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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.

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.

Sekazi Mtingwa

Research physicist and physics professor Sekazi K. Mtingwa was born on October 20, 1949 in Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving his B.S. degrees in physics and pure mathematics (Phi Beta Kappa) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1971, Mtingwa enrolled at Princeton University and graduated from there with his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in theoretical high energy physics in 1976. Mtingwa was awarded doctoral fellowships from the National Fellowships Fund and the Ford Foundation. Upon graduation, he was awarded post-doctoral fellowships and research assistantships at the University of Rochester, the University of Maryland at College Park, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab).

In 1981, Mtingwa joined Fermilab as a research physicist where he, along with James Bjorken, developed a theory of particle beam dynamics, “intrabeam scattering,” which standardized the performance limitations on a wide class of modern accelerators. Mtingwa also played an important role in the design and construction of two of the Antiproton Source accelerator systems at Fermilab that were used in the discovery of the top quark and other particles. During 1988-1991, Mtingwa joined the staff of Argonne National Laboratory where he performed research on a futuristic accelerator concept called wakefield acceleration. In 1991, Mtingwa joined the faculty at North Carolina A & T State University as Chair and Professor of physics. Mtingwa was named J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Physics at Morgan State University in 1997 and then returned to North Carolina A & T State University in 1999. He served as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor of Physics at MIT from 2001 to 2003. He joined the faculty at Harvard University in 2003, where he served as Visiting Professor of Physics for two years. Returning to MIT in 2006, Mtingwa was named Lead Physics Lecturer in the Concourse Program in the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education. He was also appointed as the Faculty Director of Academic Programs in the Office of Minority Education. In 2011, he became Principal Partner of Triangle Science, Education & Economic Development, LLC and he was appointed Senior Physics Consultant at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

In addition to his research activities, Mtingwa is involved in a number of national and international initiatives. He is a founder of the African Laser Centre (ALC) and was the principal author of the Strategy and Business Plan upon which the ALC is based. In 1977, Mtingwa was a co-founder of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) and served as NSBP President from 1992 to 1994.

Mtingwa has been recognized by national and international organizations for his contributions to science. In 1996, he received the Outstanding Service Award for Contributions to the African American Physics Community from the National Society of Black Physicists. The National Council of Ghanaian Associations honored Mtingwa with the Science Education Award in 2007 for advancing science education among African peoples. Mtingwa was inducted into the African American Biographies Hall of Fame in 1994, and he was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2008.

Sekazi Mtingwa is married to W. Estella Johnson; they have two daughters.

Research physicist and physics professor Sekazi K. Mtingwa was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 6, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.076

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/6/2013

Last Name

Mtingwa

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Kauze

Occupation
Schools

Princeton University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Henry McNeal Turner High School

Alonzo F. Herndon Elementary

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sekazi

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

MTI01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town, South Africa

Favorite Quote

Stay yourself.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

10/20/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hillsborough

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sea Bass (Mediterranean)

Short Description

Nuclear physicist Sekazi Mtingwa (1949 - ) contributed to the design and construction of the accelerator systems used in the discovery of the top quark at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Mtingwa is a founder of the National Society of Black Physicists and the National Society of Hispanic Physicists, and he has made significant contributions to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Harvard University

North Carolina A&T State University

Morgan State University

Argonne National Laboratory

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

University of Rochester

University of Maryland, College Park

Favorite Color

Salmon

Timing Pairs
0,0:3510,150:4290,163:5148,173:6006,187:6630,197:9438,263:10140,274:14340,296:17380,361:17780,367:19380,394:19700,399:23860,468:31591,532:36932,583:38785,599:39657,604:40420,612:41728,627:49167,756:49572,762:50706,780:52326,815:54756,868:59098,900:63702,981:64538,996:64994,1004:72062,1141:72670,1157:73582,1171:77032,1183:81768,1286:82582,1296:83100,1304:86134,1352:94994,1466:95346,1471:95786,1477:101154,1560:106522,1593:109168,1618:117558,1724:120134,1766:128487,1854:136784,2028:139514,2077:140606,2146:156598,2331:160398,2390:165870,2494:171870,2597:175254,2661:177198,2684:177702,2693:184980,2811:185400,2818:185890,2827:188690,2898:188970,2903:192960,2990:202643,3146:204395,3186:204687,3191:205271,3201:206512,3220:210600,3315:211257,3326:230596,3546:233203,3677:233598,3683:241182,3855:241735,3930:247355,4026:247730,4032:249530,4078:251480,4116:254100,4134$0,0:3149,49:3417,54:7035,130:7370,142:7839,150:8107,155:9045,179:9313,184:9983,198:10452,206:11323,221:12328,244:12931,255:14673,286:15142,294:16080,311:16750,322:17554,341:18693,370:19028,376:19497,384:21909,442:22177,447:22981,461:23450,469:24321,485:25125,500:25460,506:27738,561:28207,571:28810,581:29078,586:29480,597:31088,627:31423,633:31758,642:32428,653:33165,668:33433,673:41350,680:42403,697:43132,707:44023,720:46291,747:46939,756:47911,770:48721,781:50260,806:50584,811:51070,819:51961,828:52933,843:54958,870:58934,898:59198,903:60518,935:61046,945:61508,954:63356,999:63620,1004:65534,1046:66128,1057:68108,1108:68702,1120:69296,1132:69626,1138:70220,1150:70748,1159:71672,1175:72464,1191:73124,1203:73586,1211:73916,1217:78264,1248:78648,1256:78904,1261:79544,1272:80376,1287:80888,1296:81656,1311:83576,1368:84408,1384:85304,1406:85624,1412:85880,1417:86136,1422:86456,1428:87288,1448:87928,1463:88248,1469:89336,1491:89912,1504:90552,1518:90872,1524:92088,1545:92344,1550:92664,1556:93112,1565:98040,1581:98530,1589:100360,1612
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sekazi Mtingwa's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his stepfather

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

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his schools

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes when he first decided to become a physicist

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his high school mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about transitioning from high school to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about the formation of the black student union at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about the black student union at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about why he chose physics as his field

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his mentors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about Alexander Pushkin pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about Alexander Pushkin pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his time at Princeton University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about changing his name

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes assisting in the establishment of a university in Tanzania

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes what he did after receiving his doctoral degree from Princeton University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his work at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa explains the Higgs boson, dark matter, and dark energy

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his involvement in the Harold Washington Campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes why he joined the group at Argonne National Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about being featured in several magazines

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his involvement in various African organizations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his physics research as an exchange scholar in the Soviet Union

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about racial prejudice in the field of physics

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about the International Linear Collider

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his time as the Chair of the Physics Department at North Carolina A & T University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his involvement in the African Laser Centre

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes how the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has changed since he was a student

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about visiting Russia for a nuclear waste disposal examination

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa reflects on his awards and recognitions

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his study 'Readiness of the U.S. Nuclear Workforce for Twenty-first Century Problems'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his involvement in President Barack Obama's campaigns

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about being the chair of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Study

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his visit to Tanzania

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his involvement with organization that provide access to scientific instruments

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his involvement in the African Physical Society

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his work on textbooks

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sekazi Mtingwa describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sekazi Mtingwa reflects on his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sekazi Mtingwa reflects on his life

