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Peter Delfyett

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

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2013.126

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/4/2013

Last Name

Delfyett

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

John

Occupation
Schools

City University of New York

University of Rochester

Martin Van Buren High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DEL10

Favorite Season

Christmas, Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

3/8/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Orlando

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Asian Food

Short Description

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

Employment

University of Central Flordia

Telcordia Technologies

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett describes photonics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$4

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

Warren Buck

Physicist Warren Wesley Buck, III was born on February 16, 1946 to Warren W. Buck, Jr. and Mildred G. Buck in Washington, D.C. He was raised in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Spingarn High School in 1963. After graduating from Morgan State University in 1968 with his B.S. degree in mathematics, Buck enrolled at the College of William and Mary where he received his M.S. degree in experimental and theoretical plasma physics in 1970 and his Ph.D. degree in theoretical relativistic nuclear physics in 1976.

Throughout his career, Buck has continued to do research in physics and has published numerous papers in academic journals. Most of his research interests focused on nuclear and subatomic particles, including studies of the interactions between particles and anti-particles and the nature of mesons and the quark model. Buck joined the faculty of Hampton University in 1984 after sailing on his motorless boat for three consecutive years from Massachusetts to the Bahamas. He became a full professor at Hampton University in 1989. He also helped create the Ph.D. program in physics, which was the first Ph.D. degree program at Hampton University. Buck was a member of the team that established the science program at the Department of Energy’s Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia. He was also the founding director of the Nuclear/High Energy Physics Research Center of Excellence at Hampton University. In 1999, Buck was appointed chancellor and dean of the University of Washington, Bothell. He served in the position for six years. During his term, the University of Washington, Bothell became a four-year institution, and its new permanent campus was opened in the fall of 2000. Buck is also a painter, blending humanistic and physical elements in his art.

Buck has been recognized for his work as an educator and a researcher, being elected to membership in the American Physical Society (APS) and creating the popular Hampton University Graduate Studies (HUGS) summer school for nuclear physics graduate students worldwide. Buck was given the Hulon Willis Association Impact Award for his work within the African American community at the College of William and Mary. In 2001, Buck was named a “Giant in Science,” by the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network. Buck has served on many advisory boards and committees, including the Committee on Education of the American Physical Society. He has also served on the board of directors of the Pacific Science Center. Buck married Cate Buck in 2006.

Warren Buck was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 29, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.084

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/29/2013

Last Name

Buck

Maker Category
Middle Name

Wesley

Occupation
Schools

Spingarn STAY High School

Lincoln University

Morgan State University

Johns Hopkins University

The College of William & Mary

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Warren

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BUC01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Juan Islands

Favorite Quote

Everything will change. Nothing's permanent.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Washington

Birth Date

2/16/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Seattle

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chili (Green)

Short Description

Physicist Warren Buck (1946 - ) , founding director of the Nuclear/High Energy Physics Research Center of Excellence at Hampton University, is chancellor emeritus and professor at the University of Washington, Bothell.

Employment

Science and Technology Program

University of Washington, Bothell

University of Washington, Seattle

Hampton University

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (CEBAF)

Gutenberg University

Morehouse College

Michigan State University

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center

College of William and Mary

University of Paris

State University of New York

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Bowie State University

John Hopkins University

Favorite Color

Cerulean Blue, Burnt Umber

Timing Pairs
0,0:2110,28:16990,314:19315,354:20059,363:28122,466:31870,495:32950,518:33190,523:36978,560:39835,591:42085,647:43060,663:43510,670:47097,696:47934,709:50350,721:50710,726:54520,778:55564,808:65775,912:66370,921:66965,929:68240,947:73005,995:80534,1066:80999,1072:83615,1086:84056,1096:84399,1104:84742,1113:84987,1119:88271,1162:88928,1174:102316,1329:111424,1415:111892,1422:112438,1431:113140,1443:119927,1552:120584,1562:127880,1669:136318,1784:136634,1789:139794,1830:140584,1844:141216,1858:149810,1992:150195,2001:169795,2251:171240,2284:171665,2290:174070,2301:178137,2393:178884,2403:179382,2410:182287,2447:182702,2453:183283,2461:189392,2514:189959,2524:193170,2565:195480,2625:196110,2656:196390,2662:199050,2723:199610,2733:199960,2739:206625,2796:207206,2804:212488,2863:212824,2868:220060,2935$0,0:13498,171:13946,176:22830,229:24744,254:25179,260:25962,280:29181,330:35514,377:36162,387:37602,413:38466,428:41992,463:42332,469:45460,532:47364,569:48112,589:64570,774:71106,851:82734,1080:90502,1126:91818,1144:93228,1165:93698,1171:94356,1179:95390,1191:100894,1256:102004,1272:102818,1284:114215,1438:118940,1596:127697,1862:127949,1937:139858,2046:140605,2060:141186,2087:146249,2180:146581,2185:151000,2201:151783,2207:152740,2219:154915,2249:155437,2256:162600,2324:165480,2332:166110,2342:175984,2446:176656,2491:177040,2496:183761,2602:184166,2608:191330,2715:193124,2752:193514,2758:203535,2881:203827,2887:204119,2893:204411,2898:208572,2991:209521,3012:210908,3041:218866,3127:220209,3152:223480,3192:223744,3197:225196,3230:249180,3565:249605,3571:249945,3576:250640,3603:262665,3704:263250,3715:267430,3777
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Warren Wesley Buck's interview - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about his father, Warren Buck, Jr.

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Slating of Warren Wesley Buck's interview - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Warren Wesley Buck lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Warren Wesley describes his mother's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Warren Wesley describes his mother's family background - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Warren Wesley describes his mother's growing up in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Warren Wesley talks about his mother's experience at Lincoln University, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Warren Wesley describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Warren Wesley describes his father's growing up in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Warren Wesley talks about his father winning a lawsuit against the federal government

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about his father's education and his employment as a draftsman

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Warren Wesley Buck describes how his parents met at Lincoln University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about the neighborhoods where he grew up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Warren Wesley Buck describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his experience with segregation at River Terrace Elementary School and Benning Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about his segregated neighborhood in Washington, D.C., and his extracurricular interests in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his childhood interest in scientific gadgets and science shows on television

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his childhood experiments with insects

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Warren Buck talks about his unfortunate experience with raising mice, and his growing up with boxer dogs named Jingles and Taffy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Warren Buck talks about his demonstration of rain that received recognition at a district science fair, and his elementary school mentor, Mr. Downing

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Warren Buck describes his experience in junior high school, and the lack of mentoring that he received there

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Warren Buck describes his experience in the Boy Scouts, and talks about becoming an Eagle Scout

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Warren Buck describes his experience on his Boy Scouts trip to Philmont, New Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Warren Buck describes his academic experience at Spingarn High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Warren Buck describes his experience with running track at Spingarn High School, and the 440 yard dash at the Penn Relays

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Warren Buck talks about his academic performance and the poor counseling that he received at Spingarn High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about graduating from Spingarn High School and his decision to attend Lincoln University in Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his experience at Lincoln University in Missouri, and his decision to leave after the first two years

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about his reasons for leaving Lincoln University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about his jobs in Washington, D.C. after he returned from Lincoln University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about the Director of Selective Service who signed his deferment from the Vietnam War in 1965, allowing him to attend college

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about his mentors and his academic achievement in mathematics and physics at Morgan State College

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about how he met his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his positive college experience at Morgan State College

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his decision to pursue graduate studies at the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Warren Wesley Buck recalls the rioting in Washington, D.C. on the night that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about his mother's involvement in early childhood education, and her being one of the first teachers for the Head Start Program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Warren Wesley Buck recalls facing discrimination in Williamsburg, but feeling welcomed by the physics department at the College of William and Mary

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his summer research experience at Johns Hopkins University's mechanics department in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his enthusiasm for his graduate work in the area of plasma physics at the College of William and Mary

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about founding the Black Student Organization at the College of William and Mary, and his political activism there

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his decision to leave the College of William and Mary with a master's degree in physics

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about nearly joining the Black Panther Party, his introduction into sailing, and the break-up of his first marriage

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about his experience with integrating the Tampa Yacht Club in 1971

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his relationship with his master's degree advisor, Frederick Crownfield

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Warren Wesley Buck describes the scientific basis of his doctoral dissertation, titled 'Deuteron Wave Functions with Relativistic Interactions'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about the value of combining theoretical and experimental physics to understand a scientific problem

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about the discovery of the electron in 1898, and describes how a television works

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Warren Wesley Buck describes the findings of his doctoral dissertation, titled 'Deuteron Wave Functions with Relativistic Interactions'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about his father attending his scientific presentation at an American Physical Society [APS] meeting

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Warren Wesley Buck talks about his experience in the Bahamas in the spring of 1976, and describes his post-doctoral appointment at Stony Brook University

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Warren Wesley Buck describes his post-doctoral research on matter and anti-matter interactions, at Stony Brook University

