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Peter Delfyett

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

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2013.126

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/4/2013

Last Name

Delfyett

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

John

Occupation
Schools

City University of New York

University of Rochester

Martin Van Buren High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Peter

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DEL10

Favorite Season

Christmas, Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

3/8/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Orlando

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Asian Food

Short Description

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

Employment

University of Central Flordia

Telcordia Technologies

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Peter Delfyett describes photonics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$4

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

Col. Edward Howard

U.S. Army Colonel Edward B. Howard was born on September 13, 1925 in Washington, D.C. His father, Edward W. Howard, was an attorney; his mother, Edith B. Howard, an English teacher. Howard attended Grimke Elementary School and Garnet Patterson Jr. High School before graduating as valedictorian from Paul Laurence Dunbar Sr. High School in Washington, D.C. in 1943. He then attended Dartmouth College from 1943 to 1945 before being selected to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Howard went on to earn his B.S. degree in engineering from West Point in 1949 and his M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1960.

Throughout his thirty years of service, Howard has significant experience with engineering investigations and technical analysis. Howard began his military career in 1949 as a company grade officer, and was then assigned as a signal company commander occupying Germany until 1962. During the Vietnam War he received domestic and international assignments. Howard served as a communications officer in the National Military Command Center at Pentagon and then as an installation commander and staff officer in Bangkok, Thailand where he managed a program to train Thai engineers and directed a fixed communications facility. In 1971, Howard became chief the Frequency Branch in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and in 1973, he was assigned to the board of the Inspector General of the U.S. Army.

Howard served as a signal corps officer from 1967 to 1979 and then became a senior engineer for Flight Systems, Inc. While there, he recommended the criteria for prioritizing the U.S. Navy Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) and developed the U.S. Navy standard briefing for subcontractor manufacturing. From 1983 to 1990, Howard received several senior-level military and civilian appointments, including being named a senior scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and the Army Corps of Engineers. He also provided engineering support the RAIL Company to develop the Unmanned Air Vehicle and Tactical Air Launched Decoy production models. In 1970, he was hired by ORI, Inc., and served as the lead engineer to review the Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) plans, specification and program documents.

Howard is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Dartmouth Outing Club, and Methodist Men. For serving in the U.S. Army during a time of war, Howard was honored with the World War II Victory Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. His military decorations also include the Combat Infantry Badge, the Army Occupation Medal (Germany), the National Defense Medal with the 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, the Bronze Star Medal with the 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Howard married the late Willrene M. White Howard on April 8, 1950. They have one daughter, Edith H. Bostic.

Edward B. Howard was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.147

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/23/2013

Last Name

Howard

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Schools

Grimke School

Shaw Middle School @ Garnet Patterson

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Dartmouth College

United States Military Academy

Purdue University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

HOW05

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/13/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

6/20/2017

Short Description

General Col. Edward Howard (1925 - 2017 ) is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Employment

ORI, Inc

Rail Company

Science and Technology Program

Flight Systems, Inc

United States Army

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1618,30:3340,99:4488,114:5226,125:5636,131:32886,205:68880,543:69510,551:80084,603:86004,622:112610,908:112910,913:124138,995:124600,1002:137302,1101:138394,1115:139720,1204:140500,1221:162691,1377:163923,1407:164231,1442:185750,1537:188170,1579:212058,1714:233618,1944:234013,1950:236530,1971:256684,2109:257860,2116:266640,2174:269133,2205:276290,2263:285153,2309:285843,2359:298216,2481:309374,2551:313356,2596:313700,2601:314560,2615:315506,2625:319204,2728:327402,2781:327714,2827:328572,2846:329196,2857:331536,3032:337874,3139:355418,3316:357138,3361:366544,3503:370720,3534:377770,3626$0,0:48508,429:56854,543:107695,795:150070,1084:155950,1342:165364,1399:195286,1558:196087,1572:206486,1654:239940,1949
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward Howard's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward Howard lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward Howard describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward Howard talks about his mother's education and her becoming a teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward Howard talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward Howard talks about his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward Howard talks about his childhood household

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward Howard talks about growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edward Howard describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edward Howard talks about his childhood interest in the soapbox derby and tinkering with gadgets

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edward Howard talks about starting grade school at Grimke Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward Howard talks about his experience in elementary school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward Howard talks about going to church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward Howard talks about attending middle school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward Howard describes his experience in high school in Washington, D.C., as a high school cadet

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward Howard talks about his interest in becoming a medical doctor, and his joining the United States Military Academy, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward Howard talks about his interest in becoming a medical doctor, and his joining the United States Military Academy, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward Howard talks about boxing champion Joe Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edward Howard describes his decision to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Edward Howard describes his initial experience at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward Howard describes his experience at Dartmouth College and at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward Howard describes his interest in photography and staying free of demerits at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward Howard talks about his experience at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward Howard talks about attending Ground General School at Fort Riley, Kansas, and the integration of the armed services in 1948

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward Howard describes how he met his wife and they were married in 1950

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward Howard describes his experience in the U.S. Army Signal Corp in Korea in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward Howard describes his experience in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Korea in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward Howard talks about attending Purdue University to obtain his master's degree in electrical engineering

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward Howard talks about serving on the Army Discharge Review Board

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward Howard talks about his service in the U.S. Army and his retirement as a full colonel in 1979

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward Howard talks about his medals and commendations in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edward Howard talks about attending West Point class luncheons