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sekazi Mtingwa talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Sekazi Mtingwa talks about the black student union at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sekazi Mtingwa describes his study 'Readiness of the U.S. Nuclear Workforce for Twenty-first Century Problems'
Transcript
Tell us about the beginnings of the black student union at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts]?$$Okay. So we had a group, maybe about ten students, who would get together informally to meet. And you have to understand that the context of that period, with the Vietnam War, protests going on all over the place, you know, the Black Liberation Movement was in full swing. So, some of us, you know, were a part of that type of way of thinking, and we wanted to try to move MIT ahead. So we formed around 1968, probably the fall of '68 [1968]. The first co-chairs were Shirley Jackson, and I think The HistoryMakers did an interview of her. She's now president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute [Troy, New York]. And James Turner, who was a graduate student--in fact, at that time, they were both graduate students. Shirley was three years ahead of me. So my sophomore year, she was a first-year graduate student. James Turner, I think he must have been about a third or fourth-year graduate student in physics; they were both in physics. And James Turner actually most--he went on to become a top official at the Department of Energy, and most recently, I think, he's been at the Department of Commerce. But he had quite a career at the top levels of federal government. But, yeah, we basically met and we decided, "Hey let's just do this." And so we formed. And we tried to--one of the biggest initiatives was to get more black students into MIT. So we worked hard on that. And so, at the end of my sophomore year going into the junior year, that entering class went from the typical five-ish to fifty-three. And so the numbers have been big ever since. And, in fact, to this day MIT, again, admits only out of a thousand, eleven hundred students; about 20 percent of those are African Americans; and another 20 percent or so are Latino-Americans. So that we've (simultaneous)--$$(Unclear)--$$--come a long ways. Yeah. But it's interesting. One of the interesting things that helped the African American presence is the students who are immigrants or who are children of African Caribbean immigrants, because that's one thing that you note from the names when you meet many of the students. So that has really helped us intellectually. The black community in this country intellectually has been tremendously enhanced by immigrant students. They come here with a parent wanting a better life for their children, and so they come with that, you know, "Go to college, get your degree," and all that. And you can see the pay off. I don't think we could hit 20 percent of the students, African American students, if we didn't have the immigrants.$$They have a good observation.$$Yeah. It's a great thing. I tend to be a Pan-African, is to me, whether you're from the Caribbean, the continental of the U.S., we're all African peoples.$$Is this something you learned at home or something that you--$$No. I got so much at home, but just as I developed as a graduate student--really as a graduate student, I really became, you know, convinced that, you know, we're all the same. And then having traveled to Africa, you know, so many times. I think that the way people colonize, it's just--it's very similar to--the stories you hear are very similar to the stories of people like me out of Jim Crow South.$$Okay. Just in a different location.$$Just in a different location.$$Similar situations.$$Similar situations, yeah. Yeah.$$And--now. All right. So, the BSU [black student union] really made some gains (unclear).$$Oh, yeah. Definitely. Definitely.$$And I know it still exists actually.$$It still exists. It still exists.$$Shot a picture of it when I was there (simultaneous) (unclear)--$$Oh, you did? All right. That was great.$$--I was walking down the hallway and I saw it. And I said, "Oh, this is the famous BSU at MIT." And I thought--I shot it on my phone (simultaneous) (unclear)--$$Oh, really. Okay.$$--as to--yeah.$$(unclear), you know, it's still alive and well.$$Yeah. Yeah. So many of the people we met were a part--$$It was a part of that, yes.$Now, you were on the Nuc-- the 'Readiness of the U.S. Nuclear Workforce.'$$Okay, yeah. So that was a study I did because I'm--we have a real problem with training, you know, the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers. And at one point, the Department of Energy, DOE, was cutting back funding the university programs, so I was concerned. You know, if you start cutting back, who is going to operate? Who's going to design the next generation of nuclear reactors if the people are not being educated? So we did this study, and we pointed out to them, you know, how many people are graduating, how much money is going into the university programs. And this report turned out to be extremely important in convincing DOE to turn its attitude around toward university education. And so since this report, their 20 percent of the nuclear fuel--Research and Development Budget--nuclear fuel cycle, Research and Development Budget is going to universities. So, I mean, that's like a big flip from not wanting to give in until now, 20 percent of your funding is going to universities. And that's important. Most of the money goes to the National Laboratories to work on the big problems of nuclear waste storage and so forth. But you need to have university professors and students working on new ideas. You know, turn them loose and let them dream and pursue blue-sky research, because you don't know what major revolution they may start up; what major breakthrough. And so that was the point of that whole story, to try to get more money going to universities to promote students and new ideas.

Ketevi Assamagan

Physicist Ketevi Adikle Assamagan was born in Port-Gentil, Gabon on March 12th, 1963. After raduating from high school, Assamagan attended the University of Benin in Togo, West Africa, and earned his B.S. degree in 1985. Assamagan was then awarded a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant award to purse higher education in the United States. He went on to graduate from Ball State University in 1989 with his M.S. degree in theoretical condensed matter physics and his Ph.D. degree in nuclear and particle physics from the University of Virginia in 1995.

After earning his Ph.D. degree, Assamagan became a postdoctoral research associate in the Jefferson Lab at Hampton University. There, he worked on a project called the spectrometer wire chamber, which helped gather information about light. Assamagan developed a system for the rotation and angular position of the spectrometer, which contributed to its data collection of certain properties of light. Assamagan remained at Hampton until 1998, when he took a position as a research associate at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. From 1998 to 2001, Assamagan worked with CERN's particle accelerator to find the Higgs Boson, a large elementary particle whose existence has not yet been proven. It is thought to play a role in how other elementary particles get their masses. In 2001, Assamagan was hired by the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory where he works on a physics project called the ATLAS Project. In addition to his research in particle physics, Assamagan has also supervised and mentored both graduate and undergraduate students. Additionally, he helped to organize the African School of Fundamental Physics, an educational workshop funded in part by Brookhaven National Laboratory. The workshop is intended to give students around the world and in Africa the resources and support that they need to be internationally competitive physicists.

Assamagan is a member of the American Physics Society, the National Society of Black Physicist, and the African Physical Society. He is a recipient of the Brookhaven National Laboratory Outstanding Student Mentoring Award.

Assamagan lives and works in New York.

Physicist Ketevi Assamagan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 10, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.104

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/12/2013

Last Name

Assamagan

Maker Category
Middle Name

Adikle

Occupation
Schools

University of Benin

Ball State University

University of Virginia

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ketevi

Birth City, State, Country

Gabon

HM ID

ASS03

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/12/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Upton

Country

West Africa

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Physicist Ketevi Assamagan (1963 - ) has worked on the cutting edge of physics research at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.and for the the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Employment

