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Anthony Johnson

Physicist Anthony M. Johnson was born on May 23, 1954 in Brooklyn, New York to James W. Johnson and Helen Y. Johnson. He initially wanted to study math or chemistry in college until a teacher at Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn, New York introduced him to physics. Johnson attended the Polytechnic Institute of New York where he graduated magna cum laude with his B.S. degree in physics in 1975. He went on to earn his Ph.D. degree in physics from the City College of New York in 1981. Johnson conducted his thesis research at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey with support from the Bell Labs Cooperative Research Fellowship Program.

Upon graduation, Johnson was hired at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey as a member of the technical staff in the Quantum Physics and Electronics Research Department. In 1988, Johnson was promoted as a distinguished member of Bell Labs technical staff; and, in 1990, he became part of the Photonic Circuits Research Department. Johnson joined the faculty of the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1995 where he served as chairperson, distinguished professor of applied physics, and professor of electrical and computer engineering. In 2003, Johnson was named as Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research (CASPR). He was then appointed as professor of physics, computer science, and electrical engineering at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) where his research focused on ultrafast optics and optoelectronics.

Johnson has authored two book chapters, over seventy scholarly articles, and he has been credited with four U.S. Patents. In addition, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Optics Letters from 1995 to 2001. Between 1991 and 2000, Johnson was elected as a Fellow into several academic and professional organizations, including the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was a 1992 Charter Fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). In 1993, Johnson received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Polytechnic University; and, in 1994, he was honored with the Black Engineer of the Year Special Recognition Award. The American Physical Society presented Johnson with the Edward A. Bouchet Award in 1996. In 2002, Johnson became the first African American to serve as president of the Optical Society of America.

Johnson is married to Dr. Adrienne S. Johnson. They have three adult children, Kimberly, Justin, and Brandon.

Anthony M. Johnson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 24, 201

Accession Number

A2013.167

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/25/2013

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

City College of New York

Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Anthony

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

JOH44

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brisbane, Australia

Favorite Quote

Work hard, play hard.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

5/23/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

seafood, Chitterlings

Short Description

Physicist Anthony Johnson (1954 - ) , a 1992 Charter Fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists, became the first African American elected as president of the Optical Society of American in 2002.

Employment

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)

Bell Laboratories

Favorite Color

Electric Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Anthony Johnson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Anthony Johnson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Anthony Johnson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Anthony Johnson talks about his parents

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

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Anthony Johnson talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Anthony Johnson describes his childhood household

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Anthony Johnson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Anthony Johnson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Anthony Johnson talks about his interests as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Anthony Johnson describes becoming interested in physics

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Anthony Johnson talks about his elementary and junior high schools

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Anthony Johnson talks about his junior high and high schools

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Anthony Johnson remembers when the first astronaut was put on the moon

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Anthony Johnson describes his high school interest in science and science fiction

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Anthony Johnson talks about his high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Anthony Johnson describes his decision to pursue his doctoral degree in physics

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Anthony Johnson describes being encouraged go to college

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Anthony Johnson describes his time at the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Anthony Johnson talks about his summer at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Anthony Johnson talks about his undergraduate research at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Anthony Johnson describes his undergraduate research at Bell Laboratories and bachelor's thesis pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Anthony Johnson describes his undergraduate research at Bell Laboratories and bachelor's thesis pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Anthony Johnson describes how he met his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Anthony Johnson describes his graduate education at Bell Laboratories and the City University of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Anthony Johnson describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Anthony Johnson describes being hired by Bell Laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Anthony Johnson talks about his first experience with the Optical Society of America

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Anthony Johnson describes his research at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Anthony Johnson talks about the affirmative action program at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Anthony Johnson reflects on his career at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Anthony Johnson describes his involvement in his professional organizations

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Anthony Johnson talks about his patents at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Anthony Johnson talks about the low numbers of African American physics doctorates

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Anthony Johnson describes his transition from Bell Laboratories to the New Jersey Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Anthony Johnson talks about African American graduate students in physics

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Anthony Johnson describes his transition from the New Jersey Institute of Technology to the University of Maryland Baltimore County pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Anthony Johnson describes his transition from the New Jersey Institute of Technology to the University of Maryland Baltimore County pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Anthony Johnson talks about the Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment Center

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Anthony Johnson talks about measuring light and the non-linearity of fibers

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Anthony Johnson describes the quantum cascade laser

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Anthony Johnson talks about the future of laser technology

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Anthony Johnson talks about the limitations of short pulses

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Anthony Johnson talks about the minority programs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Anthony Johnson talks about the physics department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Anthony Johnson talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Anthony Johnson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Anthony Johnson reflects on his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Anthony Johnson talks about the encouragement of his parents

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Anthony Johnson talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

9$6

DATitle
Anthony Johnson talks about his summer at Bell Laboratories
Anthony Johnson talks about his patents at Bell Laboratories
Transcript
So, tell us about the Bell Labs [Bell Laboratories] experience in detail, since this is a big deal.$$This was a big deal. So, and it was, you know, it was different, because I had never really left Brooklyn [New York]. So, so I got, I applied to the program. The professor got me the application and I applied, and I got in. And so we had two locations in New Jersey--Murray Hill, New Jersey and Holmdel, New Jersey. Those were the two big research labs. And so, this was called the Bell Labs Summer Research Program for minorities and women. We call it SRP, Summer Research Program. It started in 1974. And so, I was given a choice of working with two physicists who went on to become, you know, very world famous. One was David Austin. And he was doing lasers and opto-electronics. He, after he left Bell Labs he went, he became dean of engineering at Columbia [University, New York, New York]. Then he went on to become provost at Rice University [Houston, Texas], and president of Case Western Reserve [University, Cleveland, Ohio]. And then he finally ended up at--well, he was president of the Covey Institute in Santa Barbara [California]. And they are a philanthropic organization, and does a lot of work in physics. And now he's at UC Santa Barbara [University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California]. And I still keep close ties with him, because he became one of my Ph.D. thesis advisors, eventually. So, my connection with him was very, very strong. And then the other person I had the opportunity to--because I had a choice that first year. His name was Robert Dynes, D-Y-N-E-S. And he was a big name in superconductivity, low temperature physics. But I picked, I think I was more interested in lasers. And I picked Dave Austin, and that was my choice. And how I got into the field altogether was working with him.$Before we leave Bell [Laboratories], I want to ask you about your patents. You've been a part of a number of patents.$$Right. So, I have patents. I have four patents, and they all have to do with high speed optoelectronic devices. And that was, again, quite interesting. And working the patent attorneys and working with my colleagues. I mean they were all, they were not solo, they were collaborations with other researchers at Bell Labs. And I think I have four of those patents. And again, all high speed opto-electronics nature--high speed laser, a device--and we wrote a patent on that. And one of them, I remember has to do with trying to come up with a measurement capability to look at high speed integrated circuits. So you have these, this metallization on the optoelectronic device. And I came up with, with my colleague, we came up with a measurement that where we could actually image the electrical pulse traveling down the transmission line. And we did it by a process called photoemission. We would shine light on the electrode, and the electrons would come off, alright, by the process of photoemission. So, we would, we would do that and then by looking at the timing of when the electrical pulse went in--and when we would use a focus, an optical beam--we could actually get an image of this pulse traveling down the transmission line. And we could measure its speed, whether there were dispersion issues on it, what was slowing it down. And if we could improve that, we might be able to improve the performance of the device. So this was an imaging, a very high speed imaging process, to look at integrated circuits.