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edward Howard talks about his career as an electrical engineer after retiring from the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Edward Howard reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Edward Howard talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Edward Howard describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Edward Howard talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edward Howard describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
Edward Howard describes his interest in photography and staying free of demerits at the United States Military Academy at West Point
Edward Howard describes his experience in the U.S. Army Signal Corp in Korea in the 1950s
Transcript
What was your--did you have a favorite part of West Point [United States Military Academy], I mean something that really was great that you liked the most about West Point?$$Well, I don't know of anything that, considered a favorite. I, I know I started a series of photographs. Photography was one of my hobbies, so I would put--each week, essentially, I would have a new picture on the bulletin board. And sometimes, I would have them indicate something and ask for a suggested title. I know that I borrowed a Great Dane from one of the faculty members. And I had a fellow who had his full dress uniform show, have that on his arm. We had the dog, he was holding a roll in his hand, and I used that as the barker (unclear) rule in the "Tales of Hoffman." So his name was Hoffman, and that was how, I mean I would ask, put these--as I say, put these pictures on the board, usually on a weekly basis, some significant event or something humorous or whatever you wanna call it.$$Okay, did people like your photos for the most part?$$Oh, I think so, yes.$$Okay, all right, so--okay, what was the worst time at West Point? Was there a time when you thought you weren't gonna make or a time that you thought that you were gonna get in trouble or did get in trouble or--$$It doesn't ring a bell.$$So you never experienced any real, you know, down times or--$$No.$$Okay, and what would you think would be your great triumph at West Point?$$Greatest?$$Triumph.$$Triumph?$$Yeah.$$I guess I stayed essentially demerit free. I didn't get into any problems of demerits or academic problems or anything so that, I could sweat easily. And when you're showing signs of putting out, as they called it, I would give the impression that I was putting out. So by perspiring under pressure, I just managed to survive, so to speak.$$I don't understand that, now, kind of explain that again for us?$$Well, as I say, you wanted, when you're a plebe, your first year, you wanna show that you're absorbing what they want you to get. So by showing that I would, when I would perspire and give--it made it look as if I was really trying to do the right thing. And it lessened any severe treatment that I would get not putting out.$$Okay, so--$$So--$$Go ahead.$$Well, as I say that's, that was showing that you were taking everything that they're giving you. I could show that I was trying to do what I was told to do. So I didn't have any academic, any demerit problems or anything like that from not trying to follow instructions.$$Okay, so if they gave you an instruction, and you were--and if you didn't show that you were sweating, they would, it would indicate that you weren't trying hard enough.$$Um-hum, yeah.$$But you could sweat easier--$$Yes, so--$$So (laughter), it always looked like you were trying.$$(Laughter) Yeah.$$Now, this is a, I guess would be a racial kind of characteristic that--I think African Americans actually sweat easier than white people.$$Oh.$$And I, you know, I'm not a scientist but life has indicated to me that that's true, pretty much. I used to go to band camp, and they used to pass out salt pills to all the white people 'cause they would pass out on the field, 'cause they couldn't--they didn't sweat like me. But I sweated a lot. I never needed it.$$(Laughter).$$But the, it's--so this is something that you can do (laughter) that kept you out of big trouble?$$Yes, I think so.$$'Cause it always looked like you were trying much harder--$$Yeah.$$--because you sweated easier.$$Um-hum.$$But you were trying, though, right?$$Oh, yes.$$Anyway, so, okay. That's interesting, that's interesting.$And I have here--I don't know what comes next exactly, but what I have here is that you were assigned to Camp Cooke in California, is that right?$$(OFF-CAMERA VOICE): Assigned to Fort Monmouth, then he went to--$$Oh, okay, he's goes--okay, you go to Korea first, right?$$(No audible response).$$No, okay. What was the first?$$(OFF-CAMERA VOICE): I think he was assigned to Fort Monmouth and from Fort Monmouth, he was sent to Korea 'cause he went to Korea within six months of his marriage.$$All right, so.$$(OFF-CAMERA VOICE): He goes to Korea in '50 [1950], '51 [1951].$$Yeah, so I'm hearing that you went to Fort Monmouth [New Jersey] and then to Korea, right?$$Yes.$$Is that true?$$Yes.$$Okay, and you're--now, you were in the Signal Corp--$$Signal Corp, um-hum.$$--in Korea. What were your duties as a Signal Corpsman in Korea?$$We, I had the communications element of the division. The division's Signal officer was a Lieutenant Colonel, and I had the wire platoon, wire communications in those days. We did a lot of field wire installations and that sort of thing. We, that is cable to various units we supported, and I recall the unfortunate incident where the division Signal officer was traveling with some of my people, and we had these two and a half ton trucks with wire cable. The trouble, the problems were with mines mostly, whereby a mine was struck by one of the vehicles that I had and the Signal officer was traveling with some people in a jeep. I was in another jeep, and this cable, two and a half ton truck, hit a mine which didn't do too much damage, but the jeep where the Signal officer was, was--when they heard this other instance, when he heard the trouble, he backed up, and he backed over a mine. And that took out the Signal officer and one of my drivers, I believe, was with him and everything. So that they lost their lives in that incident--$$Okay.$$--which was a bit unnerving, so to speak.$$Yes, sir.

Mark Smith

Professor of electrical and computer engineering and competitive fencer Mark J. T. Smith was born on May 17, 1956 in Jamaica, Queens, New York. After receiving his B.S. degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978, Smith enrolled at the Georgia Institute of Technology and went on to graduate from there with his M.S. degree in 1979 and his Ph.D. degree in 1984. While at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Smith helped found the coalition Empowering Minority Engineering Scientists to Reach for Graduate Education (EMERGE).

In 1984, Smith joined the faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a professor of electrical and computer engineering. His research focused on communications, digital filters, and the processing of images and signals. In addition to teaching and research, Smith’s trained and competed in the sport of fencing. He was the National Champion of the United States in 1981 and 1983 and a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic Team in 1980 and 1984. Smith was one of the final runners carrying the Olympic Torch to the Opening Ceremonies in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. In 2003, Smith was promoted to head Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and was the first African American to hold the position. In 2009, Smith was named the Michael J. & Katherine R. Birck Endowed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dean of the Purdue University Graduate School.

At Georgia Institute of Technology, Smith received two teaching awards including the Georgia Tech Outstanding Teacher Award. He also authored over forty journal articles and is the co-author of four textbooks. Smith is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was also awarded its Processing Society Senior Award in 1992. Smith has also received the IEEE’s Distinguished Lecturer Award and has sat on their Signal Processing Society Board of Governors. In 2005, Smith received the International Society of Optical Engineers’ Wavelet Pioneer Award; and in 2007, he served as president of the National Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association.

Mark J. T. Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 8, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.127

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/8/2013

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Middle Name

J.T.

Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology

First Name

Mark

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SMI28

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Fiji, Kauai, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Indiana

Birth Date

5/17/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

West Lafayette

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster, Sea Bass (Chilean)

Short Description

Electrical engineer and competitive fencer Mark Smith (1956 - ) 1981 and 1983 U.S. National Fencing Champion and 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic fencing team member, is the Michael J. & Katherine R. Birck Endowed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dean of the Purdue University Graduate School

Employment

General Electric Company

Atlantic Richfield R&D

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology, Lorraine

Purdue University

Favorite Color

Blue, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mark Smith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mark Smith lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mark Smith describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mark Smith talks about his mother's education in New York City, her love of travel, and her employment as a social worker

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mark Smith describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mark Smith talks about his father's experience in World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mark Smith talks about his father's high school education and his employment in the New York City Transit Authority

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mark Smith talks about how his parents met, and their fifty years of marriage

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

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mark Smith talks about growing up in a close-knit household, and staying busy as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Mark Smith describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Mark Smith talks about the neighborhood where he spent his childhood in Queens, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Mark Smith describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Queens, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Mark Smith talks about spending time at the YMCA as a child, in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mark Smith describes his childhood interests and activities, while growing up in New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mark Smith talks about transferring from PS-123 to PS-90 in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mark Smith talks about his early interest in science, and the influence of his cousin, Roy

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mark Smith talks about his academic performance and mischievousness in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mark Smith describes his experience at The Henley School in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mark Smith talks about his childhood interest in television and action films

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mark Smith describes his early resolve to pursue engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mark Smith describes his experience in high school at The Henley School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mark Smith talks about his decision to transfer to John Bowne High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Mark Smith describes his interest in swimming and fencing at John Bowne High School

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Mark Smith describes how fencing as a modern-day sport differs from the traditional fighting duel

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mark Smith talks about strategies in fencing and the fencing community in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mark Smith describes his academic performance and extracurricular activities in high school, and his interest in pursuing a career in engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mark Smith describes his experience at John Bowne High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mark Smith describes his first visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mark Smith describes the high quality of his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mark Smith talks about being involved with fencing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mark Smith describes his undergraduate thesis on the building of a stroboscope

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mark Smith describes his decision to pursue graduate studies in digital signal processing, at the Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mark Smith describes his experience in competing for a place on the 1980 U.S. Olympic fencing team

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mark Smith talks about the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Olympics in 1980

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mark Smith talks about his doctoral research on 'filter banks', in the field of digital signal processing for applications in speech compression

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mark Smith talks about the advancements in sound technology, in transitioning from analog to digital systems

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mark Smith describes his Ph.D. dissertation on signal decomposition

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mark Smith talks about winning the U.S. Fencing National Championships in the early 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mark Smith describes his experience in the 1984 Olympics, and talks about the expenses involved in maintaining fencing equipment

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mark Smith talks about his decision to retire from Olympic-level fencing

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mark Smith talks about his experience as an assistant professor at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Mark Smith describes the development and applications of the 'Analysis by Synthesis Overlapping Ad' algorithm

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Mark Smith describes his work in the area of image enhancement

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mark Smith describes the applications of his work on image morphing

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mark Smith talks about the EMERGE program at Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mark Smith describes his involvement with the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mark Smith talks about his most significant research in the area of digital signal processing

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mark Smith describes his experience of carrying the Olympic torch at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mark Smith describes his experience at Georgia Tech's campus in France, and his service as the executive assistant to the university's president

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mark Smith describes his decision to accept the position as head of the electrical and computer engineering department at Purdue University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Mark Smith describes his early experience as the head of the electrical and computer engineering department at Purdue University

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Mark Smith describes his experience as the dean of the graduate school at Purdue University

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Mark Smith talks about his continuing involvement with research

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Mark Smith talks about his satisfaction with his current role in University administration

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Mark Smith talks about minority students pursuing the STEM fields at Purdue University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Mark Smith describes the African American and minority community at Purdue University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Mark Smith describes a social science experiment on cultural bias during employee hiring and selection

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Mark Smith reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Mark Smith reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Mark Smith talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Mark Smith talks about his parents attending his graduation, and watching fencing with him

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Mark Smith talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Mark Smith describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Mark Smith talks about strategies in fencing and the fencing community in New York City
Mark Smith describes his undergraduate thesis on the building of a stroboscope
Transcript
Okay, so we were just talking about the difference between real fencing and theatrical fencing--$$Right.$$And so, but real fencing is a strategic, you know, is strategy more important than say, speed?$$Everything is important 'cause it all comes together, right. What you're trying to do is you recognize that if you do some action, you have to anticipate what your opponent is going to do to counter that action. And you also learn from past experience. You know, the last time you tried faint disengage, and you were parried. So now you're going to go to the other side or attack a different target. So it's all this, you know, strategy building, faking people out. There's a lot of similarity with boxing. You know, there're faints that you make to draw a reaction. The same thing with fencing. You also study people, off strip, to find out what their natural reactions might be and then try to exploit that.$$Okay, now, when you started fencing, did you know of any African American fencers?$$No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know that black people fenced. What I found out is that a lot of them fence. I mean there were a lot of black fencers in the New York City community. And many of them were very, very good fencers, national champions.$$All right. I think there's even a, historically, you know, the greatest swordsman in France at one time was Chevalier St. George [Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George] and, you know, Dumas' son was supposed to be really good, you know, yeah--his father, rather, yeah.$$So I had no idea, I mean starting out, right, I had no idea what the community looked like at all. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know that there was a community of fencers in New York City. But, you know, many of the good clubs, fencing clubs, were in New York City, and they produced the national champs. So it was a great place to learn fencing.$$Okay.$$Moreover, just in the high school system, all the high schools had fencing programs, had fencing teams. So there was lots of competition and lots of inter--what would you call it? Well, we had division championships and then borough championships and citywide championships so it was very well organized.$$There are a lot of fencing programs around the county on the high school level. I know even when I was in high school, all the schools in Dayton, Ohio had a fencing program.$$Yeah.$$But it's something that kind of flies under the radar. You don't hear a lot about who the champions of fencing are, overshadowed by, you know, basketball and football and track, and that sort of thing.$$And now soccer.$$Yeah, so how did you do as a fencer in high school?$$So in swimming, right, I was a big fish in a, the smallest, very, very small pond here. Fencing, there was only one pond. And so I did well in high school. When I went to college, I'm reminded by a buddy of mine, he tells me how terrible I was when I came in. But, you know, the level of high school fencing, all right, was not that high. But I did do well. I mean we had competitions. I remember the best, I took second in a citywide event. So I was, you know, very happy with that. More important is I just had a lot of fun fencing.$Did you have a undergraduate project that you worked on for graduation, like a capstone project or something?$$So I, at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts], you had to do an undergraduate thesis. And so that's what I had to do my thesis year. But one of the things that I did do, there's a period called IAP, Independent Activities Period, which is the month of January. And so they have hundreds of different activities that you can do, sky diving, you can do different types of projects. So I'd like doing an electronic, I tried to do some kind of an electronics project. And so the first project I did was to make a stroboscope. And I remember going to Doc Edgerton. He's this legendary professor, the one who invented and pioneered the stroboscope, strobe light, and he has some of these classic pictures that he's taken with a strobe light, that are in museums and on display and so forth, like a bullet going through an apple, where it's just frozen in motion, just crystal clear, captured through, with the stroboscope. So--$$Right, yeah, that's--$$And you probably have seen those kind--(simultaneous)--$$Yeah, I have, I have, and Edgerton, right, yeah. I remember the name now.$$So I remember going up to his lab and I met him, and I was just awestruck. Wow, this is Professor Edgerton, and he's talking to me. And he's nice. And so he was explaining about the strobes. So I said, gee, I would love to figure out how this worked and to build it. And so he gave me a schematic. Now, I didn't know what to do with the schematic. And I didn't have any of the equipment, but he helped me. And he gave me some of the parts and got me started, and I was able to work with another guy in the dormitory who was, I think, a senior. He may have been a first-year graduate student. And together we made this stroboscope. It was really quite a satisfying project. My soldering improved a whole lot since my Heathkit days.$$Okay, so how do you make a stroboscope? I mean what is the, what goes into making a stroboscope?$$Well, you need a transformer. You need to have the strobe light. Those are perhaps the two most important things. So this one used transistors. It wasn't a vacuum-tube based thing. But basically, there's an oscillator circuit that kicks the stroboscope on. And you have to generate sufficient voltage in order to, to kick the light. And so you wanna have that oscillating at a very fast frequency. The strobe light is one that can charge and discharge very quickly. So you can get that bright flash.$$Okay, so you need a bright enough, fast enough flash to catch that action with a camera, with a--$$So I, yeah, so the one that I did, I mean I wasn't trying to do photography with this. This one just blink and, so one of the demonstrations, for example, that he had, he had pulsating water that would just be dropping. And then you could shine the stroboscope on it at a certain frequency, and you would see the beads of water that appeared to stop, to just freeze. And then you could adjust the frequency and get them to go backwards, or you'd get them to go forward. You could create these kinds of effects with the strobe light.$$Okay.$$So what I had essentially was a frequency variable strobe light, that could be adjusted.$$So you'd pick up the action at a certain point and that's what you would see, even though the water is consistently dripping, you'd see the, you know--$$The little beads.$$Yeah, right, beads--$$Yeah, yeah.$$--at one point in time. Okay. All right, so this was your undergraduate thesis?$$Another one was a music synthesizer. That was another one that was fun to make.$$Okay.