University of Virginia

Hampton University

European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
0,0:14040,102:14480,107:22123,151:37150,299:37774,309:38086,314:38632,323:39412,331:39724,336:50140,450:51280,470:58304,539:70036,645:74810,806:80208,833:82557,851:85939,893:88512,915:94060,979:94420,1083:131900,1504:132316,1509:150480,1772:153980,1850:154540,1859:161546,1941:178330,2226:181866,2312:185274,2331:186562,2385:217612,2765:218032,2771:234830,2911:236630,2928:237330,2936:248098,3078:248734,3086:249264,3092:257676,3303:259601,3385:307352,3829:317070,3941:321966,4004:334040,4165:345826,4310:349945,4380:358488,4480:359076,4488:363388,4540:364956,4567:373084,4649:374842,4668:379156,4690:381796,4734:382654,4749:383182,4759:383710,4769:389320,4823:393504,4841:393892,4846:394280,4851:401260,4931:401520,4936:411970,5034:418727,5101:419141,5108:426600,5215:429480,5263$0,0:27670,306:38310,391:40229,411:40633,416:44610,447:44958,452:46611,478:47307,493:50700,549:65177,775:68344,826:71870,856:83005,1037:113692,1358:149360,1691:157640,1840:158150,1847:168541,1948:169672,1970:170455,1981:176187,2045:186030,2185:186430,2191:190186,2228:190442,2234:193080,2258:214201,2479:220525,2569:225916,2679:227407,2703:227975,2713:240278,2904:244256,2949:254985,3061:319810,4045
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ketevi Assamagan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ketevi Assamagan lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ketevi Assamagan describes the family life of the Fon tribe

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the slave trade in the Kingdom of Dahomey

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ketevi Assamagan shares a West African parable

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his father's occupation as an auto mechanic

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about how his parents' marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about religion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ketevi Assamagan describes the religion of the Fon

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ketevi Assamagan compares Catholicism and the Fon religion

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his childhood neighborhood in Togo

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about music in Togo

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ketevi Assamagan describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his primary school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about living with his grandparents during primary school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his primary school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his experience in primary school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about living in Aneho, Togo for middle school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the difficulty of obtaining education in Togo

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his middle school education and Gnassingbe Eyadema

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his mentors in middle school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his high school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his mentors in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about being left-handed in Togo

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ketevi Assamagan describes graduating from high school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about paying for his university education pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about paying for his university education pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his time at the University of Benin

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the lack of instruments and facilities at the University of Benin

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his extracurricular activities at the University of Benin

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about receiving a scholarship to attend graduate school in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his transition from Togo to Ball State University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his time at Ball State University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his extracurricular activities at Ball State University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the transition from Ball State University to the University of Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his time at the University of Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his time as a post-doctoral fellow at Hampton University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his research at Hampton University and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ketevi Assamagan describes the Higgs boson pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the Higgs boson pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ketevi Assamagan describes how an accelerator works pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ketevi Assamagan describes how an accelerator works pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ketevi Assamagan describes how an accelerator works pt. 3

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his work on the muon spectrometer

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his positions in the ATLAS project

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ketevi Assamagan describes the pile-up problem in particle accelerators

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ketevi Assamagan describes being the Higgs Working Group Convener for ATLAS

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his involvement in scientific collaborations

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ketevi Assamagan describes teaching in South Africa

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the discovery of a Higgs-like particle pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the discovery of a Higgs-like particle pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the Large Hadron Collider pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the Large Hadron Collider pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the research of the ATLAS project pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about the research of the ATLAS project pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Ketevi Assamagan reflects on his life

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his involvement in mentoring students

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Ketevi Assamagan reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Ketevi Assamagan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Ketevi Assamagan talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATape

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DATitle
Ketevi Assamagan describes his doctoral dissertation
Ketevi Assamagan talks about the research of the ATLAS project pt. 1
Transcript
Tell us what your Ph.D. dissertation was about.$$Yeah, no, it was about measuring the fraction of the time where the, you know, an elementary particle that we call the pion decays in a particular way. So where, which is like one part, in 108. That's, you know, how rare it is, this decay. But we wanted to find that and measure that particular rate precisely. One part in 108 is what the theories tell us. We wanted to measure it. And if we do that with very good precision, we should be able to extract some theoretical predictions which will help us understand what we call the standard model. So--$$So the standard model, explain what that is for people who are watching this. Well, what is the standard model in physics?$$Yeah, the standard model is basically of particle, fundamental particle physics. It's basically a collection of our understanding of how fundamental particle work and what are the forces that governs their inaction with matter, you know, as we know in the universe. So--$$Is this like a theory of matter, like the basic theory?$$Yeah, it is--yes, it's a collection of theories that fits together to create a picture of nature for us, for the standard, for the fundamental particles.$$And the, but there's still a lot of questions involved in the standard, but it's not just--it's not a fixed standard or is there a lot of questions within that being answered all the time or people are trying to work on, right?$$Yes, it's, we have realized that it is theory that has been proven against experiment. So we believe that our understanding is on the right track. But there are lot of things that we still don't understand so it's clear that a standard model, although it has been very successful, cannot be the complete view of nature. There are a lot of things that we still don't understand and that nowadays in particle physics, we call them "beyond the standard model". So these are things that, new things that we should find to clarify our understanding for it.$$Okay, so you were studying, what they call the p-meson (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$Yeah, it's the pion, yeah, (simultaneous)--$$Pion meson--$$Yeah, it's the pi-meson, yeah.$$Okay.$$So, it has a particular decay. If you measure that precisely, it will tell us a lot of information about the standard. For example, why do we have three type of neutrinos? Why hasn't nature made four type, you know? And so if you measure these things, perimeter precisely, it will tell us whether there's room for the fourth one. So that's what we were studying in this experiment.$$And by decay of a particle, we're talking, I mean we're talking about a period where the particle exists and then it fades out of existence or some--or what is it?$$Yeah, exactly. A lot of these particles, they are unstable. So it's like radioactive decay, if you will. So they have what we call a mean lifetime. So if you have ten thousand of them sitting there at one time, and you came back two years later, by then they would have all decay away or a fraction of them would have decay. So, and many of these particles, they exist very briefly. So they are created, and then they begin to disappear by disintegrating. So the energy has to be conserved, yeah. So in physics, we hold true the fundamental understanding that energy is not lost. It's always conserved. So the particle is created with some energy, and then disintegrate into other particles, and the energy that is used to create it, is still one that is used to create the new particle into which it has disintegrated. So when you do energy balance, you have to check out. But a lot of these particles that we see, they don't live very long.$$Okay, so what did you find out, in your research on the pion?$$Yeah, so what we did was, when we measured this rate, we improved the precision quite a lot over previous measurement. It wasn't, we were not a first to measure this way. And, but because the previous measurement didn't have a good precision, there was a lot of room for uncertainty. You couldn't tap because the measurement has a lot of errors, I mean not errors, but uncertainty as we call it. So we redesigned the experiment in order to reduce those uncertainties so that our measurement will be precise. The more precise it is, you know, you will be in a better position to say, "Okay, we know this parameter to this precision. Therefore, there is not much room for speculation or for other things." So we are able to improve the precision on the measurement by quite a huge factor. And it was 4 percent, the previous measurement. We got it to, we got it down to point--half a percent, to half a percent. So that was almost a factor of eight improvement in the precision, so, which was very good because it eliminated a lot of speculations about the existence of this more than three type of neutrinos and things like that. So it means that our measurement says that the standard model assumption, if you will, of neutrinos is more or less, you know, more and more correct. In fact, we don't--if there is any provability of a fourth generation of these neutrinos, it's very, very small. And that's what our, you know--whereas the previous measurement could not say that more effectively.$Can you talk about the objectives of the ATLAS Physics project? I know that, I mean I've--I was reading a poster in the room when I came in. And the first objective was, it was to discover the unknown, unknown information (unclear)--$$Yeah, so it's, the program is really to be sensitive to phenomena in physics, phenomena in nature that we don't know yet or we're not familiar with. And progress in physics have been made that way, you know. More than a hundred years ago, people did not know the electron. They didn't know x-rays. They just were doing various experiments. These things show up and they have to study them, but when they saw them, then it really got interest and they studied further. And nowadays, electrons are used in all of the, our electronics things, as we call it, come from the understanding from what electron was, which people did not sit down and design. So that was the unknown at that point. That's what also we want to find out. If there's something out there that we could be sensitive to, we want to know about it because ultimately, it could benefit society. Today, the electron, all of our electronic stuff are based on our understanding of, you know, what the electron is and how to use it and so forth, you know.$$Okay, and now what about dark matter? What is ATLAS trying to do with dark matter?$$Yeah, we also want to discover what is the nature of dark matter. It is believed that our visible universe is not the full--doesn't carry the full mass of the universe as we know it. In other words, if you, you know, sit down and say, "Okay, I want to compute all of the masses that are in the universe," put them together and start adding them up, you know. Now, which you could do. There are the stars, all of the planet, the galaxies, we can do that. So that's our visible universe, things that we can see with the naked eye or we see from our telescope and so forth. When you do that, you come out to be like 4 percent of what is out there in the universe, 4, 4 percent. That means 96 percent is something else. Then, you know, matter as we know it, take the stars, galaxy, so forth. You add them up together. It's a very small fraction of our universe. Then, you know, people have studies how stars rotate in galaxies and how galaxies rotate, you know, around each other and things like that. And they have seen some deviation from Newton's Law. Newton's Law tell us exactly how these things should rotate. And from that deviation, you can infer that there is a large amount of matter in the universe that we are not directly sensitive to, which is called dark matter. It effects the rotation of some of these galaxies, some of these stars and galaxies and so forth. We cannot see it, but we know that these things are not obeying the laws of physics as we know it unless you assume that it's a large mass that is affecting them. So that is some dark matter, and that's like 23 percent of the universe. And then the rest is what we call dark energy. The rest, you know, if you take the 4 percent, 23 percent, you subtract out of the 100 percent, what is left is what we call dark energy. But it's even more bizarre than what we understand. Like, you know, we know, for example, galaxies are drifting away from each other. And the further they are, the further they are, the faster they are drifting away. And we don't know what this new force, or what is pushing them apart, but we know from Newton's Law, if you have two large bodies, they should be attracting each other. And so there is something bigger than gravity pulling this stuff apart. And that's what is dark energy. But at the LHC [Large Hadron Collider, with the Atlas detector we believe that we could be sensitive to detect a candidate of dark matter. The dark matter would be particle just like the Higgs boson or the proton or something. And we could be sensitive to it, and, and so that's one of the objective, to see whether dark matter is a particle of that could show up in the LHC experiment.