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Warren Wesley Buck describes the scientific community's response to his post-doctoral research findings on matter and anti-matter interactions

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Warren Wesley Buck recalls the rioting in Washington, D.C. on the night that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated
Warren Wesley Buck describes his post-doctoral research on matter and anti-matter interactions, at Stony Brook University
Transcript
Okay, now you graduated for Morgan [State College, Baltimore, Maryland] in '68 [1968].$$'68, 1960--I graduated from Morgan in '68 [1968].$$And now just before you graduated, Dr. [Martin Luther] King was assassinated, right?$$Yes.$$Yeah, that--$$Yeah, so I was--that night that Dr. King was, was, was killed, I was working at the Recreation Department at Highland Park. And--$$This is here in D.C. [Washington, District of Columbia].$$In D.C.$$Okay.$$Yeah, and that night after he was shot, the place was quiet as I'd ever heard it. It was, it was definitely silent. I went--we were going outside and couldn't hear, I couldn't hear any birds or anything and it seemed like it was a, it, it was just ghostly quiet. And then suddenly everybody came out of their apartments and there was rioting. There was just rioting, rioting, they were burning cars and tires and it was really a, a frantic. And I remember leaving, closing down the, the rec center and at the time I lived on Massachusetts Avenue right by Union Station on the, on the I guess the south side of Union Station in an apartment complex which is still there. And that's--cause I would, I would walk to the station to go to, to get the train to go over to Baltimore every day. And I took the bus home and, and when I got to my stop, I got off the, the National Guard was all over the place. And in my neighborhood, a liquor store window had been broken into and people were stealing and the guard was out in the jeeps, the jeeps there were--it was a jeep parked right in front of my apartment complex. And I couldn't get in, so then I convinced them that I lived there. So they, they were actually quite nice. I didn't feel like I was harassed. I never was pushed and, and, and you know, handcuffed or anything like that. I never, never felt like I was in that level of danger or, or suspicion. But I just talked my way in and got into the apartment and never came out, but that was a night where, you know, half the city was being burned. And it was a, it was a miserable, it was a miserable night, just a miserable night that this man who literally put his life out there to change our lives. To, put, put us in a much better place was killed. And my--I think about that because I think certainly in the black community, leaders get their heads knocked off. Every, you know every time you stick up and try to do something really well, and make something happen, the white society will kill you, move you out, you disappear, you know something happens. And this was one more of those things and I think what led to those riots was this was the last straw. You know this was like, this is it. And so people, you know people were burning not their own stuff because of, of not liking their own stuff, but there was nothing left to do. You know, despair at its, at its worse. Just pure despair. And so yeah, so that was the year--I graduated that year.$So went to Stony Brook [University, Stony Brook, New York] and I think it was 11,000 dollars a year job, post-doc. And with a, with a girlfriend. And we got married the next year at Stony Brook, Linda Horn. And had an amazing time at Stony Brook. So right away I got put on a project that was on antimatter, matter-antimatter interactions. And basically you do these wave functions again, these nuclear wave functions in a special way. And so it was really quite nice to make a, have a--it's a transformation that you make, a mathematical transformation that you make on the, on the theoretical construct of the, of the potential. And, and voila! You have matter/antimatter interaction going. So did these calculations with a fellow from Paris [France] and a fellow from Brookhaven National Lab [Upton, New York], Carl Dover at Brookhaven who became a big mentor for me. And (unclear) at Paris and so we had the world's best nuclear potentials at our, at our call. Of course the people from, from Bonn, Germany thought theirs was the best, but we, we thought we had the best ones. And, and we could look at all the different ways of theory would predict these nuclear antinuclear interactions and come with--come up with a, an average. Kind of like a, a model independent study they'd call it so that we'd find out what things are--what characteristics are common to all of them. And then, and then we couldn't get the paper published. And we tried and tried and tried. And finally got it published, and the moment we got it published, everybody wanted a copy. It was a, it was a blockbuster hit. It was really quite, quite nice.$$Something that really stretched what people thought, thought they knew at that time?$$They thought they knew what they were doing. I always seem to get caught up in things where nobody knows what they're--haven't done before. I seem to find these things, these areas where nobody's been before and I love that, actually love that kind of--$$Let's kind of slow this down a minute and tell us like what did you, what did, did you all find that other people didn't know?$$So we were the, we were the only ones, we were the first and only ones who could, could give a good description of what the bound states would be. So for example with the deuteron, there's only one bound state. With the, with the atoms, with the, the hydrogen atom for example, there's a lot of bound states. That is to say that the electron and the proton in the atom stay together no matter what the excitation is. Well it's not no matter what the excitation is, but this is a large range of excitations you can give to the hydrogen atom, and it still stays bound. For a deuteron, you can only have one excitation and it will break apart. So this is--it's very delicate. With the, with the nucleon, antinuclear atomic state or nuclear states, there was many, many, many states. Not quite as many as the, as the, as the elect--as they hydrogen atom, but a lot of states. And they're deeply bound. So instead of being repulsive when they get close, they're attractive when they get close. So it's really very strong, very powerful forces. And of course there's also annihilation part of it. It can annihilate, there's a huge annihilation cross-section which means it--the--once they get to a certain point and slow down, then become at rest, they just blow up. And they break up into a bunch of proton, excuse me, pions and photons, so it's a lot of, a lot of energy coming out. And basically it, it has, it has about 100 to 1,000 times more energy in the interactions than the regular nuclear force. So it's very powerful, a very powerful interaction. And here I was working on this, so, so we worked on it and published a nice paper on it.

Albert Stewart

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

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

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

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

Stewart passed away on October 13, 2016.

Accession Number

A2013.059

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/9/2013

Last Name

Stewart

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

C.

Schools

Saint Louis University

University of Chicago

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Albert

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

STE15

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caneel Bay Plantation, U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Birth Date

11/25/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Haven

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

10/13/2016

Short Description

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

Employment

St. Louis University

Knoxville College

John Carroll University

Western Connecticut State University

Kanthal Corp.

Executive Register, Inc.

Execom

Foundation for Social Justice in South Africa

Union Carbide Corporation

United States Naval Reserve

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$3

DAStory

1$2

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

Wayne Bowen

Biology and Pharmacology Professor Wayne Darrell Bowen was born to (mother) and (father) in 1952. As a child, Bowen knew early on that he was interested in pursuing a career in science, and indeed, he went on to earn his B.S. degree in Chemistry from Morgan State College, in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1974. Bowen then pursued a graduate degree with a major in biochemistry and a minor in neuropharmacology, graduating from Cornell University with his Ph.D. degree after completing a thesis on the biochemical process of cholesterol synthesis.
Bowen went on to do his postdoctoral work from 1980 to 1983 at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a research institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) located in Bethesda, Maryland, where his work centered on opiate receptor biochemistry. From 1983 to 1991 Bowen taught courses in endocrinology, introductory biology, and biochemistry at Brown University as an Assistant Professor of Biology. During his time at Brown, Bowen also founded the macromolecular biochemistry facility on campus, which provided campus and surrounding medical facilities with synthetic peptide compounds.
From 1991 until 2004, Bowen served as tenured chief of the Unit on Receptor Biochemistry and Pharmacology at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, working in the Drug Design and Synthesis Section of the Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry. During his time as Chief, Bowen continued to lecture for undergraduate students at Brown University, serving as both Adjunct Professor of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry as well as Adjunct Professor of Neuroscience. During a corresponding period, from 1999 to 2004, Bowen also chaired the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the NIH Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences Graduate School.
In 2004, Bowen returned to the task of educating future scientists as a full-time Professor of Biology at Brown University, teaching in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology. Bowen was then appointed Chair of his department in 2007. His research at Brown focuses on the potential for developing new treatments for disease through the understanding of sigma receptors, specifically treatment for neurological disorders and cancer.
Bowen has served as President of the Black Scientists Association at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2001and is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the International Brain Research Organization/World Federation of Neuroscientists. He has also received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Student and Teacher Internship Program at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and NIH as well as an Award of Appreciation from the Science and Engineering Fair at Morgan State University. In addition, he was also awarded a Certificate of Recognition from the NIH Speakers Bureau and a Special Recognition Award from the Undergraduate Scholarship Program at NIH, as well as numerous research grants.

Accession Number

A2012.216

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/9/2012

Last Name

Bowen

Maker Category
Middle Name

D.

Occupation
Schools

Morgan State University

Cornell University

Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson Elementary

Baltimore City College

William H. Lemmel Middle

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Wayne

HM ID

BOW07

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Rhode Island

Birth Date

11/11/1952

Speakers Bureau Region City

Providence

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Biologist Wayne Bowen (1952 - ) is a professor of biology and pharmacology and a biologist studying alternative treatments for disease at Brown University.

