:87772,1196:89200,1237:89812,1250:90424,1259:90968,1269:91240,1274:95899,1290:96277,1298:96592,1305:96844,1310:98247,1329:98612,1335:99926,1371:100364,1379:104214,1392:105208,1413:107632,1432:111220,1468:111654,1477:112088,1486:116986,1607:117358,1615:117792,1626:118350,1635:118598,1640:118970,1648:119404,1657:119652,1662:119962,1668:121946,1717:127240,1755:127590,1761:128150,1771:129060,1796:133960,1893:134660,1905:135360,1918:135780,1926:137390,1967:138860,2000:144655,2016:145054,2024:145339,2030:145624,2036:146023,2044:146878,2067:147220,2075:147619,2083:148531,2104:148873,2112:149557,2136:149785,2141:150013,2146:150640,2161:151039,2169:151267,2174:151666,2184:151894,2189:152179,2196:152635,2206:152977,2218:153205,2223:153433,2228:153889,2238:154402,2249:154801,2257:155143,2265:155542,2274:159519,2290:159787,2295:160055,2300:161797,2335:162132,2341:162534,2348:163472,2370:164008,2381:166924,2422:167988,2438:169356,2466:172326,2494:172610,2499:173107,2507:173391,2512:174598,2532:175095,2547:175947,2558:176231,2566:176586,2572:179497,2605:179852,2611:181414,2656:183544,2709:183828,2714:187094,2778:187520,2785:192356,2809:192704,2816:195314,2880:197709,2891:197921,2896:198239,2903:198822,2917:199246,2926:199776,2944:200412,2963:202638,3011:202903,3017:203433,3028:204334,3060:205129,3074:205659,3087:206030,3096:206613,3109:211510,3160:211900,3167:212615,3180:213330,3194:213980,3209:214500,3222:217490,3273:217750,3278:218140,3286:219310,3323:220025,3345:220350,3351:221455,3374:225776,3410:228972,3449:229652,3464:230128,3473:230672,3483:231284,3497:233868,3569:234208,3575:237750,3582:238205,3590:238920,3601:239310,3608:239960,3624:240740,3637:241715,3653:241975,3658:242300,3664:242950,3676:243600,3688:244640,3699:245550,3717:249840,3803:250880,3820:254550,3831:256725,3874:257625,3894:259275,3933:260175,3946:261225,3965:261600,3971:262050,3979:262800,3997:263700,4010:264375,4021:265350,4036:266400,4054:266925,4062:270805,4084:271630,4099:272005,4105:272305,4110:272605,4115:272980,4121:273505,4129:273955,4136:275080,4153:275605,4162:276130,4170:276430,4175:276805,4181:277255,4188:277930,4199:278230,4204:278980,4218:279355,4225:280030,4234:287640,4301:289590,4329:290340,4343:291615,4369:293565,4397:293865,4402:294915,4425:298065,4480:298515,4487:303590,4535:304360,4552:304855,4568:305295,4578:306065,4596:307055,4616:307275,4621:309090,4674:310355,4709:311070,4726:311730,4740:312005,4746:313105,4774:314150,4798:319140,4841:319940,4853:320260,4858:320740,4865:322580,4906:324340,4929:325460,4946:325780,4951:326260,4958:326740,4965:329300,5004:330420,5022:330740,5027:334580,5046:336340,5088:337700,5114:345140,5267:345460,5272:346740,5298:347940,5321:348420,5329:356154,5389:356498,5395:359590,5425
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clifford Johnson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clifford Johnson talks about his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clifford Johnson shares stories about his mother's upbringing and move to Britain

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clifford Johnson talks about his father's involvement in the Windrush Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clifford Johnson talks about his parents' schooling and how they met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clifford Johnson talks about his family's move back to the Caribbean from England

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clifford Johnson explains which of his parents he takes after most

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clifford Johnson describes his early childhood memories of living in England

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson recalls his family's move back to the Caribbean island of Montserrat

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clifford Johnson describes his neighborhood on the Caribbean island of Montserrat

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clifford Johnson describes transportation on the Caribbean island of Montserrat

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clifford Johnson talks about the volcanic activity on the Caribbean island of Montserrat

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clifford Johnson talks about his childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clifford Johnson talks about his early interest in electronics

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clifford Johnson talks about his siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clifford Johnson talks about his desire to become a scientist

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson talks about racial and ethnic differences in the Caribbean

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clifford Johnson talks about his American friend in secondary school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clifford Johnson recalls his father leaving the family

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clifford Johnson talks about his family reuniting in England

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clifford Johnson discusses the black population in England

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clifford Johnson remembers high school in Preston, England

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clifford Johnson talks about his school experience on the Caribbean island of Montserrat

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson talks about his interest in comic books

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clifford Johnson discusses the influence of science in comic books

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clifford Johnson talks about his high school experience in England

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clifford Johnson talks about string theory background

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clifford Johnson explains string theory

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clifford Johnson compares high school in England and in America

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson explains the influence of social class in British life

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clifford Johnson discusses his musical interests

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clifford Johnson describes the process of building a guitar