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
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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

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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.

Alfred Msezane

Research physicist Alfred Z. Msezane was born on December 31, 1938 in South Africa. His father, Albert, was a businessman and his mother, Esther, a housewife. Msezane enrolled in the University of South Africa in 1960, where he studied the shape and behavior of one of the most fundamental particles – the electron. Msezane graduated from the University of South Africa in 1964 with his B.S. degree in physics. Msezane then travelled to Canada to conduct research and study at the University of Saskatchewan in Ontario, Canada, where he received his M.S. degree in physics in 1968. Msezane returned to South Africa for a year to conduct research at the Nuclear Physics Research Unit of Witwaterstrand University. Msezane received his Ph.D. degree in physics from the University of Western Ontario in 1973.

Msezane started his long career as a college professor at the University of New Brunswick in 1973 and became a physics instructor in 1976. Msezane immigrated to United States from Canada to complete his postdoctoral research at the Georgia State University in 1974. From 1978 to 1980, he served as a visiting professor at Louisiana State University. In 1980, Msezane joined the faculty of Morehouse College as an assistant professor of physics. He left Morehouse College in 1983 to become a professor at Atlanta University and served as chair of the physics department from 1986 to 1989. In 1988, Atlanta University merged with Clark University to become Clark Atlanta University, and Msezane remained on as a professor of physics. Msezane is the director of the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems (CTSPS) at Clark Atlanta University. His research team investigates mathematical physics theory, solid matter, and image processing. Msezane’s research on electron interaction with matter and electron configuration within the atom has resulted in over 260 research papers published in scholarly journals.

Msezane is also a member of several professional societies, including the American Physical Society (APS) and the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). Msezane was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the University of Fort Hare (South Africa) in 1998, and is a recipient of the World University Service Scholarship.

Alfred Msezane works in Atlanta, Georgia.

Alfred Msezane was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 11, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.245

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/11/2012

Last Name

Msezane

Maker Category
Middle Name

Z.

Occupation
Schools

Western University

University of Saskatchewan

University of South Africa

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alfred

HM ID

MSE01

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

I don't have till the second coming.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/31/1938

Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

South Africa

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Physicist Alfred Msezane (1938 - ) , an internationally renowned theoretical physicist, is the director of the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems (CTSPS) at Clark Atlanta University.

Employment

Witwatersrand University

University of Western Ontario

Georgia State University

University of New Brunswick

Louisiana State University

Morehouse College

Atlanta University

Clark Atlanta University

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1674,27:3162,47:4836,70:23715,472:32400,527:35800,567:38520,620:38860,625:39285,631:43669,667:45489,686:46399,699:47673,715:59488,906:77630,1049$0,0:3116,45:6642,143:7052,150:7708,160:8036,166:9102,183:9676,192:10004,197:10414,204:10906,211:11234,216:17850,229:23870,262:24870,274:31600,316:32160,326:38320,427:45152,508:46608,520:47840,532:59306,586:102024,1121:102760,1130:103496,1139:109920,1202:111090,1216:112350,1234:112710,1239:124530,1368
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alfred Msezane's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alfred Msezane lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alfred Msezane describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alfred Msezane describes life in colonized South Africa

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alfred Msezane describes the people of Swaziland

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alfred Msezane talks about the colonial history of South Africa

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alfred Msezane describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alfred Msezane talks about the Zulu tribe

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alfred Msezane talks about his father, and about how his parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alfred Msezane describes his family's life in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alfred Msezane describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alfred Msezane describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alfred Msezane talks about his brother, Richard Msezane, and his first school in Johannesburg

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alfred Msezane describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alfred Msezane talks about the toxic gases released from the gold mines of Johannesburg, South Africa

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alfred Msezane describes his experience in St. Louis Catholic School and Thlakula School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alfred Msezane talks about World War II, and his community's involvement in the African National Congress [ANC]

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alfred Msezane describes his experience in Thlakula School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alfred Msezane describes his decision to attend the University of Fort Hare, South Africa

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alfred Msezane describes the segregation of South African universities and professional practice under the apartheid government

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alfred Msezane describes the importance of education, as a South African

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alfred Msezane describes his experience in InKamana High School and at the University of Fort Hare

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alfred Msezane describes the differences between the British and American education systems

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alfred Msezane describes his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree in physics at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alfred Msezane describes his experience at the University of Saskatchewan

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alfred Msezane describes his master's degree thesis research

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alfred Msezane describes his experience at the University of the Witwatersrand, and his departure from South Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alfred Msezane talks about his late wife, Gail Msezane

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alfred Msezane describes his Ph.D. dissertation research on collision theory