Employment

National Institute of Mental Health (NIH)

Brown University

Cornell University

National Institute of Health (NIH)

Smith, Kline and French

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wayne Bowen's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wayne Bowen lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wayne Bowen talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wayne Bowen talks about his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wayne Bowen talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wayne Bowen talks about his father's growing up and his career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wayne Bowen talks about how his parents met, married, and later moved to Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Wayne Bowen talks about his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Wayne Bowen describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Wayne Bowen describes his childhood neighborhood

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wayne Bowen talks about his interest in music during his adolescence

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wayne Bowen talks about his interest in science and his experiments with his Gilbert chemistry set

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wayne Bowen talks about his interest in science and his aspirations for a career as a scientist

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wayne Bowen talks about his family's involvement in both the Baptist and Methodist church

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wayne Bowen talks about his elementary school, his early science education, his interest in chemistry, and his favorite high school science teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wayne Bowen talks about his friend's death, his social life in junior high school and his junior high school science projects

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wayne Bowen talks about his high school extracurricular activities and his interest in photography

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wayne Bowen talks about his band, St. George's Gate

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wayne Bowen talks about his experience playing in a musical production

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wayne Bowen talks about his decision to attend Morgan State University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wayne Bowen talks about his high school experience at Baltimore City College, including the demographics of the school and his job as a photographer

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wayne Bowen talks about missing Jimi Hendricks perform at the Baltimore Civic Center

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Wayne Bowen talks about his mentors, his jobs, and his experience in the chemistry department at Morgan State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Wayne Bowen talks about his extracurricular activities and his experience being a commuter student at Morgan State University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Wayne Bowen talks about his undergraduate research project on porphyrins

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Wayne Bowen talks about his emerging interest in biochemistry and his decision to attend Cornell University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Wayne Bowen talks about his first research publication and his introduction to the field of pharmacology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wayne Bowen talks about his Ph.D. advisor, James Gaylor, and his experience at Cornell University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wayne Bowen talks about his dissertation research on the biochemical process of cholesterol synthesis - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wayne Bowen talks about his dissertation research on the biochemical process of cholesterol synthesis - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wayne Bowen talks about graduating from Cornell University and his interest in pharmacology at the National Institute of Mental Health

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wayne Bowen describes his postdoctoral research on the biochemistry of opioid receptors at the National Institute of Mental Health

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wayne Bowen talks about establishing the Macromolecular Biochemistry Facility at Brown University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wayne Bowen describes the pharmacology of sigma receptors

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Wayne Bowen talks about his research on opioid receptors

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wayne Bowen talks about his research on sigma receptors - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wayne Bowen talks about the role of sigma receptors in cancer research

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wayne Bowen talks about his research with sigma receptors - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wayne Bowen talks about his professional activities and his research on sigma receptors and their implications for cancer research

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wayne Bowen talks about his research with sigma receptors - part three

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wayne Bowen talks about the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Black Scientists Association and its initiatives

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Wayne Bowen talks about becoming Chair of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology at Brown University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Wayne Bowen talks about his duties as Chair of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology at Brown University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Wayne Bowen talks about the potential uses of the sigma-1 receptor and emerging areas of research

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Wayne Bowen talks about therapies that have been developed from the sigma 2 receptor

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Wayne Bowen talks about the field of structural biology

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Wayne Bowen talks about how street drugs can inform pharmacological research

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Wayne Bowen talks about the physiology of drug addiction

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Wayne Bowen talks about the hallucinogen, ibogaine, its psychoactive effects, and its potential therapeutic uses

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Wayne Bowen reflects upon his life choices

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Wayne Bowen reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Wayne Bowen shares his advice for aspiring scientists and pharmacologists

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Wayne Bowen talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Wayne Bowen talks about his interest in history and the Civil War

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Wayne Bowen talks about his hobbies

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Wayne Bowen talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Wayne Bowen describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Wayne Bowen talks about his professional activities and his research on sigma receptors and their implications for cancer research
Wayne Bowen talks about the potential uses of the sigma-1 receptor and emerging areas of research
Transcript
So, I went back to NIH [National Institutes of Health] in 1991.$$Okay, alright. The director of--$$And became director, a unit chief down there, and stayed down there until 2004.$$Okay.$$And during that whole time I was at NIH, we did, the work was completely focused on sigma receptors. And we published a number of papers showing that sigma receptors were present in an organ now called lipid rafts, and that that might influence their function. We discovered that the sigma receptors, when activated, produces a change of calcium levels in cells, which is a known second messenger that can change signaling and biochemistry in cells. We found that turning on the sigma receptor increases the levels of a lipid called ceramic, which is a toxic lipid that has a number of targets in cells, and can turn on the apoptotic process. And at the same time, we developed a whole series of compounds through our collaboration with a medicinal chemist. The main chemist that I collaborated with was Brian DeCosta, who was at the NIH then. There was another chemist called Craig, his name was Craig Bertha, who made some compounds that we, he made a compound that we're still using today, that's sort of a prototypic selective sigma 2 receptor agonist. We're always interested in--so, once we found that there were two sub-types of the receptor--so, we were first interested in designing compounds that were selected for the sigma receptor system. And we found a few of those. But now what we're trying to do is hone compounds to be selected for either the sigma 1 or the sigma 2 receptor. And we found a few of those, working with our medicinal chemist colleagues. So then in 2004 I moved back to Brown [University], and joined The Department of Molecular Pharmacology Physiology And Biotechnology, and continued to work on the sigma receptor system. And continuing now with more of a focus on what they're doing in tumor cells, how they are affecting cell growth and proliferation, with a main focus on the ability of the sigma 2 receptor to turn on the apoptosis. And the discovery there was that cells that are resistant--forms of cancer that are resistant to chemotherapy, like pancreatic cancer, is resistant to a number of chemotherapeutic approaches, are susceptible to the sigma receptor. So, we can kill--we looked at three different pancreatic cancer cell lines that are readily killed by activating the sigma 2 receptor when these cells are resistant to other types of chemotherapeutic agents. So, the signaling mechanisms that are turned on by the sigma 2 receptor apparently go in directions that bypass a number of the molecules that are mutated in cancer. Cancer is a problem of unrestricted cell growth, so proliferation. And the way cancer cells do that, is they, there are mutations and molecules that are normally designed to turn on the cell death process. So, cells have a, all the cells in your body, with the exception of your neurons, have a time clock in them, and they'll divide for a certain number of times. And then that cell will turn on an apoptotic program, and basically commit suicide.$$This is the process of replenishing--$$The process of replenishing cells. And in cancer cells, that process is sabotaged, it's hijacked, because the biochemistry that's used to turn on that cell death process is altered in tumor cells. So, these cells escape this apoptotic process. And what we're trying to do with these chemotherapeutic agents is turn that process back on. And apparently, what the sigma 2 receptor does is turn on the programs that sort of bypass these roadblocks in the apoptotic pathway, so that if you have a cell that is resistant to chemotherapy, turning on the sigma 2 receptor opens up another pathway, because there are multiple ways to kill a cell. And the tumor cells haven't figured out yet all of those ways. So we try, so the sigma 2 receptor finds a way to exploit a system that's not yet been altered, and that's a very, that will be a very valuable tool. Because if all tumor cell types, or most tumor cell types, express these receptors, then you have sort of a broad spectrum of tools to attack a number of different types of tumors. So, since coming back to Brown [University], we've focused on that. I've had a couple of post-docs that have worked on this project. Shee Wong worked on looking at the mechanism of how the cells are able to use the mitochondrial pathway to turn on cell deaths. This is a relatively novel discovery, that the mitochondria in cells can be involved in committing this type of cell suicide.$Now, where do you see the field of sigma receptors heading in the next decade?$$So, I think we're in a state, at a stage in the field now where we're just beginning to figure out what these receptors might be doing. There are people studying this system from a number of angles. So, most of the, if you were talking to me five years ago, I would say that most of the people in the field are coming into the field from neuroscience, because they were originally thought to be opioid receptors. And so, people of my age group, I guess, generation, started out studying opioid receptors, from a standpoint of the CNS [central nervous system]. But in recent years, the field has branched into other areas. So, one of the areas where the field is going is in the area of drug abuse. It turns out that the sigma 1 receptor is a target for, a potential target, for developing drugs to treat drug abuse. One of my colleagues I collaborated with is Ray Natsomoti, who's now at West Virginia University, and has pioneered this work in showing that the sigma receptor, that the sigma 1 receptor, when it's blocked, will ameliorate some of the toxic effects of cocaine, some of the local motor effects of cocaine. One of the things that, one of the toxicities of cocaine is that it causes convulsions at high dosages. And she found that if you block sigma 1 receptors with sigma 1 receptor antagonists, that you block the convulsive effects of cocaine. And so, and you can do this even after the animal has been given a dose of cocaine, a convulsive dose of cocaine. So, that's a potential therapeutic use of the sigma 1 receptor, targeting the sigma 1 receptor. Others have shown that blockade of the sigma 1 receptor has effects on drug self-administration. So, if you train animals to self-administer cocaine or-- there's a group at Boston [Massachusetts] that's doing alcohol, and give them sigma 1 antagonists, that you can block or inhibit drug self-administration in these animals. But more importantly, it's been shown that blockade of the sigma 1 receptor blocks the process that's called, the process where the animal begins to self-administer again after they've been off the drug for a while, so re-instatement, it's called. So, you if make an animal addicted to cocaine, and give him certain--and then take the animal off cocaine, and then give certain cues, the animal will go back to self-administering cocaine. And this is thought to be what happens in humans, where they go to rehab and they're off drugs for a while, and there are certain cues--stress, other cues, that get them self-administering drugs again. And it's been shown that blocking the sigma 1 receptor will block this re-instatement process. So, there are people who are interested in targeting the sigma 1 receptor for treatment of drug abuse, and I think that's a direction that the field is going to go. The other major direction, also involving a sigma 1 receptor, is learning and memory. The sigma 1 receptor is expressing a part of the brain called the hippocampus. And it's been shown by a group in France that blocking sigma 1 receptors in the hippocampus will induce memory loss in animal models of learning and memory. So, there are several animal models where you can train a rat to find a floating block in a pool. Or, you train a rat to do a certain task, you know, go through a maze to find food. If you give them blockers of sigma 1 receptors after they've been trained, they forget how to do it. If you put a rat in a pool that's been trained to find a block of wood, they can't. They swim around like it's, like they never had that experience. So, the corollary of that the activating sigma 1 receptors must play a role in acquisition of learning and reinstatement of memory. So, there are people who are interested in developing sigma 1 receptor agonists for treatment of memory deficits, like Alzheimer's disease, or just any sort of cognitive defect they have. So, cognitive enhancing agents is another sort of way that the sigma receptor field is going at the current.