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clifford Johnson talks about his social life in high school

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clifford Johnson explains his decision to attend Imperial College London

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clifford Johnson talks about life in London and his introduction to jazz music

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clifford Johnson talks about his experience at Imperial College London

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Clifford Johnson explains his decision to pursue graduate studies at Southampton University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson describes his string theory research at Southampton University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Clifford Johnson explains how string theory is measured

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Clifford Johnson talks about the tools of string theory

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Clifford Johnson talks about his Ph.D. dissertation and the difference between open and closed strings

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Clifford Johnson talks about receiving post doctoral fellowships

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Clifford Johnson describes his relationship with Edward Witten at the Institute for Advanced Studies

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Clifford Johnson shares a story about working with Edward Witten at the Institute for Advanced Study, part 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson shares a story about working with Edward Witten at the Institute for Advanced Study, part 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Clifford Johnson talks about leaving the Institute for Advanced Study

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Clifford Johnson explains his decision to pursue post doctoral studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Clifford Johnson talks about his work with Joe Polchinski on D-branes at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Clifford Johnson talks about the importance of his D-branes publication

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Clifford Johnson describes a day in the life of a physicist

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson discusses the importance of both mathematics and experimentation in physics

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Clifford Johnson talks about his move to the University of Kentucky

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Clifford Johnson talks about his research grant and teaching at the University of Kentucky

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Clifford Johnson describes his 1999 publications at the University of Kentucky

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Clifford Johnson talks about the value of string theory tools

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Clifford Johnson talks about his family and his move to the University of Durham in 2000

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Clifford Johnson talks about his experience at the University of Durham

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson talks about his association with Cambridge University

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Clifford Johnson responds to a question about a popular culture film

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Clifford Johnson talks about his experience at the University of Southern California and the publication of his book on D-branes

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Clifford Johnson talks about the role of physics in the development of the World Wide Web

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Clifford Johnson talks about electronic archives and their influence on physics research

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Clifford Johnson talks about the 2004 African Summer Theory Institute

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Clifford Johnson talks about the Maxwell Medal and explains lattice theory

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson discusses the role of science in society

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Clifford Johnson talks about his involvement in the production of a play

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Clifford Johnson discusses his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Clifford Johnson talks about his public outreach efforts

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Clifford Johnson reflects on his life's accomplishments

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Clifford Johnson discusses the future of string theory research

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Clifford Johnson talks about his family and how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$8