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alfred Msezane describes his reasons for not returning to South Africa after his Ph.D. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alfred Msezane describes his post-doctoral experience at Georgia State University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alfred Msezane describes his experience at Louisiana State University and at Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alfred Msezane talks about his funding relationship with the U.S. Department of Energy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alfred Msezane talks about his experience at Morehouse College, and the lack of research infrastructure at HBCUs

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alfred Msezane describes his experience at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alfred Msezane describes his relationship with HistoryMaker Carlos Handy, and their contributions towards research at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alfred Msezane talks about meeting Nelson Mandela

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alfred Msezane discusses his visits to South Africa and the country's current status of physics

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alfred Msezane talks upon the importance of a formal education to inform political commentary

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alfred Msezane talks about his participation in conferences, his research in nano-science, and his professional memberships

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alfred Msezane reflects upon his life's choices

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alfred Msezane describes his preference for research over administration

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alfred Msezane reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alfred Msezane describes his hopes and concerns for the African-American community today

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alfred Msezane talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alfred Msezane talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alfred Msezane describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Alfred Msezane describes the importance of education, as a South African
Alfred Msezane describes his post-doctoral experience at Georgia State University
Transcript
You know, (unclear) I will have to say to you, when I was growing up, education was paramount. Now, I want to tell you, you know, what is interesting, because around 1960 or '62 [1962], 1960, there was a treason fire in South Africa, where many of the people, including Albert Luthuli [South African teacher and politician; president of the African National Congress; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and first African to win a Nobel Prize, 1960/1961] were rounded and charged with treason but where many of us learned was they had some excellent lawyers, like the Jewish community in South Africa was very strong. To cut a long story short, they defeated the government with its own laws, with its own prosecutors and judges, very impressive. So that was motivation for us to go to school. The intellectual capacity of these lawyers, yeah, it's not--it wasn't easy to defeat the South African government at that time. But they could. These people were freed, yeah, we know a treason trial in South Africa meant you would hang at the end of the day.$Okay, so you took a post-doctoral [position] here in the states, right?$$Right.$$Yeah--$$First at Georgia State [University, Atlanta, Georgia] with a friend of mine, Steve Manson. I must say that when I worked with Steve, Steve Manson, M-A-N-S-O-N, changed the dynamics of research completely because his model was first, we have to publish in a prestigious physics journals. Otherwise, we don't count. And that's what, you know, was imbedded in my head. For the first time, I could see us publishing in some of the prestigious physics journals.$$Okay, so when did you publish your first paper?$$Oh, no, about--my first paper was published in, when I was at Western Ontario [University of Western Ontario, London, Canada] for (unclear)--$$Okay.$$But with him, in this--between '75 [1975] and '79 [1979], we published lots of papers with Steve Manson here, and he exposed me to many of these very high-powered physicists. One of them is Ugo Fano from the University of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois], one of the top physicists at that time, yep. And there's a large--and then he also made me attend the meetings of the American Physical Society and introduced me to many people. I also attended the international conferences. And that bothered me because you had, you don't see blacks, even in America.$$Well, not many.$$Yeah, even today, you still don't see many.

Wendell Hill

Physicist and Professor Wendell T. Hill, III was born in 1952 in Berkeley, California to Wendell Hill, Jr. and Marcella Washington Hill, who met at Drake University in the 1940s. In the 1960s his father was the Chief Pharmacist at in the Orange County Medical Center, now the University of California Irvine Medical Center, and finished his career as the dean of Howard University’s College of Pharmacy in the 1990s. Hill III’s mother was a mathematics teacher who finished her career at the University of the District of Columbia. Hill III graduated from Villa Park High School in Orange, CA in 1970. He earned physics degrees from the University of California, Irvine (B.A., 1974) and Stanford University (Ph.D., 1980), where he was an IBM pre-doctoral fellow.

Hill was a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) from 1980 to 1982, after which he joined the faculty of the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST) at the University of Maryland. In 1985 Hill was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Presidential Young Investigator Award, now known as a Presidential Early Career Award. Holding appointments in Physics and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, Hill became a full professor in 1996 and a Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute in 2006. Hill has guest-worker status at NIST and Lawrence Livermore National Lab and has held visiting positions at the Université de Paris, Orsay in France, the Instituto Venezalano de Investigaciones (Venezuela) and JILA (University of Colorado). He directed the Laboratory for Atomic, Molecular & Optical Science, and Engineering at the University of Maryland between 1999 and 2002 and was the Program Director of the Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physics program at NSF from 2010 to 2012.

Hill’s research focus is laser-matter interaction under extreme conditions – ultra-fast, ultra-intense and ultra-cold. Hill has written numerous scientific articles within AMO physics, co-authored the textbook entitled Light-Matter Interaction that explains the underlying principals of AMO research and penned the opening chapter entitled “Electromagnetic Radiation,” for the Encyclopedia of Applied Spectroscopy.

Hill is a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) as well as an active member of the Optical Society of America (OSA). He has served on numerous society committees including the APS Council and Executive Board, the APS Division of Laser Science executive committee, and the OSA Technical Council; he has chaired the National Academy of Science’s Committee on AMO Science along with several program and award committees. His interest in improving the diversity in physics has him serving on the National Advisory Board of the APS Minority Bridge Program; the goal of the program is to increase significantly the number of “underrepresented minorities” earning a physics Ph.D. over the next decade.

Professor Hill and Patricia, his wife, live in Maryland and have three children, Nayo, Eshe and Safiya.

Professor Wendell T. Hill, III was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.226

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/12/2012

Last Name

Hill

Maker Category
Middle Name

T

Occupation
Schools

Peralta Junior High School

Taft Elementary School

Burnside Elementary School

Villa Park High School

University of California, Irvine

Stanford University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Wendell

Birth City, State, Country

Berkeley

HM ID

HIL14

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

California

Favorite Quote

Have fun and be safe.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/21/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mexican Food, Spicy Food, Fish

Short Description

Physicist Wendell Hill (1952 - ) was known for his extensive research in atomic, molecular and optical physics at the University of Maryland.