James Mitchell

Research chemist James W. Mitchell was born on November 16, 1943 in Durham, North Carolina as the eldest and only son of tobacco factory workers. Mitchell’s interest in chemistry stemmed from the disciplines logical principles and their reliability. Mitchell received his B.S. degree in chemistry from North Carolina A & T State University in 1965, and his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Iowa State University in 1970. His doctoral thesis focused on analytical chemistry, a branch of chemistry concerned with analyzing the characteristics and composition of matter.

Mitchell first joined AT & T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey after receiving his doctorate. He chaired the Lab’s Affirmative Action Committee and was one of the founders of the Association of Black Laboratory Employees. In 1982, Mitchell was promoted to supervisor of the Inorganic Analytical Chemistry Research Group. Mitchell became head of the Analytical Chemistry Research Department in 1975. Under his leadership the department was transformed into an internationally renowned research organization. In 1985, Mitchell was named an AT & T Bell Laboratories Fellow, and, in 1989 he was extended membership into the National Academy of Engineering. He has written nearly 100 publications with as many citations attached to his work. He earned the 1999 Lifetime Achievement in Industry Award by the National Society of Black Engineers.

In 2002, Mitchell began his tenure at Howard University. He served as the David and Lucille Packard Professor of Materials Science, Director of the CREST Nanoscale Analytical Sciences Research and Education Center, Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dean of the College of Engineering. Mitchell has also lectured internationally. In addition, he co-authored a book, Contamination Control in Trace Analysis, published more than seventy-five scientific papers, and invented instruments and processes. He also served as a member of the editorial advisory boards of Analytical Chemistry and Mikrochimica Acta. Mitchell and his wife Jean live in Washington, D.C. They have three children.

James W. Mitchell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 11, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.236

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/11/2012

Last Name

Mitchell

Maker Category
Middle Name

W

Occupation
Schools

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

Iowa State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Durham

HM ID

MIT13

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Alaskan Cruises

Favorite Quote

When times get tough, the tough get going.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/16/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Turkey, Greens (Collard), Fish, Barbecue

Short Description

Chemist James Mitchell (1943 - ) was the first African American honored as an AT&T Bell Laboratories Fellow, and is the Dean of the College of Engineering at Howard University.

Employment

Bell Laboratories

Lucent Technologies

Howard University College of Engineering

CREST Nanoscale Analytical Sciences Research and Education center

Favorite Color

Gold, Purple, Red, White

Timing Pairs
310,0:4470,95:5350,111:6310,131:6630,136:7270,150:9110,189:10310,208:15672,263:22832,332:23781,347:24365,356:25241,370:25679,377:32120,416:34760,468:35880,487:36600,502:36920,507:37240,512:38200,525:38840,534:39480,543:40200,554:42200,587:47750,630:49270,656:50150,672:53670,726:55910,761:58230,784:59270,799:60310,813:61270,827:61590,832:66579,850:67492,863:68239,872:68571,877:69733,894:70231,901:71900,928:72593,940:73097,950:73601,959:74042,967:75428,992:75995,1002:76562,1014:78011,1043:78641,1104:84833,1129:89948,1225:98063,1312:103076,1342:105169,1372:111930,1410:112262,1415:112677,1421:116635,1444:117145,1451:121410,1486:121766,1491:126928,1562:127284,1567:127818,1572:128708,1584:129153,1590:135470,1647:135926,1654:136458,1663:138054,1689:139422,1712:141980,1719:142360,1724:143025,1733:151406,1803:153494,1830:155495,1857:160280,1915:161498,1930:166066,1956:173326,2113:173590,2118:180270,2203:181020,2215:181545,2224:182070,2236:185032,2252:185402,2258:185846,2265:187178,2286:188140,2300:189028,2313:189694,2323:192358,2364:192654,2369:193024,2375:193690,2385:197728,2406:200968,2470:201256,2475:201688,2482:202912,2503:203488,2513:204496,2528:205504,2553:209827,2577:211681,2593:212196,2599:221466,2679:222048,2686:222436,2691:223212,2700:224182,2713:225928,2737:227770,2742$0,0:8907,32:10041,51:18951,164:23498,179:26427,214:29815,246:33222,274:34671,303:34923,308:37210,323:44237,393:45013,403:47147,424:50932,444:54663,484:56895,512:57546,521:59499,540:59964,546:61917,573:67638,614:70992,654:71850,667:78222,723:80242,751:83582,779:87023,803:87451,808:88414,818:89591,835:93110,861:95407,879:96208,890:96742,897:99224,927:99763,935:103151,979:105230,1015:105846,1024:106924,1045:108310,1072:108926,1082:109927,1098:110389,1106:118830,1184:119570,1195:124422,1230:131730,1262:132094,1267:133277,1283:136752,1310:138026,1325:139104,1337:140084,1348:140476,1353:140868,1358:143612,1388:155430,1457:156022,1462:157370,1469
DAStories

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

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

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Mitchell describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Mitchell describes his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Mitchell talks about his family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Mitchell talks about his parents' separation and reconciliation

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Mitchell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Mitchell describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Mitchell talks about his elementary schools

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about his elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Mitchell talks about his natural ability of taking things apart and reassembling them

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about what influenced him while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Mitchell talks about his involvement in church

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about his interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Mitchell talks about growing up in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Mitchell talks about his childhood jobs

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Mitchell talks about the importance of education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about the book rent policy in North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Mitchell talks about his father's return after a long absence

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about his relationship with his mother

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Mitchell talks about his experience at the summer science program at North Carolina Central University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about his high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Mitchell talks about his decision to attend North Carolina A&T University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Mitchell talks about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement (part one)

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Mitchell talks about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement (part two)

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about the segregation at North Carolina A&T State University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Mitchell talks about his mentors at North Carolina A&T State University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about his college experience

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Mitchell talks about his summer employment during college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about his decision to attend Iowa State University for his Ph.D. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Mitchell talks about his friend, Dr. Reginald Mitchner

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Mitchell talks about his experience at Iowa State University and his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Mitchell talks about his experience at Iowa State University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Mitchell describes his dissertation on the separation of rare earth elements

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about the practical applications of his research on the separation of rare earth elements

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Mitchell talks about his employment prospects after graduating from Iowa State University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about the assassinations of prominent figures during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Mitchell talks about the work environment at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about his work at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Mitchell talks about his patents

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Mitchell talks about his professional activities and awards

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about AT&T Bell Laboratories' merger with Lucent Technologies

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Mitchell talks about his mentorship activities at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about his colleagues at Bell Laboratories/Lucent Technologies

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Mitchell talks about his career at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Mitchell talks about his goals for the college of engineering at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Mitchell describes the challenges he faces as dean of the college of engineering

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Mitchell talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Mitchell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James Mitchell reflects on his life choices

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James Mitchell talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Mitchell talks about his parents' reaction to his success

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Mitchell shares his advice for young people