Dr. Jayfus Doswell

Entrepreneur Jayfus Tucker Doswell was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1979. His mother, Brenda Tucker Doswell, was an educator and entrepreneur; his father, Ronald Jayfus Doswell, a social worker and historian. As a child, Doswell attended Baltimore City Public schools and enjoyed playing classical piano and violin in the Baltimore Youth Orchestra and competing in Tae-Kwon-Do and Kung-Fu tournaments. In 1995, Doswell graduated from Oberlin College with his B.A. degrees in psychology and computer science. His B.A. thesis was presented at Williams College in Massachusetts. He went on to earn his M.S. degree in systems and computer management from Howard University in 1998, and his Ph.D. degree in information technology from George Mason University. Doswell contributed his dissertation to to the creation of the IEEE Virtual Instructor Pilot Research Group (VIPRG), where he is co-director.

As early as 1997, Doswell discussed the implications of virtual reality learning technology in Black Issues In Higher Education. While earning his Ph.D. degree at George Mason University, Doswell conceived of Juxtopia, LLC and the Juxtopia Group, Inc., which develop products to integrate into a human’s daily routine and provide services to improve human health and learning. Doswell’s findings have been published in various scientific journals. Doswell has also consulted with different companies and organizations, including Maryland Medical Systems, CompuServe, Lockheed Martin, BearingPoint, Scientific Applications International Corporation, Virtual Logic, TRW and the National Cancer Institute Center for Bioinformatics. He was appointed as the chair of Biotechnology at Sojourner Douglass College, while also developing the biotechnology curriculum for Baltimore City Public Schools. In 2010, Doswell was named distinguished professor at Elizabeth City State University.

Doswell has served as a board member for several organizations such as, the American Public Health Association Health Informatics and Information Technology special interest group and American Telemedicine Association. He is also active in many professional organizations, including the Association of Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and the National Society of Black Engineers. Doswell has several inventions that are patent pending at the U.S. Patent Office.

Jayfus T. Doswell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 17, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.011

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/17/2013

Last Name

Doswell

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Baltimore City College

Oberlin College

George Mason University

School No. 66, Mount Royal Elementary and Middle School

Fallstaff Elementary

Calvert Hall College High School

Howard University

First Name

Jayfus

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

DOS02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Kerkade, Netherlands

Favorite Quote

The Propensity For Perfection.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

2/24/1972

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon, Rice, Broccoli

Short Description

Entrepreneur Dr. Jayfus Doswell (1972 - ) is the founder of Juxtopia, LLC, and Juxtopia Group, Inc., where he has served as president and chief executive officer.

Employment

Juxtopia LLC

Sojourner Douglass College

Phezu Space, LLC

Elizabeth City State University

KPMG

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:16356,228:16938,235:24407,337:26638,379:32846,472:38350,506:39250,518:47530,739:69143,1104:75078,1164:75382,1169:77282,1233:78194,1250:83514,1375:86478,1439:104075,1638:110450,1765:111050,1774:112100,1791:113825,1829:116825,1912:117425,1921:125210,2075:131852,2214:139841,2284:148409,2486:148976,2496:151811,2584:160297,2686:166126,2780:171884,2927:188316,3097:203880,3186:204420,3196:209820,3292:213360,3320:216856,3364:218872,3393:220552,3436:221560,3458:231340,3566$0,0:848,18:2044,40:2412,45:7932,164:8300,169:8852,176:9312,182:11980,225:21900,364:22474,372:22966,379:28296,469:29198,480:35922,583:36250,588:48890,670:56110,789:59226,843:70136,950:71771,969:72534,977:104779,1373:108343,1435:113041,1531:113851,1542:118280,1556:119984,1582:122682,1632:123108,1639:123818,1654:124670,1668:124954,1673:127852,1692:135037,1815:135748,1836:137249,1870:150742,2116:170044,2356:173365,2396:178570,2413:184330,2471:187760,2491:189056,2512:191432,2537:191864,2542:197479,2590:198143,2603:200052,2631:201131,2645:201546,2651:202293,2661:214414,2763:219360,2828
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Jayfus Doswell shares the stories behind his first and middle names