Employment

University of Maryland, College Park

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

University of Colorado

Favorite Color

Los Angeles Dodgers Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:14760,255:15695,273:16205,280:17055,292:18245,303:19605,325:22750,363:24195,396:24535,401:26150,424:26830,434:27170,439:27765,444:29210,472:30230,488:30910,501:31250,506:39900,560:40512,572:41260,588:48196,699:50508,754:52480,794:53160,812:54520,841:54792,847:55064,852:55336,857:55880,867:56220,881:56832,896:59280,945:59552,951:59824,956:60436,966:67570,1002:68050,1034:68410,1061:83763,1194:98409,1375:98844,1381:99279,1387:105684,1451:106167,1459:106650,1465:108375,1504:127164,1800:131980,1838:133405,1863:137830,1953:140530,2012:142180,2041:142630,2049:144655,2083:145255,2092:147130,2116:147880,2125:150955,2177:163472,2221:174520,2368:175360,2375:188277,2566:190331,2604:191832,2625:192938,2654:193649,2664:197836,2724:198468,2734:199258,2750:200048,2761:200522,2768:209808,2857:210124,2862:213521,2918:213837,2923:214153,2928:224858,3069:227714,3124:228386,3133:230040,3138$0,0:4312,133:6776,170:7238,177:7777,185:9240,204:10934,223:12474,246:13090,256:17094,338:17556,348:23544,365:25368,386:26508,405:28180,426:29168,443:29928,461:30840,477:32132,519:32512,525:33196,535:33728,544:38671,554:39559,563:40003,568:40447,573:42544,579:42964,585:43888,599:44224,605:44896,615:45400,622:46996,644:47500,652:49852,677:51196,695:54724,795:55312,804:57244,827:57664,833:63124,912:69310,923:70390,941:70810,947:71410,965:71890,974:72370,983:74290,1029:75250,1055:76570,1079:80050,1156:80530,1188:81670,1205:82450,1223:83470,1246:84010,1257:84250,1262:84790,1272:85690,1292:86170,1304:86530,1312:87130,1323:87670,1334:88090,1347:88390,1353:88690,1359:94726,1380:95316,1396:97145,1448:97381,1453:97794,1462:98266,1485:98620,1496:99151,1508:99623,1517:100685,1538:101452,1555:101806,1563:102396,1575:102927,1586:103989,1610:104815,1630:105346,1641:106880,1695:107293,1704:107765,1713:108060,1719:108768,1734:109122,1742:109712,1753:110125,1762:110479,1772:117640,1814:120592,1859:121248,1869:121904,1891:122232,1896:125512,1938:126168,1949:126824,1958:127480,1967:131334,2015:138284,2044:138812,2053:139208,2061:143586,2127:143894,2132:144356,2139:148360,2213:150901,2253:154050,2259:156906,2317:158402,2350:158674,2355:159354,2368:160102,2379:160918,2394:161190,2399:164658,2479:164930,2484:169004,2503:169596,2513:171372,2552:171668,2557:174110,2595:182230,2703:184267,2729:189443,2793:189881,2800:190976,2813:191414,2820:192217,2832:193093,2845:195137,2886:195794,2896:196305,2904:200758,2975:204255,2992:205035,3006:205620,3017:207570,3052:207960,3060:208415,3069:209455,3093:209715,3098:210560,3114:211015,3123:211275,3129:211665,3136:212380,3152:213095,3169:213420,3175:215435,3216:216670,3245:221755,3267:222145,3274:222470,3281:222990,3291:223575,3301:223900,3307:224290,3314:225070,3335:225590,3345:226240,3353:226890,3366:227475,3377:227865,3386:228320,3394:229880,3425:230920,3444:231505,3456:232090,3467:232805,3479:233130,3485:233455,3491:234430,3515:234885,3523:235665,3537:235925,3542:237290,3560:239825,3626:241645,3666:242425,3678:249170,3699:249674,3708:249962,3713:250250,3718:250826,3735:251330,3743:252266,3758:253850,3778:254570,3790:255722,3807:256586,3819:257018,3826:258098,3841:258818,3852:259106,3857:259610,3865:260114,3874:260978,3892:261410,3899:269000,3952:269560,3957:270200,3966:271800,3988:272360,3996:272760,4002:273560,4013:274360,4026:276040,4060:280310,4103
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wendell Hill's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wendell Hill lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wendell Hill describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wendell Hill talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wendell Hill talks about his mother's educational background and career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wendell Hill describes his father's family background and their relation to Fredrick Douglass - part 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wendell Hill describes his father's family background and their relation to Fredrick Douglass - part 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Wendell Hill talks about his father's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Wendell Hill talks about how his parents met and his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wendell Hill talks about his earliest memory of Southern California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wendell Hill describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wendell Hill talks about his brother and childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wendell Hill talks about his childhood church, friends and social activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wendell Hill talks about his nursery and elementary schools

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wendell Hill describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wendell Hill talks about his parents' involvement in his schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wendell Hill compares the demographics of Los Angeles with that of Orange County

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Wendell Hill talks about his parents' move to Orange County, California

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wendell Hill talks about the racial tensions in Orange County

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wendell Hill talks about his early academic struggles

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wendell Hill talks about his high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wendell Hill talks about his science preparation during his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wendell Hill talks about Disneyland and Knott Berry Farm during his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Wendell Hill talks about his interest in rockets, space exploration, and solar eclipses

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Wendell Hill talks about his family activities

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Wendell Hill talks about his favorite high school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Wendell Hill talks about his interest in baseball

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wendell Hill talks about Martin Luther King's assassination, the demographics of his high school and his grades

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wendell Hill talks about his attempt to connect with the Black community through music

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wendell Hill talks about his struggle to integrate into the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wendell Hill talks about his struggle to integrate into the black community and his religious development

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wendell Hill talks about his involvement with the black community at the University of California, Irvine

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wendell Hill talks about reconciling science and religion

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wendell Hill talks about his studies at the University of California, Irvine

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Wendell Hill talks about his professors at the University of California, Irvine

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wendell Hill reflects on his experience at the University of California, Irvine

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wendell Hill talks about his advisors at Stanford University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wendell Hill talks about his dissertation in the area of laser physics and how he met his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wendell Hill talks about his religious identity

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wendell Hill discusses the varying religious affiliations of scientists

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wendell Hill talks about his post-doctoral work at the National Bureau of Standards

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Wendell Hill talks about his decision to join the faculty at the University of Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Wendell Hill talks about the economic disparities between underdeveloped countries and developed countries- part 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Wendell Hill talks about the economic disparities between underdeveloped countries and developed countries, part 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Wendell Hill talks about his visiting appointments in Maryland and Paris

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Wendell Hill talks about his transition into teaching

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Wendell Hill talks about his work with cold atoms at the University of Colorado

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Wendell Hill talks about his professional activities at the University of Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Wendell Hill talks about the Joint Quantum Institute and his textbook, "Light-Matter Interaction"

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Wendell Hill talks about his research - part 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Wendell Hill talks about his research - part 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Wendell Hill talks about his students and the reception of his book

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Wendell Hill talks about the need for more African Americans in STEM

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Wendell Hill talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Wendell Hill reflects on his life choices

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Wendell Hill talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Wendell Hill reflects on his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Wendell Hill talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Wendell Hill describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$5