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Mitchell talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
James Mitchell talks about the work environment at Bell Laboratories
James Mitchell talks about his goals for the college of engineering at Howard University
Transcript
Okay, so, and so, after graduating in 1970, so you joined Bell Labs [Bell Laboratories]. Now, this is, as you said, Bell Labs has been touted by the people we've interviewed as one of the greatest places to work. Of course, the culture is destroyed now, but at that time, it was a scientist's dream.$$It absolutely was one of the best corporate research facilities on Planet Earth. It was run by managers who had first been accomplished scientists themselves. You didn't get to be a manager at the AT&T Bell Laboratories Research Facility unless you were an extraordinary researcher first. And so the people in charge of the place understood what was necessary in an environment in order for it to be essentially perfect from the standpoint of supporting, fostering and allowing scientific and technological excellence to take place. I had the blessings of enjoying Bell Laboratories for thirty years. It was the type of environment where you couldn't believe that you were paid to do something that was so enjoyable and to do it under conditions that were so excellent.$$Yeah, it's hardly anyone that says something like that, but that's, those who talk about Bell Labs do speak that highly of it. So, for instance, what made it such an enjoyable place to work?$$Well, it was such an enjoyable place to work because money was not an obstacle to accomplishing the impossible. If a young person had an idea about something and it had a finite probability of being feasible, the only thing you had to do was convince the manager of your organization that this idea concept was worth pursuing and that if brought to fruition, its scientific impact would be extraordinary, and it was possible for you to do that. That could be done in a conversation and on one page. It didn't require a 300-page research proposal. So you could pursue extraordinary research ideas and so forth without exhaustive inputs and justifications before the fact. You had colleagues on your hallway who were experts in virtually all aspects of science and technology. You could learn in a thirty-minute conversation with one of your colleagues what would require you three months of digging through the literature and research in order to acquire the knowledge. You could almost instantly generate a collaboration with anyone, excellent people will collaborate at a finger snap with other excellent people. And you had access. If you indicated that you worked at Bell Laboratories, that almost immediately gave you access to collaborations with anybody else in the country. And so it was just an amazing place where the money, the infrastructure, the intellect, the vision and all of those things came together that allowed important science to be done.$Okay, so that's 2009. Now, so, just tell us about what you're doing as dean here and what your prospects are as well as for the college?$$As a dean, I believe the most important responsibility I have is to put in place the underpinnings and the structure of the College of Engineering such that in the next century we are able to implement, establish and grow entrepreneurships, intellectual property, technology parks and businesses. Howard University is not going to be a greater university than it has been until we have done what the other universities do, establish technology parks, establish intellectual property and have a gigantic foundation with funding sufficient for us to accomplish anything on our own, if necessary. And so I see my greatest goal is to lay the foundation for pursuing that long-term goal. And so we have, are in the midst of restructuring the college to pursue that. We are in the midst of working with the faculty to recruit entrepreneurial professors, individuals who see the business aspect of science as important as the knowledge aspect of science and who want to operate in both arenas. And my job is to hopefully work with the upper-level management here and transform the environment from one of teaching excellence with science done in addition to it, but one of scientific and engineering excellence that even surpasses by far the teaching legacy of excellence that we have. And so that's the unfinished job that exists.

Emmett Chappelle

Environmental scientist and biochemist[?] Emmett W. Chappelle was born on October 24, 1925 in Phoenix, Arizona to Viola White Chappelle and Isom Chappelle. His family grew cotton and tended cows on a small farm at the edge of town. Chappelle was drafted into the U.S. Army, right after graduating from the Phoenix Union Colored High School in 1942. He was assigned to the Army Specialized Training Program, where he was able to take some engineering courses. Chappelle was later reassigned to the all-Black 92nd Infantry Division and served in Italy. After returning to the U.S., Chappelle went on to earn his A.A. degree from Phoenix College. With the help provided by the GI Bill of Rights, Chappelle was able to receive his B.S. degree in biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950.

Chappelle went on to serve as an instructor at the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee from 1950 to 1953, where he was also able to conduct his own research. Chappelle’s work was noticed by the scientific community, and he accepted an offer to study at the University of Washington, where he received his M.S. degree in biology in 1954. Chappelle continued his graduate studies at Stanford University, though he did not complete a Ph.D. degree. In 1958 Chappelle joined the Research Institute for Advanced Studies in Baltimore, where his research aided in the creation of a safe oxygen supply for astronauts. He went on to work for Hazelton Laboratories in 1963. In 1966, Chappelle joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center. Chappelle’s research has focused in the area of luminescence, which is light without heat. He has been involved in a number of projects, including the Viking space craft. Chappelle used chemicals from fireflies as well as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to develop a method of detecting life on Mars. He used this research in bioluminescence, light produced by living organisms, to detect bacteria in water, as well as in improving environmental management.

Chappelle retired from NASA in 2001. He received fourteen U.S. patents, produced more than thirty-five peer-reviewed scientific or technical publications, nearly fifty conference papers, and co-authored or edited numerous publications. Chappelle has been honored as one of the top 100 African American scientist and engineers of the 20th century. He received an Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal from NASA for his work. Chappelle was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007. He lived with his daughter and son-in-law in Baltimore.

Chappelle passed away on October 14, 2019.

Emmett W. Chappelle was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 30, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.234

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/30/2012

Last Name

Chappelle

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widowed

Middle Name

W.

Schools

Wilson Ward Elementary

George Washington Carver High School

University of California, Berkeley

University of Washington

Stanford University

Phoenix College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Emmett

Birth City, State, Country

Phoenix

HM ID

CHA10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Arizona

Favorite Vacation Destination

Assateague, Maryland

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

10/24/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

10/14/2019

Short Description

Environmental scientist and biochemist Emmett Chappelle (1925 - 2019) was honored as one of the top 100 African American scientist and engineers of the 20th century for the many impacts of his research in bioluminescence, light produced by living organisms.

Employment

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

Hazelton Laboratories

RIAS Martin M.

Johns Hopkins University

United States Army

Meharry Medical College

Stanford University

Research Institute for Advanced Studies

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:10010,41:11000,53:12430,68:13310,77:14850,93:15400,99:16778,119:17090,124:25021,179:25930,190:45960,292:46680,303:51540,355:51896,360:52341,366:57290,424:58486,439:59590,454:60418,465:61890,482:63546,506:65018,523:68422,579:68790,584:72027,595:76185,659:102967,861:103849,879:110023,1044:110275,1049:112291,1080:112543,1089:112921,1096:121201,1154:121817,1164:127642,1234:128410,1245:129082,1256:147348,1414:148296,1440:149165,1453:153788,1525:154158,1531:156970,1569:167590,1628:170410,1634:170810,1639:204768,1772:209553,1833:210336,1842:210945,1897:217770,1929:218561,1938:234168,2090:243950,2122:244186,2127:274871,2323:276345,2353:279684,2375:280098,2382:280719,2392:281409,2406:290375,2489:292500,2511:295380,2545$0,0:2796,34:5798,45:6410,56:6682,61:7430,74:7838,81:14162,170:14866,178:18900,207:19140,212:20460,251:35100,393:38858,411:40198,423:51670,487:55782,529:57594,551:58039,557:59730,592:80950,763:82700,800:83260,806:83820,816:84590,829:85150,838:87950,909:88580,920:89350,934:89980,944:90400,952:90680,961:100939,1023:101596,1035:102253,1052:103202,1066:104151,1075:104735,1084:112889,1130:124037,1178:125109,1196:125377,1201:126382,1239:127454,1258:127722,1263:128258,1276:131062,1288:133171,1318:133726,1326:134281,1332:135864,1370:140838,1414:144374,1499:150344,1542:151658,1558:152388,1569:154943,1631:156038,1654:157279,1674:157571,1679:164214,1805:165309,1836:180840,1912:183348,1929:196804,1979:197260,1986:197640,1992:197944,1997:205885,2068:206145,2074:206860,2091:207120,2097:207640,2107:209655,2159:218270,2208:218598,2213:220715,2228:221395,2238:226300,2251:230980,2262:234700,2281:243761,2317:244585,2326:257370,2399:257955,2410:258475,2420:258800,2427:260230,2454:265994,2533:273390,2567:273690,2572:275746,2580:277042,2601:280606,2640:286070,2659:286961,2671:287852,2682:294878,2726:298126,2749:324286,2877:324958,2887:326218,2905:326890,2915:335762,3009:336234,3018:340244,3042:340564,3048:367710,3156:368190,3162:370626,3175:385593,3272:385949,3277:389082,3297:411940,3399:425789,3470:431626,3500:432282,3509:433266,3524:433676,3530:446286,3606:446801,3612:447522,3633:457460,3692
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Emmett Chappelle slates the interview and shares his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his mother's growing up in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Emmett Chappelle talks about how his father moved the family to Arizona

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his parents and the similarities between him and his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his siblings and shares his childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Emmett Chappelle remembers some of the sights, sounds, and smells from his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his childhood schools

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Emmett Chappelle talks about how his interest in science developed

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Emmett Chappelle talks about living in the desert as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Emmett Chappelle talks about the radio and newspapers of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his high school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his speech impediment