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Clifford Johnson talks about his early interest in electronics
Clifford Johnson describes a day in the life of a physicist
Transcript
But I did get a lot into electronics. And so very on I taught myself, well, sort of electrical circuits and things initially, but then got more and more into electronics in detail. And there was a RadioShack in town. So what I would do, whatever little bits of pocket money or wherever I got; loose change or what have you from, I would buy components and then would actually begin to build things from that. And--but one interesting thing which I never--I never got to tell my father [Victor Reginald Johnson]. He actually left when I was fairly young, and I can tell you more about that. But--so by the time I began to really become into my own as a sort of my own internal world, this sort of getting strong, he'd already gone. But I never talked, so I was never able to tell him that I began to learn electronics because I used to rummage around in old boxes and things upstairs, and I actually found some books which must have been the books he used when he was doing whatever course he needed to do for his work back in the U.K. [United Kingdom].$$That's when he was a telephone installer?$$The telephone stuff. So a lot of the stuff I learned about, resistors and things like that; basic electrical stuff, came from that.$$I read that you didn't have a lot of distractions in terms of--was there television on the island?$$There was but we didn't have a television. This was connected to lots of things. I think partly, as I had mentioned, at some point my father left and disappeared--$$How old were you?$$So this would have been--I guess I would have been eight. Something like that.$$You were, like, starting to do your experiments (unclear)--$$That's when I was beginning to sort of switch on from that time onwards, eight or so; seven or eight. I guess maybe he disappeared in '77 [1977], something like that. Yeah, that makes sense. So one of the interesting things was that I had--you know, there was a good library. It was a really good library that was really key. And I would begin to discover things. So I began to try and find things in lib--there weren't so many great, you know, books. There were a few basics of how-to books, and what have you; those were great. But at some point I began to use up the library because the kind of things I was interested in it didn't have. But then somebody, and I have no idea who it was, used to give their old electronics magazines to the library, just donate them once they finished with them. And I used to read, I used to consume those. And learned a lot from those. And then I started--I think I ordered some books. There was this orange, red and black series of books. I can't remember what--it was something--it was either 'Made Simple' or something like. But that was when I began to then teach myself electronics proper. So then I began to learn about things like transistors and things like that, which is, you know, it's sort of different from, you know--there's electrical and then there's electronics, and these are sort of distinct things although people tend to mix them up. And so, when you're just dealing with resistors and capacitors, and things in simple telephones and transmission lines. That's mostly sort of electrical stuff. Then when you start shaping and controlling signals and things like that and using transistors and--in the old days valves. That's more electronic, you know, sort of you're not just pushing electricity around; you're using it as a- The control circuitry like microphones and things in telephones, that's electronics; but the wires are sort of more electric. I don't know if that makes any sense that distinction.$$Yes, it makes sense.$$So I began to learn about those sorts of things. And then I would go to RadioShack and buy my components and put them together and start making radios and things like that. It all began back when I used to take stuff apart. You know, someone would have some thing that they were throwing away; a camera, a radio, because it was broken, and I would go, "I'm sure I can fix it." So I would take it apart and figure out how it works, and then figure out what was wrong, and then I'd fix it. And then I'd go "Okay. Here it is." And, of course, people wanted new stuff. So I would end up with that thing because although I'd fixed it, they didn't want it, so. My first camera was a camera I had because someone didn't want--I'd fixed it but they didn't want it back, so "Fine, I'll have it," and things like that. So it's a lot of just dabbling, getting my fingers into making things and building things. And then some of those wild and crazy projects really weren't just flights of imagination. I knew what I was doing and I was able to build some of those things. And so, later on once I went back to the U.K. [United Kingdom] and had more, you know, access to more resources, more knowledge, more components, soldering iron, things like that. I was building all kinds of things. I eventually built a computer.$$$$$Okay. Alright. Now, what--I have to ask this again after we just talked about this. What did--would be--can you summarize kind of like what is a day like for a physicist? I mean, what do you do? (unclear) people, you know, whether these are (unclear). What are they doing?$$Well, a research day or a day that is primarily research is--is of the following form. So you either have--so one of the first things to mention, especially if you're a theorist, but it's true in general, is that you never really fully switch it off. You know, you kind of to some extent live and breathe the physics in the sense that you're--there's just a quest to know--to know why or to figure this thing out. And so, you kind of wake up, and once you've dealt with the basics you're back on--you're back on duty, as it were. You've got your boots on (laughter). And so, especially as a theorist such as I am, I don't have to go to this place where I do an experiment. It means I'm already at work in my head. Sometimes if it's a problem I'm currently working on that's really bugging me, it can be from the moment I wake up or I've been dreaming about it perhaps sometimes in the extremes. Anyway, you wake up and you start thinking about the problem. So often it really is that business of you come up with a good idea. Wherever it comes from, you don't care as long as you have an idea. And I should say ideas are cheap in the sense that what really stands the test is when you take the idea and you wrangle it and twist it and see what all the consequences are, and is it still holding up as an idea. Then it's an idea. But having a good idea in terms of some crazy thing you thought of; or some really super smart thing that you thought of. Those are cheap actually, because no matter or how crazy or super smart they are, if they don't work, they're no good to you. So you're constantly dreaming up ideas of one form or another, and then you have to test those ideas. So typically what you're doing is you're testing those ideas against what is already known, what is already established. So you have an idea and you go, "Well, does this mean I can now connect this thing and this thing, these two things that I've been trying to connect or explain this in terms of that." And so, that idea goes, "Okay. Yeah, maybe I can put these things together in that way, using that idea." Then you go, "Well, what are the consequences of that? Does it violate some principle I already know is true because it's been experimentally tested or what have you? Does it imply something that I know is already wrong because I've already put together some other piece of the puzzle, something like that." So it is very much like--I use the word puzzle--it's very much like solving a jigsaw puzzle. You're putting pieces together. There may be some clusters over here that you've got right, and then you're trying to put together some cluster over here. Now putting something over--putting in this piece over here might contradict something you did out there, so that's a weak test already that you shouldn't do that. And then so eventually you then piece these pieces together and maybe you can then join them together and what have you. So that's sort of the logistics in your head of what you do. But then how do you do those tests? Some of those questions I just asked like, does putting this together in this way contradict this other thing? Sometimes that could be months or even years to check whether the answer to that question is. And that, as a theorist, means you're writing equations, you're working out the mathematical consequences of that thing because the language of physics is mathematics. The language of nature as far as we understand it, how the blueprint is written, if you'd like, the DNA is written in mathematics. Nobody knows why that is the case, but it is the case as far as we can see. So you use mathematical consistency as the first test of anything. It's a mathematical process of extracting the consequences of a physics principle that you've presented. So often that just means sitting around calculating, and from the outside that means you're sitting at your desk or in my case I like sit outside in the cafe--you know, in a cafe or, you know, even at the beach, or at home, or in my office, or on campus somewhere, and I'm calculating, or I'm staring into space; it looks like I daydreaming, and to some extent I am daydreaming. And you're trying to see how it all fits together. You're reaching for the ideas or you're trying to remember how that calculation went or that paper I wrote back in so and so and so; how did I do that? I guess I'm going to go and look it up. But sometimes you don't want to go look it up. You want to refigure it out because the exercise of figuring it out is sometimes a very useful thing. So there's a lot of the dreaming apparently, I mean, it seems. But it's very useful mental exercises. As an experimenter, you're doing kind of the same thing but a lot of that sort of working out the mathematical consequences of idea "X," instead as an experimenter, you're working out the experimental consequences. You're going to look for it or you're going to see what the limits are on that signal that you predicted might existed, and you need to design an experiment and build it in order to test out that idea, that sort of thing. So, yeah.