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Jayfus Doswell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jayfus Doswell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jayfus Doswell describes his mother's upbringing and education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jayfus Doswell describes his mother's experience in the Morgan State Choir under the direction of Dr. Nathan Carter

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his paternal family history

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jayfus Doswell describe enslavement in his paternal family history

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his father's upbringing in Baltimore, Maryland where he attended Dunbar High School

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jayfus Doswell talks about the history of higher education among his paternal relatives

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jayfus Doswell talks about how his father exposed him to black history as well as leaders in Baltimore, Maryland's black community, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - 02:19:31:16 Jayfus Doswell describes his father's service in the Vietnam War as a sergeant medic

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jayfus Doswell talks about how his father exposed him to black history as well as leaders in Baltimore, Maryland's black community, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jayfus Doswell describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his father's education and career

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jayfus Doswell describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jayfus Doswell describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jayfus Doswell describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jayfus Doswell talks about street divisions among boys in his childhood neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his educational background

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his parents' separation and his first major argument with his father

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jayfus Doswell remembers starring in a Parks Sausages commercial and purchasing his first computer

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jayfus Doswell talks about learning computer programming at the age of twelve

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jayfus Doswell describes the racism he experienced at Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jayfus Doswell describes his experience at Baltimore City College

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jayfus Doswell describes the lack of computer programming courses at Baltimore City College when he was a student

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jayfus Doswell describes his self-discipline as a youth

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jayfus Doswell describes his experience at Baltimore City College in Baltimore, Maryland and his emerging interest in neuroscience

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jayfus Doswell describes competing in 'Amateur Night at the Apollo'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his musical activities as a high school student

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jayfus Doswell describes his extracurricular activities as a high school student at Baltimore City College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his decision to attend Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jayfus Doswell remembers Yolanda Cruz, a mentor at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio and his undergraduate research on virtual reality

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jayfus Doswell describes the research he conducted as a Ford-Mellon Research Scholar at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Jayfus Doswell remembers his first job offer in 1994

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his first job as a computer programmer at CompuServe and his mentor there, Michael Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jayfus Doswell describes applying the skills he learned at CompuServe for a consultancy project at Oberlin College

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jayfus Doswell talks about how he applies his organizational training at CompuServe to train his interns at his company, Juxtopia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jayfus Doswell talks about Greek life as a student at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jayfus Doswell describes training his interns at his company, Juxtopia

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his graduate studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jayfus Doswell describes his advisor and his doctoral research at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jayfus Doswell talks about the founding of Juxtopia, LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jayfus Doswell describes Juxtopia's first conceptual product

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Jayfus Doswell talks about two of Juxtopia's major products in augmented reality

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Jayfus Doswell talks about the R&D at Juxtopia and Google Glass

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jayfus Doswell distinguishes between two forms of augmented reality

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jayfus Doswell talks about the sources of funding for his company, Juxtopia

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jayfus Doswell talks about intellectual property and patents for augmented reality goggles

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jayfus Doswell talks about the launch of his nonprofit organization, the JUICE Lab

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jayfus Doswell describes a recent honor from the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jayfus Doswell comments on the general public's lack of knowledge about software engineering

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jayfus Doswell comments on the interns at his nonprofit, the JUICE Lab

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jayfus Doswell talks about Juxtopia's connection to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jayfus Doswell describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Jayfus Doswell talks about what he would do differently

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Jayfus Doswell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Jayfus Doswell describes his hobbies and other business ventures

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Jayfus Doswell talks about his parents and their pride in his success

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Jayfus Doswell comments on how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Jayfus Doswell talks about learning computer programming at the age of twelve
Jayfus Doswell talks about the launch of his nonprofit organization, the JUICE Lab
Transcript
Okay, so what, what kind of computer did you get?$$A Texas Instrument.$$Okay.$$It was called a TI-99, a gray computer, speak-synthesizer module, you have to buy it separately and hook to the side of it. So I was actually doing speech recognition programming back in 1985 on my own. And then one of my friends, over here, Paul Buchanan also had a computer and we used to try to program games together back in 1985, during just--that was part of the play time, okay let's program. We want to have our own business at twelve, but we didn't have any direction we just self-directed.$$Now how did you, how did you even like know what to do in terms of programming a computer? I mean, who, who--where did--(simultaneous)--$$Well first, well first started when--like play. The computers used to come with books, we could buy like books on how to program, I don't know where the real interest was, but I remember my mother [Brenda Tucker Doswell] took me to a class--a programming--an introductory programming class which was the most boring thing in the world, but because my friend also had a computer we thought well we can play games with the computer right, but what else could we do with the computer. Now there, there were game systems like the Atari, and the Texas Instruments where you can actually program and build your own systems. So I was--I had an Atari, but I also liked to build my own things, right, I'm a--you know, with software. So that was the interest and Paul Buchanan, we're the same age and he liked to do that as well. So, it, it first started off when we would go to different stores and type in some phrase, right, and then loop--make it loop on the computer so we'd type up a small program and we knew how to do it so we'd go in like shopping malls, type some crazy phrase and it would show on the screen, this looping, over and over and over and over again, we thought it was the funniest thing.$$'Cause the people didn't know how to get it off of there or what?$$We probably did but, when people walked by they would say this crazy--see this crazy phrase. It may have been our name, be something else, we don't, we don't know. And that sparked the interest because it was almost like, like for laughs for us and then it got more sophisticated after that in terms of, you know programs, trying to program things for real. Like game characters, scenarios, but everything was--$$Yeah, I know they used to publish those codes, game codes of how to cheat different games, different levels and all, did you all, was that, that part--(simultaneous)--$$We didn't do that, we liked to build the stuff from scratch, you know.$$Okay.$$So we studied programming languages, and at that time too we were saving things on cass-we were saving data on cassette tapes so there was a connector from a cassette tape to the computer and we used to save the data there then floppy disk came out so that's when we said, okay, this the greatest thing and then 3.5" disk came out after that, yep. So that was like, that was like every weekend we're gonna build upon a program, yeah so that was pretty cool back there.$$Okay, okay, so were, were you gettin' any support from school in terms of how to do these things?$$Not at all.$$So.$$The schools didn't even have computers like that. I mean, typing sure, programming, absolutely not.$$Okay.$$So all that was like, self-directed learning if you will. But to us it wasn't even learning, it was like a project, like building a, building a model airplane or model rocket, same type of concept growing up.$Now do you have a dream project you can talk about now that you're working on that you--?$$Oh, I, sure, so, under my not-for-profit organization that's where we do some really fancy stuff and they govern--the nice--the great technology I, now I train on how to become an entrepreneur, how to become an inventor. So under my not-for-profit organization, we have a program called JUICE, the Juxtopia Urban Innovation and Cooperative Entrepreneurship Network, an in that network we have a--a one--a young lady who's an undergraduate student that actually had a dream about interacting with information without a display. Now, the Star Trek fans with--you would call this holographic experience, right and then new technology you'll see like interactive holographic experiences. That's one project that one of my mentees, my apprentices is, is working on. How can you create an independent interactive holograph experience without, you know, outside cameras or display systems using potentially smart materials and also applications of biotechnology, so that's one (clears throat).$$Now, the governor [Governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley] was present for the opening of JUICE [in 2012].$$Of the JUICE Lab, right. So right here in this building in my lab, the governor, Governor O'Malley had a ribbon cutting ceremony to re--to celebrate the opening of the JUICE Lab and also the Maryland, (cough) excuse me, the Maryland Innovation Initiative [MII], which is an initiative legislated in Maryland to really spark innovations and technology transfer from universities. Juxtopia's even during, you know, its initial inception it's always been tied to a university at some point. An academic institution with a preference towards (clears throat) underserved and disadvantaged institutions like HBCU's, Historically black colleges [and] universities and minority serving institutions. Giving internships to populations who are underserved in the sciences an math, right so I think the governor, Governor O'Malley and Maryland legislation recognized that and celebrated the JUICE lab and celebrated Juxtopia for what it's doing not only in product development and manufacturing here in America, in Baltimore [Maryland] but also (clears throat) improving the efficiency of underserved and disadvantaged youth.$$Okay, now you have a--how, how many people you have on staff here, yeah?$$Here in this building we have thirteen, yep and then we have management that are not in here, scattered, so five core management including legal counsel, vice president, Dr. Edward Hill, Diane, Doctor Diane Adams, who's president of Juxtopia Life, John Johnson, Chief Operating Officer, so, yeah. But all the technical staff--the technical staff specifically for the goggles are here in our secret Juice Lab (laughter).$$Okay. All right.$$Yeah.