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his experience in the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his experience in Italy during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his experience at Phoenix College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his wife and why he changed his major to biochemistry

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Emmett Chappelle talks about teaching at Meharry Medical College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his experience at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Emmett Chappelle discusses his research at Stanford University and the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his research at the Research Institute for Advanced Studies in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his experience as an astrochemist at Hazelton Laboratories and his extraterrestrial research

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Emmett Chappelle discusses his discoveries in bioluminescence

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his research at the Goddard Space Flight Center and Johns Hopkins University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Emmett Chappelle discusses his research in fluorescents as well as his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Emmett Chappelle discusses his hopes for the African American community and talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Emmett Chappelle talks about his students and his military awards

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Emmett Chappelle tells the story of how he learned how to swim

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Emmett Chappelle describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Emmett Chappelle talks about his experience as an astrochemist at Hazelton Laboratories and his extraterrestrial research
Emmett Chappelle discusses his discoveries in bioluminescence
Transcript
Okay, now, from '63' [1963] to 1966, you worked as a biochemist for Hazelton Laboratories in Falls Church [Virginia]. What project were you working on there?$$I was developing a system for determining if there was life on other planets.$$Okay. Now, so you were there for a fairly long time working on this, right?$$Um-hum.$$Okay, from what I have here, they would call you an exobiologist, right?$$(No audible response).$$Someone who is engaged in the search for extraterrestrial life and the effects of extraterrestrial surroundings on living organisms.$$Um-hum.$$Okay, so at this point, you become an astrochemist, right. So how do--$$(Laughter).$$--you like that title (laughter)?$$I never considered myself as an astrochemist, even though that was the title they put on me. I was always, considered myself a biochemist.$$Okay, now, did you, if you told somebody you were looking for, you were trying to determine if there was extraterrestrial life, what kind of conversations would you have with people? I mean would they think it was like something that's impossible or what did people think then?$$Well, they wouldn't know what to think. I'm still not sure whether or not there's life on other planets.$$Do you think it's likely?$$I think it's likely. It's not life as we know it here on earth. But I think it's likely that there's, there are organisms up there that reproduce.$$And so you're saying that there are definitely organisms in space that we produce here?$$What?$$You're saying there're organisms in space right now that we produce here in, on earth?$$Well, I'm saying that there's most likely life out there that will reproduce in their own environment, which is (unclear) a criterion of life, the ability to reproduce.$$Okay, now, the target of your design, the instruments that you were designing was the Viking I Mission [the first successful NASA spacecraft to Mars] which occurred in 1975, right?$$That was supposed to be the vehicle on which my experiment would be flown, Viking.$$All right, so was it? I mean did you have experiments--$$It never flew.$$It never flew. Okay. All right. What happened? Why didn't it fly?$$That's a good question. They decided that the experiment which I designed was too specific, that it would call for life, to be too close to life here on earth, and that most likely, it wouldn't work.$$Or it wouldn't detect something that might be close to life on earth, but not quite--$$Um-hum.$$Okay. Okay, so, but Viking did, Viking flew, but your instrumentation didn't go?$$Right.$Okay, all right. All right, now, also, now, working on this project, you became interested in bioluminescence, right?$$(No audible response).$$And tell us how that took place. What is bioluminescence, and what happened during the project to get you interested in it?$$You've seen a fire fly, haven't you?$$Yes, sir.$$Well, that's bioluminescence. You can, you can take those fire flies and grind them up and extract the enzyme, mix it with Adenosine Triphosphate and get light.$$Now, this I kind of a code method of producing light, right? I mean using something that's not, you know, on fire or--$$Um-hum.$$--something without a spark?$$You could call it that.$$Yeah, so is there any heat produced from this light?$$No measurable heat.$$Okay, so are you the first then--I read that you were the first person to discover the chemical composition of bioluminescence, right?$$Yes.$$Okay, all right, so, and that's why you're in the Inventors Hall of Fame, is that true, because of this?$$Yes.$$Okay, and so, how was, how long did it take you to, you know, come up with the chemical composition of bioluminescence and--$$It took years.$$So, when, I mean how many years, I mean approximately how many years did it take to do that?$$What?$$Approximately, how many years did it take you to discover this?$$Approximately three.$$Three years, okay. All right, that's not a very long time. But, so did you--now, as a biochemist, I didn't ask you this before, but I guess this is a good time--now is as good a time as any. What's the day-to-day activities of a biochemist working on the projects that you were working on? I mean how soon do you get to the laboratory, and how many breaks do you get, and--$$(Laughter).$$(Laughter) Is it a short work week or do you have time to play cards or do you, I mean what is the--or do you have to work real hard or what? What is it like?$$Oh, a biochemist is a person who investigates the chemistry of living organisms.$$Okay, well, I was asking about your routine. What do you do?$$(Laughter) What do you mean by my routine?$$Well, what you do, you know, every day after you get up and get dressed and ready to go to work, what do you do at work?$$Well, you go into your laboratory and carry out experiments, hopefully, designed to answer questions as to, as to what are the chemical reactions involved in carrying out a certain biological reaction.$$Okay, typically, would you have a number of assistants or an assistant, or did you have to do everything by yourself or what?$$Usually, you have an assistant.$$Okay, so with this kind of investigation on the properties of bioluminescence, did you utilize electronic measurement devices as well as--$$Yes. You have to use electronic devices to measure the light.$$Okay, can you give us any more detail or--(laughter) are we out of luck (laughter)?$$(Laughter). (Unclear)$$Okay.$$You start out with the fire fly which you have to obtain by way. Either you catch it yourself or you pay the little kids to run around catching them for you. Then you bring them into the lab. You chop off their tails, grind them up and get a solution out of these ground-up tails which contains the enzyme sulforates (ph.) (unclear) and the cofactor Luciferin. You add Adenosine Triphosphate to that mixture and you get light. Adenosine Triphosphate is usually called ATP, which is found in all living organisms. And we were able to use that reaction to, to measure the bacteria in infected urine samples and some of the reaction mixture to the urine sample and measure the amount of light we get.$$Okay, so, well, we're gonna pause here, and then we'll pick up again.$$Okay.$$'Cause I understand like what, yeah.

Diola Bagayoko

Scientist and educator Diola Bagayoko was born on December 12, 1948, and earned his B.S. degree in chemistry and physics from the Ecole Normale Superieure (ENSup) in Mali, West Africa in 1973. Prior to that, he received formal training in the theory and practice of teaching and learning from ENSup. During his undergraduate education, Bagayoko also taught high school physics and chemistry in Sikasso, Mali, West Africa. In 1978, Bagayoko received his M.S. degree in solid state physics from Lehigh University, and in 1983, he earned his PhD degree in theoretical solid state physics form Louisiana State University. After earning his PhD degree, Bagayoko served as a physics lecturer at the University of Benghazi in Libya, North African. In 1984, Bagayoko became an assistant professor of physics Southern University in Baton Rouge Louisiana. He was promoted to associate professor in 1989.

In 1990-91, Bagayoko established the nationally Timbuktu Academy in Baton Rouge, using experience gained through his years of mentoring. The Timbuktu Academy is a program and resource center based at Southern University that offers pre-college and undergraduate students a chance to pursue scientific fields. Funding comes from the Office of Naval Research, the Department of the Navy, and the National Science Foundation (NSF), among others. Bagayoko has also served as director of the academy since its inception. In 1999, Bagayoko was promoted to distinguished professor in f physics and beginning in 2002, he also served as adjunct professor of mathematics and science education.

In addition to his teaching and mentoring, Bagayoko worked as a consultant for several organizations, including the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Bagayoko as published over eighty scientific research articles on condensed matter physics and properties of metals, as well as over fifty papers concerning science education. Diola Bagayoko works in Baton, Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife, who is also on the faculty at Southern University.

Diola Bagayoko was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on [month, day, year].

Accession Number

A2012.186

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/18/2012

Last Name

Bagayoko

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Louisiana State University

Lehigh University

Ecole Normale Superieure de Bamako

Lycee Prosper Kamara

Ecole Fondamentale de N'Tomikorobougou

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Diola

Birth City, State, Country

Bamako

HM ID

BAG02

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

A youngster should be very studious. -translated from Dinka

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

12/12/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

Mali

Favorite Food

Stew (Peanut Butter), Seafood, Gumbo

Short Description

Physicist Diola Bagayoko (1948 - ) a native of Mali, West Africa, is the founder of the internationally- renowned Timbuktu Academy and the Southern University System Distinguished Professor of Physics.