DAStory

7$6

DATitle
Wendell Hill talks about his professional activities at the University of Maryland
Wendell Hill talks about his post-doctoral work at the National Bureau of Standards
Transcript
You became a full professor here in '96' [1996], I take it, that's right?$$Sounds about right, yeah.$$Okay, alright, so in 1999, you became the director of the laboratory for Atomic Molecular and Optical Science and Engineering.$$Yeah, we had a, we had a small lab that no longer exists now. There was, several of us, we got together, and we formed this lab, and this was a way for us to sort of work together. At the time, there was much less atomic, molecular and optic physics on this campus. It's much broader now and much larger than it was then. And so, those of us working in that area tried to form this lab together and so I was, I was, I guess the second director of that. And, but it, it sort of, I mean we had a little group, but then we all started going our separate ways. And so that, that lab no longer exists now. The thing that, it's more along the lines that we were trying to start then is this, this Joint Quantum Institute that, that currently exists. But it was, it was a way to bring the atomic physicists and atomic, molecular, optical physicists together.$$Okay, so, but, okay, Joint Quantum Institute doesn't start till about 2006, right?$$Yes, right, right.$$So, so this, so did this ever last, the atomic molecular optical science lab last for ten years or--$$No, no, no. It, that probably lasted, oh, another three or four years after--probably about three years that we actively worked together. And then we all sort of started going different ways. I mean we put the book together. My, we wrote a book, and so some of us who were in that lab put the book together. We actually, there's a two-volume book. Four of us together wrote these two volumes. So Chi Lee and I--Chi was in electrical engineering. He was part of this lab. He and I wrote the second volume at the time. There's a guy in, in chemistry, John Weiner, who was the first director of this lab. And a guy, another guy in engineering, Ping Tong Ho wrote the first volume. And so this two-volume set came out of that, that laboratory. And they're sort of textbooks designed for first-year graduate students, sort of upper division undergraduates to, on atomic, molecular and optical physics.$$Okay, now, in, was it around 2006 that you initiated the collaboration between University of Maryland and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory? Is that true?$$It was probably before that. I'm trying to think of when we started. Yeah, it may have been the mid-2000s. Yeah, I have a colleague. We used to go to, we, we first met at, at the, one of the annual meetings of the society of, National Society of Black Physicists. And we'd always say, oh, we should do something together. And so we, we did, we, we said these things for a number of years. And then some money became available and so we put in a proposal and got funded. And so I sent a student out to, to work with him. So, yeah, it was in mid-2000s, I guess, that, that came about. And so, yeah, we, collab--I collaborated out there, and the student is still writing his thesis. And so we still sort of have a loose collaboration, and if we find the right student, we'll continue that.$Oh, okay, alright. Alright, so, alright, so post-doctoral studies. Now, you--$$Okay, post-doc, so okay. I came to, and my wife and I decided that-we, we had sort of this binary problem where she was, had just gone to the J school, the Journalism school at Columbia [University], and so she was, wanted to be a journalist. And so we had a couple of options. She was working at a, a news service in the Bay area, "Bay City News Service" was the name of it at the time. And so we could either go--well, we were looking at three different options, going to, going to Bell Labs area, which would be, you know, either in Murray Hill or Homedale, New Jersey, going to, coming here to Washington, D.C., what was then the Bureau of Standards, now NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology] or going to Chicago where I had an offer from a guy named Charlie Rhodes who was at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He used to be at SRI which used to be called Stanford Research Institute, but it was split off from Stanford back in the '70's [1970s] because of, they did do some classified stuff. So it just assumed the name SRI. So he moved from SRI there. So I knew who he was and knew some of the people who worked with him. And so I got invited to come there. We ultimately ended up choosing to come to Washington because my parents, who spent seven years in Detroit--my father at Wayne State [University] and at Detroit General Hospital, then moved to Howard [University] to become the dean of the pharmacy school there. And so having not lived with my parents for almost ten years, I thought--lived near my parents for almost ten years, we thought well, it would be kind of fun to be close to them. We fully intended to go back to California within a couple of years, and so that two-year period hasn't come up yet, 'cause we--that in 1980 when we first got here (laughter). So I came here. I, I did a post-doc. I was what was known as a National Research Council post-doc at, at Bureau of Standards and worked when they, out at the facility here in Gaithersburg [Maryland], and so I did a lot of laser spectroscopy type things there. And from there I went on to, to the University of Maryland because again, we had this binary thing that my wife, during my post-doc years had a job. And so I didn't wanna displace her and Washington is a good place to get both of us working at the same time. So we decided that, well, you know, maybe I should just, at least for the time being, try to get, launch my career here at Maryland. And so I came over here. I had, had an offer here to, to work. So.$$So you were in the National Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg, right?$$In Gaithersburg, that's correct.$$Okay, now, what were you working on at the Bureau of Standards?$$Well, I was in what's known as the Vacuum Ultraviolet Spectroscopy group or, or, I guess it was part of the radiation physics division. And so they had a technique, two, two gentlemen who hired me basically, had a technique for looking at spectroscopy of ions. And they did this by taking a laser and creating this long column of ions, which is very, highly unusual. And so that opened up a whole area of being able to do spectroscopy on species that you couldn't do before. And so my, my thesis topic, which was basically doing things that you couldn't do before on species because of a technique, this was another technique. So I worked on that technique and, and worked on a variety of experiments along those lines. So, again, doing sort of spectroscopy, this time on ions, and which you couldn't do absorption, absorption spectroscopy on ions before 'cause you'd never get enough of them in one spot to do that. So, that was what I've done. And then I started developing new techniques as I was thinking of moving on to, to Maryland. I missed looking, using continuous wave lasers, which is what I did all my thesis work on, continuous wave lasers. These lasers added, were repulsed lasers. And, and so I started doing techniques which got me back toward doing continuous wave lasers which is sort of what I'm doing now.

Sylvester James Gates, Jr.

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2012.143

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/30/2012

Last Name

Gates

Middle Name

James

Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sylvester

Birth City, State, Country

Tampa

HM ID

GAT02

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/15/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ham

Short Description

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

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

University of Maryland, College Park

Howard University

Harvard University

California Institute of Technology

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

7$3

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

Stephen McGuire

Nuclear physicist and physics professor Stephen C. McGuire was born on September 17, 1948 in New Orleans, Louisiana. McGuire was the first generation of his family to attend high school and college. McGuire’s parents were supportive of his education and inspired him to high achievements. By the time that McGuire graduated as valedictorian of his class at Joseph S. Clark Senior High in New Orleans, Louisiana, he knew that he wanted to pursue a career in physics. McGuire went on to attend Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) College on a four-year academic scholarship. He received his B.S. degree in physics, magna cum laude, in 1970. McGuire then continued his education at the University of Rochester where he studied under Professor Harry W. Fulbright and graduated with his M.S. degree in nuclear physics in 1974. In 1979, McGuire obtained his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in nuclear science with a focus on low energy neutron physics under the guidance of Professor David D. Clark.

Between 1979 and 1982, McGuire conducted research as a staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 1982, McGuire joined the faculty at Alabama A&M University in the department of physics and applied physics, and he began research with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). McGuire was honored by NASA in 1987 with its Office of Technology Utilization Research Citation Award. While at Alabama A&M, he also served as a consultant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Energy, and spent time as a physics researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). In 1989, he became the first African American faculty member at the endowed College of Engineering at Cornell University. In 1992, he became a charter fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). With research focusing on experimental nuclear physics and nuclear radiation and microelectronics, McGuire was appointed to be a visiting scientist at the Center for Neutron Research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 1998.

Since 1999, McGuire has served as professor and chair of the department of physics at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. McGuire has pursued his interest in optical materials as part of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). During his tenure with the university, McGuire has led the establishment of the partnership between LIGO and Southern University and A&M College, and he served as the LIGO Scientific Collaboration Principal Investigator (PI). He considers this his greatest achievement. McGuire is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He is married to the former Saundra E. Yancy. They have two adult daughters, Carla and Stephanie.