Gary May

Electrical engineer and academic administrator Gary Stephen May was born on May 17, 1964 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was one of two children born to Warren May, Jr., a postal clerk, and Gloria Hunter, a teacher. As a high school student, May participated in a summer program called “Developing Engineering Students” at McDonnell Douglass Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri for three summers. He was subsequently employed by the company as a cooperative education student. May received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1985, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1987 and 1991, respectively.

May joined the George Tech College Engineering in 1991 as a member of the microelectronics research group. In 1992, May created the Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering/Science (SURE) program with a grant from the National Science Foundation. May is also the co-founder and director of the Facilitating Academic Careers in Engineering and Sciences (FACES) program, for which he has received over $10 million in funding from NSF to increase the number of African American Ph.D. degree graduates produced by Georgia Institute of Technology. In 2001, May was named Motorola Foundation Professor, and was appointed associate chair for Faculty Development in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Then, in 2005, May was promoted to Steve W. Chaddick Chair of ECE; and, in 2011, he became Dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Throughout his career, May has published numerous articles in academic journals, including Journal of Applied Physics, the International Journal of Materials and Manufacturing Processes. He also served as editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing. In 2006, May was the co-author of Fundamentals of Semiconductor Manufacturing and Process Control; and in 2003, he co-authored . May is also the recipient of professional and academic awards. In 2004, May received Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, as well as the Outstanding Minority Engineer Award from the American Society of Engineering Education. In 2006, he received the Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). For his academic contributions, May was named a fellow of the AAAS, the IEEE, and received an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Latina de Panama.

May and his wife, LeShelle Mary, live in Atlanta, Georgia with their two daughters, Simon and Jordan.

Gary Stephen May was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 10, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.207

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/10/2012

Last Name

May

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Stephen

Schools

University of California, Berkeley

Georgia Institute of Technology

First Name

Gary

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

MAY07

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

5/17/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Electrical engineer and academic administrator Gary May (1964 - ) is the Dean of the College of Electrical Engineering of Georgia Institute of Technology.

Employment

Georgia Institute of Technology

University of California, Berkeley

Bell Laboratories

McDonnell Douglas Technical Services Company (MDTSC)

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:1248,20:5772,135:6474,150:16692,335:17472,346:20846,363:21102,368:21742,384:23534,432:23982,440:24302,446:25646,468:26094,481:27246,504:28782,545:31772,556:32213,571:32591,578:33851,603:34355,616:36119,651:37064,667:38009,688:38639,704:39836,725:40088,730:40592,740:41348,759:50477,853:51686,865:52895,881:57178,922:57700,932:57932,937:58396,946:58802,956:59092,962:59904,981:62688,1045:63094,1057:64254,1094:64486,1099:65530,1129:66632,1164:67038,1172:67386,1180:67676,1186:68488,1205:69300,1230:70518,1258:70982,1267:72722,1324:73476,1346:73998,1369:78872,1395:79574,1409:81194,1450:81626,1459:82436,1477:82652,1482:83138,1492:83354,1497:83894,1508:84326,1516:85028,1534:93950,1622:94800,1636:95735,1648:96755,1669:98200,1699:98625,1705:99305,1716:99985,1728:106013,1779:110210,1821:111330,1842:113708,1872:113992,1881:114418,1888:114915,1898:115554,1923:118820,1973:121305,2020:122299,2031:122583,2036:123222,2048:123577,2054:128760,2065:129112,2070:131630,2095:132174,2104:132922,2118:136118,2164:136662,2173:138280,2181$0,0:7022,71:8094,100:8630,109:27150,416:28151,432:29306,453:33772,559:34234,568:34619,574:35620,591:36544,606:41910,634:43830,670:45670,699:47830,743:52070,813:60110,902:60830,912:61310,919:62510,938:66030,1003:68030,1044:70110,1077:70430,1082:75472,1127:79882,1255:80953,1279:81457,1288:81709,1293:82024,1299:84355,1369:85678,1404:86056,1411:91450,1468:96065,1594:96845,1618:99835,1690:101590,1719:102175,1731:102500,1737:103020,1746:103475,1755:103930,1764:104385,1770:104710,1776:109520,1789:114020,1889:119345,2016:119720,2022:120095,2032:121145,2054:131750,2215:135390,2306:135670,2311:138190,2335:139870,2382:142180,2437:142810,2449:156945,2666:158254,2744:160333,2784:160949,2794:162335,2820:164260,2890:164568,2895:164953,2901:165261,2907:166185,2923:166570,2929:177588,3046:179991,3100:189614,3244:190334,3261:192422,3303:192710,3308:194438,3350:202142,3530:203438,3565:212490,3628:219962,3653:220520,3667:223992,3724:224674,3737:236636,3968:239048,4040:239986,4071:245653,4163:249771,4262:253889,4355:257013,4402:257936,4417:275841,4587:276633,4596:277326,4604:278428,4648:279907,4768:305232,5125:306072,5136:306744,5145:307500,5156:310356,5227:312036,5256:312708,5265:315144,5364:320716,5467:323994,5502:327990,5592:330506,5645:331320,5660:331616,5665:332208,5674:341310,5822
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gary May's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gary May lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gary May describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gary May describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gary May describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gary May describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gary May describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gary May describes his interest in comic books and science fiction