Employment

Southern University

Timbuktu Academy

University of Grayounis

Louisiana State University

Lycee de Sikasso

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
60,0:627,9:1356,21:2085,32:2814,43:3543,53:21170,182:38120,419:68162,730:72686,805:124630,1292$0,0:1040,9:2080,25:2480,31:3760,54:4320,62:5360,80:24210,232:37776,387:46178,447:49622,492:60390,582:78906,766:103067,1039:116407,1148:118060,1171:120235,1206:128515,1296:160730,1681:172655,1895:200932,2202:211885,2287:212177,2292:231155,2589:233875,2639:236703,2651:249060,2823:252280,2849:254405,2871:254830,2877:257290,2884:264410,2993:285520,3198:288735,3226:292169,3280:295199,3338:295805,3345:296815,3356:299744,3397:300249,3403:304890,3425:305813,3441:306239,3448:307943,3487:311714,3523:316302,3575:318966,3616:321852,3659:330038,3716:332792,3739:338543,3822:369740,4102
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Diola Bagayoko's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Diola Bagayoko lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Diola Bagayoko describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Diola Bagayoko describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his family and upbringing in Bamako, Mali

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Diola Bagayoko describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Diola Bagayoko describes the kinship of the Keita family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Diola Bagayoko describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his siblings

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

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his father's hunting in Bamako, Mali

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Diola Bagayoko talks about deforestation in Mali

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Diola Bagayoko talks about the wildlife in Mali

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Diola Bagayoko talks about Mali's independence

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Diola Bagayoko describes the differences between French and American education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his experience at The School of N'tomikorobougou

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his education in Mali

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his grade school mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Diola Bagayoko talks about African naming conventions

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his studies at the School of N'tomikorobougou

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his high school experience and role models

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Diola Bagayoko talks about Malian music - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Diola Bagayoko talks about Malian music - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Diola Bagayoko compares STEM instruction in Mali to of that in America

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Diola Bagayoko talks about challenges with STEM education for underrepresented minorities in the U.S.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his decision to attend Ecole Normale Superieure de Bamako

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his experience and mentors at Ecole Normale Superieure de Bamako

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his experience at Lehigh University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his experience at Louisiana State University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his level of STEM preparation

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Diola Bagayoko describes his dissertation on the electronic properties of iron in the face center cubic structure

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Diola Bagayoko describes how he met his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his experience at the University of Benghazi

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Diola Bagayoko talks about teaching at Southern University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Diola Bagayoko talks about naming Timbuktu Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Diola Bagayoko talks about Timbuktu Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his professional activities at the Louisiana Space Consortium and Southern University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Diola Bagayoko talks about the Louis Stokes Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation program

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Diola Bagayoko talks about receiving the Ciwara D' Exception National Award

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Diola Bagayoko talks about women wearing gold in Mali

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his funding opportunities

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his professional awards

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Diola Bagayoko talks about the implementation of the Timbuktu Academy mentoring model at other HBCUs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Diola Bagayoko reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Diola Bagayoko talks about the importance of mentorship and access

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Diola Bagayoko reflects upon his life decisions

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his children

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Diola Bagayoko talks about the political discord in Mali

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Diola Bagayoko talks about the BZW method

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Diola Bagayoko talks about his colleagues' significant contributions to his career

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Diola Bagayoko talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Diola Bagayoko describes his photographs

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Diola Bagayoko describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
Diola Bagayoko talks about his grade school mentors
Transcript
What are some of the sights and sounds and smells of growing up?$$Growing up? I would have to say what you will hear, what you will see or you will feel in the countryside. That's where my earliest childhood was, in the countryside. And I can still remember the reason blue is my preferred color is that when I was three, four--remember, we didn't have any electricity out there, and at night when the sky is clear, when you look up, when you looked up at those days, you will see this fabulously blue star shining and twinkling. I could spend minutes, I would not say hour, but certainly minutes admiring this. Of course, asking myself how far are we from this and what are they made of, you come, all those other questions that come to my mind. So that is the sight which is still basically in my mind. And as for the rest, it's the countryside, the animals around, the sheep or cattle and so even though we were not in the compound, but I saw them and passed them and heard them and the rain. So it was a typical thing one would hear in the country. And let's not forget the singing of the birds, yeah, because I did hear birds or sometimes very many different varieties. It varied with the seasons, but that's again, something else I remember fondly. And, yep, that's about it.$Okay, so before we leave grade school, were there any special teachers there or mentors that you were particularly close to in school?$$Yes, indeed.$$Okay.$$First, the school principal. He was actually instrumental in seeing to it that I continue my studies because, ironically, even though I was at top of my classes, every single exam, number one, no if's, and's and but's about it. However, there were some colonial, literally colonial rules saying that if you don't, if you are under a certain age by the time you go to the middle school-level, which was the seventh, eighth, nine, then that you should not go. So it is that, the director, who managed to overcome that colonial rule for me to go, to continue my studies. Otherwise, I would have been stopped right there. So this is one example, again, I call a mentor, which I can't forget because you see, that's all it would have taken to take me out of the game completely. And then after him, when I went to seventh, eighth, nine grade, I met a French teacher whose name was Robert Verdier, Verdier, V-E-R-D-I-E-R--Robert is like Robert in the American spelling, who liked my work so much that when he, the first year he had me as a student, when he went to France, he literally bought all the books I know that were written by the most famous or all the French writers, Victor Hugo, and brought them to me. Well, then at the time, I said, thank you, all right. But I said, I told myself, the only way I can thank this man appropriately will be to read every single one of these books as I tell myself, forward and backward, okay. Well, as a way of saying, reading them very, very well. And I did. By the end of that, my vocabulary ballooned in a way where I was almost going to be arrogant (laughter) because at the time, I knew--until now, I just knew a new phrase, no doubt about it. And I didn't hesitate to tell anybody that I knew a phrase, period. And, but again, Verdier, Robert Verdier, didn't have to give me those books and these cost money, serious money. By doing so, this encouragement was so stimulating and inspiring for me that I tried to thank him the best I know how by learning the material. And as a result, that has played a crucial role in my education, because, guess what? Because in the high school and so on, of course, I was, in my own terms, shining like the rising sun in French in addition to my metaphysics and chemistry, of course, which was my (unclear) area, and in philosophy and so on because of my (unclear) of the language. And, but also I come to, I came to the realization that many of my colleagues who have problems with physics and mathematics, and who I was tutoring, had more problem with French than they had physics or mathematics. Now, that was a discovery for me. They were not understanding the questions. So, and then, again, to make a long story short, when I left high school and left, after I left Mali, from '75' [1975] to eighty--'78' [1978] or so, I didn't have any contact with French. But when I still took the French graduate--it comes out of Princeton somewhere, the French graduate language exam, my score was still a perfect one. I credit all of that to that gentleman's work.$$And also, there's another aspect to this too is that, the works of Hugo [Victor Hugo]--$$Yep.$$--you know, speak to French history on some level.$$It does.$$And a look at the world where you look at the problems of the common person--$$Correct.$$--as they confront power.$$Absolutely, absolutely. And some of the, because he wrote some poems too, and I recited some of his very long poems that were also exercises by the way for, mental exercises. So it, it--those were my two famous, the two that jump, whose names just jump at me when you posed that question at N'tomikorobougou, yes.$$All right, what was the principal's name? Do you remember?$$Oh, Ousmane Maiga, O-U-S-M-A-N-E. That is his first name. Maiga is M-A-I--with two dots on top, G-A. In fact, I have it, if I'm not mistaken, yeah, I have this noted on that document I gave you.$$Okay.$$I have it written there.

Jeannette Brown

Organic chemist and historian, Jeannette E. Brown was born in Bronx, New York on May 13, 1934 to Freddie Brown, a building superintendant and Ada Brown. At age six, Brown was inspired by her family doctor, Arthur C. Logan, to pursue a career in science. Brown graduated from New Dorp High School on Staten Island in 1952 and in 1956, she received her B.S. degree in chemistry from Hunter College as one of two African Americans in the first class of Hunter College's new chemistry program. Brown then earned her M.S. degree in organic chemistry in 1958 from the University of Minnesota and was the first African American female to do so. Her thesis was entitled, “Study of Dye and Ylide Formation in Salts of 9-(P-dimethylaminophenyl) Flourene.”

After earning her M.S. degree, Brown joined CIBA Pharmaceutical Company as a research chemist, where she developed drugs for diseases such as tuberculosis and coccidiosis, which afflicts chickens. In 1969, Brown was hired by Merck & Co. Research Laboratories where she continued synthesizing compounds for testing as potential new drugs. In 1986, she was appointed chairperson of the Project SEED Committee for the American Chemical Society. She served on the faculty at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) from 1993 to 2002 as a visiting professor of chemistry and faculty associate. Beginning in 1998, Brown also served as the regional director of the New Jersey Statewide System Initiative, improving science education in Essex and Hudson counties. In 2008, Brown contributed seven biographies of African American chemists for the African American National Biography, including those of Dr. Marie Daly and Dr. Jennie Patrick, the first African American women to receive their Ph.D. degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering, respectively. She went on to publish her own book in 2011 entitled, African American Women Chemists .

Brown has received recognition including outstanding alumni awards from both Hunter College and the University of Minnesota. Throughout her career, she has been involved in countless professional societies including the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCCHE) and the American Chemical Society (ACS). In 2007, Brown was an Association of Women in Science (AWIS) fellow. She also earned recognition as an American Chemical Society fellow and a Chemical Heritage Foundation Ullyott Scholar.