Stephen McGuire was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 18, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.187

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/18/2012

Last Name

McGuire

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Craig

Occupation
Schools

Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School

Columbia University

University of California, Los Angeles

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

University of Rochester

Cornell University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Stephen

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

MCG04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida Keys

Favorite Quote

It is better to put your trust in God than to put confidence in men.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

9/17/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tilapia (Grilled), Rice (Brown), Vegetables

Short Description

Nuclear physicist Stephen McGuire (1948 - ) led the establishment of the partnership in materials research and science education between the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and Southern University. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Employment

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Alabama A&M State University

Cornell University

Southern University Baton Rouge

California Institute of Technology

Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
0,0:1319,5:3363,128:5188,181:14295,298:15945,328:16695,351:18270,391:18795,399:19695,415:22020,482:27109,501:28022,514:29931,550:33002,597:39003,688:39822,696:40641,707:50362,796:52560,814:53235,824:53610,830:57100,861:57424,868:57640,873:57856,879:58450,894:59152,909:60448,942:63858,986:64466,996:65454,1016:65910,1024:66366,1032:67734,1048:68874,1065:74352,1122:75054,1141:75486,1152:77214,1181:79222,1192:80358,1211:82275,1248:82843,1258:83553,1269:85560,1274:86366,1290:87873,1303:88422,1317:89337,1334:89764,1343:93440,1390:94496,1421:99946,1483:103176,1524:103448,1529:103720,1534:104128,1541:104536,1548:106110,1554:110974,1669:112126,1696:112510,1704:116478,1808:116734,1813:121166,1841:122231,1858:122586,1864:123225,1875:123722,1884:124290,1894:124716,1910:126491,1950:127343,1967:128124,1979:133450,2048$170,0:980,11:5300,164:5930,173:31834,541:32450,550:33506,570:33858,575:34474,584:34826,589:36498,619:39138,658:46515,775:46775,780:50805,852:63398,999:63714,1004:64899,1019:65768,1029:66242,1036:68914,1057:70024,1080:70320,1085:74168,1167:75204,1182:77720,1248:101234,1618:101522,1623:102170,1634:105986,1717:109860,1755
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Stephen McGuire's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Stephen McGuire lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Stephen McGuire describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Stephen McGuire describes how his parents met, and their early life in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Stephen McGuire talks about his mother's life in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Stephen McGuire describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Stephen McGuire talks about his father's hard work, and his parents' emphasis on education

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

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Stephen McGuire talks about his siblings and describes his childhood home in New Orleans, Louisiana

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Stephen McGuire talks about attending Mt. Zion Baptist Church as a child in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Stephen McGuire talks about his elementary school and the strong African American community in New Orleans

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Stephen McGuire talks about the quality of African American teachers found in the segregated schools in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Stephen McGuire talks about the teachers who influenced him in school in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Stephen McGuire talks about race relations, schools, libraries and how New Orleans differed from other Southern cities in terms of its segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Stephen McGuire talks about the desegregation of high school sports in the New Orleans school system in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Stephen McGuire describes his childhood interests and how his introduction to NASA and space shuttles encouraged his interest in science and physics

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Stephen McGuire talks about his decision to study physics instead of playing college basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Stephen McGuire talks about playing basketball in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Stephen McGuire talks about how he was influenced by his high school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Stephen McGuire describes why he chose Southern University for college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Stephen McGuire talks about Felton Clark, the president of Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Stephen McGuire describes how he met his wife at Southern University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Stephen McGuire talks about Dr. King's assassination and the moon landing

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Stephen McGuire talks about graduating from from Southern University and the prominent academicians and athletes who graduated from there

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Stephen McGuire describes his experience at the University of Rochester

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Stephen McGuire describes his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree in nuclear science at Cornell University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Stephen McGuire describes his master's degree research on f-p shell nuclides

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Stephen McGuire describes his Ph.D. dissertation research on spin-forbidden isomers in Uranium-236

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Stephen McGuire talks about Ithaca, New York, and describes his research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Stephen McGuire describes his experience at Alabama A&M University and at Marshall Space Flight Center

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Stephen McGuire describes his research at Cornell University on neutrons and x-rays, to understand the physics of materials

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Stephen McGuire describes his involvement in science education and minority education at Cornell University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Stephen McGuire describes his experience as a visiting professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Stephen McGuire describes his decision to return to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to chair the physics department - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Stephen McGuire describes his decision to return to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to chair the physics department - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Stephen McGuire describes his decision to leave Cornell University in order to chair the physics department at Southern University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Stephen McGuire explains the significance of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Stephen McGuire describes student involvement with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Stephen McGuire describes his involvement with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and other professional organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Stephen McGuire talks about his goals for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Stephen McGuire talks about the graduate program in physics at Southern University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Stephen McGuire reflects upon his legacy

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

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Stephen McGuire reflects upon his choices

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Stephen McGuire talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Stephen McGuire describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Stephen McGuire talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Stephen McGuire describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Stephen McGuire talks about the desegregation of high school sports in the New Orleans school system in the 1960s
Stephen McGuire explains the significance of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)
Transcript
High school [Joseph S. Clark Senior High School, New Orleans, Louisiana]. Now, I don't want to get too far away from what your question is. In high school, I'll just give another example, I played basketball (clears throat). Now, you know, basketball is played out in the open on the playground courts in the city. So after while, you know, we go down to St. Aloysius [school] and we're playing basketball with just, you know, the white guys who were there. We're just playing just to have fun. Somebody saw this. We showed up one day and the basketball goal was taken away, cut off at the concrete and concreted over so we couldn't play basketball there anymore. Let me give you another example of just where we were in time. Today you take for granted interscholastic--interscholastic sports, okay, and Louisiana being integrated, no problem, okay. During that time, there were two schools in New Orleans. One was Jesuit and the other one was St. Augusta. St. Augusta was known for being a very strong school, even to this day, okay, academically and also athletically. Well the principals at these schools decided, "Look, we have to do something to break down this barrier of segregation in our schools. Let's do it by just simply playing a basketball game between our two schools, and making that a demonstration of what can happen without incident." St. Augusta at that time was the number one ranked school in the black league. Jesuit was the number one ranked school in the white league. They played that game behind closed doors successfully. St. Augusta won the game, okay. But they played it successfully--successfully. The parents of the players didn't come in and stage a protest. They had to play it behind closed doors because you couldn't just open it up it up--something like that to the public. But it demonstrated the basic principle, that two groups of kids, you know, with these similar interests, could get together, play a competitive basketball game appropriately refereed, and you not have an incident.$What's the significance of the research with LIGO [Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, in Livingston, Louisiana]? I mean, what are hoping we will find out about the, you know--I mean, there's a lot--lots of things we don't know or need to find out about, but what's the significance?$$But the idea behind LIGO is that, if we can in fact see this, when we see this gravitational radiation, you will see a new type of radiation. It's not electromagnetic, and it doesn't require its source to be hot and luminous. It can be cold and dark. So given the idea that the vast majority of the matter in the universe, 95 percent of it is cold and dark, then you have a chance of opening up a whole new window on this universe that we live in, if you can--when you make these detections. So you're bound to see, I believe, phenomena that we just don't know about right now. The other aspect of it that's extremely important is that, if you see the stochastic remnants of the big bang in your data, then you will have looked back further towards creation, that's never been done before in the history of mankind, and we anticipate that that in itself will yield valuable information in terms of our understanding of the evolution of the universe, as it turns out. So those two ideas that we're opening up a whole new window on the universe, I think--I think make for a strong or either a very compelling argument for this particular experiment. There's direct evidence that gravitational radiation exists and [Albert] Einstein was right. But we want make routine and direct measurements of this so as to just generate a body of data and knowledge that will help us move toward a deeper understanding of this universe that we live in. Right.

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

10$2

DATitle
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.