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gary May talks about his elementary and middle school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gary May describes his reaction to the television mini-series, 'Roots'

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gary May describes his experience in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gary May talks about his experience in the Developing Engineering Students summer program

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gary May describes his teenage interests

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gary May describes what influenced his college choice

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gary May talks about his experience at the Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gary May describes his experience at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gary May talks about the University of California at Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gary May talks about his doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gary May describes his decision to stay at Georgia Tech for his Ph.D.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gary May describes his work with science education at Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gary May describes his computer preferences

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gary May talks about programs to increase minority representation in engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gary May talks about his professional activities and awards

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gary May talks about his career at the Georgia Institute of Technology, part one

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gary May talks about his career at the Georgia Institute of Technology, part two

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gary May describes his goals as dean of the engineering school at Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gary May reflects on the effects of automation on the loss of jobs

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gary May discusses the balance between his research and administrative responsibilities

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gary May describes cutting edge research in semiconductors and electrical engineering

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gary May reflects on his career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gary May shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gary May reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gary May talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Gary May describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Gary May describes his reaction to the television mini-series, 'Roots'
Gary May describes his work with science education at Georgia Institute of Technology
Transcript
Yeah, well, we were talking off camera about 'Roots' [Alex Haley]--$$Emm hmm.$$--now that came out in 1977--$$Right.$$--and you'd have been ahh what, thirteen?$$Yeah, I was like ahh eighth grade or so.$$Yeah, thirteen years old?$$Emm hmm.$$And tell us about your reaction to "Roots."$$I was fascinated by it. It was probably the most compelling television I had ever seen, and maybe still to this day have seen 'cause, you know, I watched every episode. My face was glued to the television, riveted by every, every--'cause I had never--had no concept of slavery in the middle passage and what sort of things black people had endured. I mean we had some of this in school, but you know reading it in a textbook just didn't come alive the same way it did on television there with, you know, the story was so well-done and well-acted, and it was just a significant milestone in my life, seeing that series.$$Okay, and you expressed some surprise that your white classmates weren't watching.$$Yeah. So, you know, at school we'd get there in the morning and everyone would say, "What did you do last night? What did you watch on television?" And, you know, I was stunned that my white classmates weren't watching it. I couldn't imagine anybody wouldn't be watching this (laughter), but, you know, and they didn't, and not because they were bad people or anything; it just wasn't part of their experience or interest, and that was also something--a learning experience for me that there was some difference between myself and my, my classmates.$$Okay, okay. So did your teachers discuss it at school at all?$$We did not discuss it in school very much at all. It was more of a family--you know my whole family was watching it together and we'd discuss it, you know, during and after.$$Okay, okay. Did you have a sense that your own family history was--part of that was your own family history?$$Well I would ask a lotta questions. You know, it was the same kinda thing that our family experienced, and I was able to generalize that show to the black experience more broadly, and didn't have specific details on my family like Alex Haley did, but could sort of identify with it.$Okay. All right. So you became professor of engineering and computer engineering?$$Electrical and Computer Engineering--$$Okay.$$--that's the way we were organized here, but I still do electrical engineering myself, but we also had computer engineering degree and we're in the same department.$$Okay. Okay. It's interesting here and like almost the second year you're here, in '92 [1992], you founded and became director of the Summer Undergraduate Research and Engineering Science program, SURE--$$Right. The SURE program.$$--the SURE program.$$So, you know, my other real passion, in addition to my research, was in attracting other minorities to engineering and science and helping grow the field and replicate myself, if you will. I never could understand why there were so few of us. You know, if you believe, as I do, that the types of talents that make for good engineers are distributed uniformly across populations, there should be--you know, we should be a parity in engineering--black people, but we're not. So that's been a real passion of mine to contract more people to engineering, more African-American people to engineering. So at this program, the SURE program that you mentioned was an offshoot of something we did in graduate school where we brought students from other universities to campus at [University of California] Berkeley for the summer to recruit them to graduate school there.$$Now was that the Superb program?$$Superb. So my colleagues and I, when we were still graduate students, started the Superb program at Berkeley. And so the SURE program--the first name actually was called GT Supreme and forget what--it was another long acronym, but the same general model where the idea was to bring students from all over the U.S., black students who were at that time just electrical engineers, to Georgia Tech to (1) get them interested in graduate school, and (2) to hopefully recruit them to Georgia Tech for their graduate education. And I did that--that's probably, as I think about it, that was actually the first proposal I ever got funded as a faculty member, was for the SURE program. And starting that, as you said, right after I came in 1992, and it's been going strong every year since then so--the program is twenty-two years old now.$$Now did you get this program funded for $2.3 million back in '92 [1992]?$$No, no. The very first grant I got was for about $50,000, yeah.$$Oh, so this is the accumulation of all years, I guess (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--yeah, that's (unclear). Yeah.$$--'cause I was gonna say "Wow, it's astonishing."$$(Laughter) That would be great if that was my first grant, no. That first--it was just for one summer, a 50,000 grant--$50,000 grant for one summer, for '92 [1992], that would fund about ten students. And then after that, I wrote a, you know, renewal proposal and have been renewing it ever since then, typically every three years. The cumulative amount of funding there has been more than two million dollars.$$Okay. So it's funded by the National Science Foundation [NSF].$$Primarily. There have been a few other foundations, but that's been the bulk of the amount.$$Okay. Well--and that's for approximately how many students?$$So we started out with just ten students that summer, but now we have about thirty-five or forty students every summer. Cumulatively, we've had over 400 students since the program started. No students themselves have gone on; some of them have started similar programs and gone to graduate school and are professors at other universities, and it's been quite a success story.$$Okay. All right. Now, let's see. What were you working on? Was your time at Georgia Tech split between research and teaching?$$It was. At any research university, the responsibilities of the faculty member include both the research mission of the university as well as your teaching--your educational mission of the university. And there's some service and professional things that you do as well, but you have to be good at all those things to be successful, to get tenure and get promoted. And I was doing what I was supposed to doing.$$What kind of research were you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) (unclear)--work. I was continuing that. I had students working on, you know, various sensors and modeling and process control systems, and all again designed to improve the efficiency and productivity of integrated circuit manufacturing.$$$$Okay. All right. So it says here that in 1997, you're thirty-three years old, you take on a leadership role at the National Science Foundation.$$Yeah, I was working as a--on a committee for NSF [National Science Foundation], and I think what I was doing then, if I remember that particular role, that was the--that's probably--it could be one of two things. It was a Committee on Equal Opportunity and Science Engineering. Is that the one you're talking about?$$Yeah, right.$$Yeah. So I was on that committee for a while and I eventually became Chair of that committee. I guess I was Chair in 2000.$$Okay. (Coughing). And in 1998, you founded the Facilities Academic Careers in Engineering and Sciences (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--So that's a FACES program. Facilitating Academic Careers in Engineering and Science. That was another grant from NSF that we got through a program that was originally called Minority Graduate Education, but now it's called The Alliances for Graduate Education (unclear). And the idea there was (1) to increase the number of underrepresented minorities getting PhD's in STEM fields, and more importantly than to get those folks with the PhD's into academic careers. And that was--we were one of the first cohort of universities that got one those grants and I was the principal investigator of the grant.