Jeannette Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 01/16/2012.

Accession Number

A2012.010

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/16/2012

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Middle Name

E

Occupation
Schools

New Dorp High School

Hunter College

University of Minnesota

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jeannette

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

BRO51

Favorite Season

Winter

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

101 years ago.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

5/13/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hillsborough

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Organic chemist Jeannette Brown (1934 - ) is the first African American woman to earn an M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota's chemistry department and is the author of, 'African American Women Chemists'.

Employment

CIBA Pharmaceutical Company

Merck & Co.

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jeannette Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown describes her mother's history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about her mother's education and work experience

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown describes her father's history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jeannette Brown talks about racism in North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jeannette Brown discusses her father's education and work experience

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jeannette Brown describes her parents' early life together

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jeannette Brown describes her relationship with her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown talks about her relationship with her father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown remembers the her early childhood years

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown talks about having tuberculosis and her early interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown reminisces about her early school days in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown talks about Winthrop Junior High School and growing up in New York's Flatbush area

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jeannette Brown remembers her time at Prospect Heights High School and New Dorp High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown talks about her study of science in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown talks about preparing for college and deciding which college to attend

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown talks about studying chemistry at Hunter College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about why she chose to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown discusses her research and her discovery of liquid crystals

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown remembers the racial climate in Minnesota in 1958

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown describes attitudes about blacks and women at University of Minnesota in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown talks about her days in the laboratory at Ciba Pharmaceuticals

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about the history of the United States chemical industry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown tells about her career at Merck Pharmaceuticals

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown describes her work on Primaxin at Merck Pharmaceuticals

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown reflects on her work as a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown talks about NOBCChE, Dr. Marie Daley, and her interest in history

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about her difficulty at Merck Pharmaceuticals, including an adverse physical reaction

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown describes the atmosphere at Merck Pharmaceuticals and mentoring other black female chemists

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jeannette Brown talks about her work at Merck Pharmaceuticals to attract more African Americans chemists

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown talks about students she met at Grambling State University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown talks about her induction into Iota Sigma Pi Honor Society

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown talks about her work with the American Chemical Society and economically disadvantaged youth

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about her work with the National Science Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown discusses the Percy Julian Task Force and the research for her book

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jeannette Brown talks about the female scientists featured in her book about Africaa American Female Chemists

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jeannette Brown shares the response to her book and need for science education

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jeannette Brown talks about the need for quality science education

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jeannette Brown reflects on the ethical responsibility of chemists

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jeannette Brown talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jeannette Brown reflects on her career, her successes, and her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jeannette Brown talks about her family life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jeannette Brown talks about her hobbies

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jeannette Brown tells how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jeannette Brown shares photos

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Jeannette Brown talks about having tuberculosis and her early interest in science
Jeannette Brown tells about her career at Merck Pharmaceuticals
Transcript
Okay, now, tell me if I'm moving ahead too fast, but I know at a certain juncture, you got sick, right? And --$$Oh, yeah, when I was a little--okay, we, as I might have said, we lived in Washington Heights, New York [New York], and we lived at 436 West 160th Street. And that's where my father [Freddie Brown] was super. At age four or five, I got very ill, and they put me in the hospital. Columbia University Medical School [New York, New York] had a place called Vanderbilt Clinic which is up in Washington Heights, where we used to go all the time. One of the doctors there, and I think, as I look back on it, Arthur Logan, he was an intern there at that time. But he lived in the house that we lived in. And so he was my doctor. They put me in Babies Hospital [Babies and Children's Hospital of New York, New York, New York]. I remember being in a crib. I thought I was in jail (laughter). I think I saw all the bars around me. And so when I got better, I think what I had was living in New York, I had Infantile TB [Tuberculosis]. I think that's what I had. But anyway, so living in New York, when I saw Dr. Logan later on, 'cause he lived in my building, I said, "Well, how do you become a scientist?" And, oh, no, "How do you become a doctor?" He said, "Oh, you study science," you know. And I have a picture, in fact, when I saw the five year olds at the Science Museum the other day, I said, Ah, they were that small and so was I. You know, I looked up at him, and I said, "Okay." And I decided that, yeah, Science was something that I'm gonna learn because I wanted to be a doctor like Dr. Logan.$$Now, was Dr. Logan a black doctor?$$Um-hum.$$Okay.$$Yeah, Arthur Logan. There is a wing of Harlem Hospital [Harlem Hospital Center, New York, New York] named for him.$$Okay.$$I now talk to his--Adele Logan was his daughter, and they lived in the house. And she was about two or three years younger than I am. And we've met as adults. And I've got a, I've got to tell her that my book is out. I have, you know, because I've met, I've talked to her since. And she's a writer too.$$Okay, Adele--$$Adele Logan, yeah.$$Okay.$$Adele, I'm wanna think of what her married name is, oh, Adele Logan Alexander. That's her married name.$$What kind of books does she write?$$She wrote history. She's a historian. And she wrote her family history in, on her mother's side, not on her father's side.$$Okay, all right, all right. Okay, so then were you consciously thinking of concentrating on Science when you were in school then, as a result of that?$$Yeah, somehow or other, it's--I don't know. He [Dr. Arthur Logan] must have made an impression on me, and I decided, oh, yes, Science sounds like fun. The, where we lived in forty--in the Washington Heights, the library was right across the street. So I would go there for story hour. And my mother would take me across the street. It was, it wasn't a very big, you know, big street with a lot of traffic. And we'd go for story hour. And later on in years, I would go to the library, I started looking up books about what they called space at the time because there was no space travel. And as we moved from house to house 'cause my father, as I said, would get the job as a superintendent. And that included an apartment. So when he would lose that job, he would get to another job. We went to the Bronx [New York], and when I was in third grade. And I remember this, in third-grade class that I lived in--that I had there, was the Science room. So I sat right next to the fish, the goldfish bowl. I had goldfish too that I worked on as a Scientist. I think I killed 'em. And so we moved to the Bronx, and then the next job was in Brooklyn [New York]. So we moved to Brooklyn, and I was still interested in Science and things like that. So we had two jobs in Brooklyn that my father, you know, my father was the superintendent, the super's kid. And, but I was still, you know, I wanted to learn, and I wanted to be a scientist because I wanted to be a doctor. So I was always interested in, you know, learning everything there was to learn. One of the reasons why we moved out of Manhattan to the Bronx was the first grade--well, I, we skipped kindergarten.$$$Okay, well, tell us about Merck?$$Yeah, well, one of the reasons why I got to Merck was one of the women who worked with me in Ciba, her husband was a manager at Merck. And he was--this was, the Civil Rights Act had come. He was mandated to go out and look for African Americans in Science. Well, I said, well, I wanted to change jobs. So I was talking to my girlfriend, and she says, "Oh, I'll ask my husband." And so she did. And he brought me in for an interview. And they really wanted me. They wanted me, I guess, also because of my--I had, by that time I had some publications, I guess, from Ciba or pretty close and my expertise. But when I looked, later on when I looked at my personnel file, which I could, the very first page, which they forgot to take off, said, "to be filled by an African American", and I went "Umm". And the woman who was showing it to me happened to be, the personnel, head of personnel, an African American woman chemist. And she, she nearly died that they had forgotten to take that page out, the first page. But anyway, so I was hired at Merck. And all the guys said, oh, well, you came in as a legacy because of the Civil Rights. And, no, I came because of my, you know, my credentials, you know. I could do independent research, and while I was there I did. I mean what I liked about Merck was they would give me a project, and, you know, we all work in teams. So I would be, I would have a piece of the project that the team was going to work on. And you're gonna work, mostly I liked to do cyclopropyl compounds 'cause I had done that at Ciba. And so, okay, you'll do the cyclopropyl derivative. And so I would go off and study how to make this compound and come up with a plan and try to implement the plan. We would get together in group meetings and I'd get some advice from my bosses or the other members of the group. But most of the time in the lab, we were just doing our own thing. When we got together with a group, then they would say, okay, do this, do that, do other things. Once we got a target and a compound, then we'd just go do it and come up with it--and later on in our career, we started to have deadlines because it was management by objectives. And so we had to have objectives and by the year--by the third quarter, we will have, and by the fourth quarter, we will have. And we needed to have compounds ready for the biologists to test by Friday. Okay, if my compound is not ready, you know, totally analyzed and ready to go by Friday--well, if I didn't think it was gonna be there by Friday, I, you know, just worked, you know. You'd go in the labs, you know, 24 hours or whatever, Saturday, Sunday or whatever, to get the job done 'cause I had to have it there for the biologist who was gonna do the tests. And he was ready with--and he or she were ready with their animals or whatever they want to test it on.$$Okay, what kinds of things did you work on--well, let me pause here for a second. And then we'll pick up after--.