Herbert Winful

Electrical Engineer Herbert Winful was born on December 12, 1952 in London, England and raised in Cape Coast, Ghana in West Africa. His father Herbert Francis was an engineer, and his mother Margaret Ferguson Graves was a teacher. As a child Winful was mesmerized by lasers and often dreamed of developing his own. As a sophomore attending MIT Winful was mentored by Dr. Hermann A. Haus – National Medal of Science honoree and pioneer in the field optical communications. Winful received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering in the 1975 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1981, he graduated from the University of Southern California earning his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering. Dr. Joh Marburger – former science advisor to President George H.W. Bush – guided Winful’s groundbreaking work on non-periodic structures.

From 1980 to 1986, Winful worked at GTE Laboratories (now Verizon Laboratories) in Waltham, Massachusetts. The Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) department at University of Michigan hired Winful as an associate professor in 1987. Through research and teaching he made fundamental contributions to multiple sub-disciplines in hid field: nonlinear fiber optics, nonlinear optics in periodic structures and nonlinear dynamics of laser arrays, propagation of single-cycle pulses. was promoted to full professor in 1992, and one year later the University of Michigan promoted him to an endowed professorship – Thurnau Professor. Throughout his career Winful studied problems involving the relationship between laser arrangement and production of power. Winfield most significant scholarly achievement was solving the scientific paradox of quantum tunneling time.

Winful’s contributions have been recognized by professional and academic organizations. He was named a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. The University of Michigan recognized Winful with the Amoco/University Teaching Award, the State of Michigan Teaching Award and the EECS Professor of the Year Award.

Herbert Winful was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 10/23/2012.

Accession Number

A2012.181

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/23/2012

Last Name

Winful

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Schools

Catholic Jubilee School

St. Augustine's College

Lehigh University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

University of Southern California

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

London

HM ID

WIN08

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

12/3/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Ann Arbor

Country

England

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Electrical engineer Herbert Winful (1952 - ) , former director and professor of materials research at Howard University, is professor emeritus of electrical engineering at the University of Michigan.

Employment

GTE Laboratories

University of Michigan

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbert Winful's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herbert Winful lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herbert Winful describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herbert Winful talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herbert Winful talks about schools in Ghana during his grandparent's time

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herbert Winful talks about his mother growing up in Gold Coast, Ghana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herbert Winful describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herbert Winful talks about Ghana's matrilineal society

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herbert Winful describes the Fantes

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Herbert Winful talks about the history of slave trade in Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herbert Winful describes Fante names

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herbert Winful talks about having to navigate the cultures of Ghana and Great Britain

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herbert Winful describes his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herbert Winful talks about his parents' courtship

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

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herbert Winful talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herbert Winful talks about his memories of Ghanian President Kwame Nkrumah

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herbert Winful describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herbert Winful describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herbert Winful describes the duality of growing up both as a Catholic and as a Fante

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herbert Winful describes being educated under the British system of education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herbert Winful describes his interest in math and engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herbert Winful talks about the interest in Ghanian culture in salvaging parts of things

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herbert Winful describes learning about science

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herbert Winful talks about the Volta Region

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herbert Winful describes meeting the Russian female astronaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to go into space

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herbert Winful describes his high school, St. Augustine's College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Herbert Winful talks about his memories of the coup of Ghanian President Kwame Nkrumah

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herbert Winful talks about taking calculus in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herbert Winful compares the American and British educational systems

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herbert Winful describes his graduation from St. Augustine's High School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herbert Winful talks about why he chose Lehigh University for his first year of college

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herbert Winful describes his interest, idols and involvement in music while in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herbert Winful describes his arrival in the United States to attend Lehigh University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herbert Winful describes his experience at Lehigh University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Herbert Winful talks about his mentors at Lehigh University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herbert Winful describes his transfer from Lehigh University to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he worked on lasers

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herbert Winful describes Massachusetts Institute of Technology's African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herbert Winful describes his decision to attend the University of Southern California for graduate school

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herbert Winful describes his doctoral dissertation on nonlinear optics pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herbert Winful describes his doctoral dissertation on nonlinear optics pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herbert Winful talks about his research at GTE Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herbert Winful describes his decision to teach at the University of Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Herbert Winful talks about leaders in non-linear optics pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Herbert Winful talks about the leaders in nonlinear optics pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Herbert Winful talks about optical phase conjugation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Herbert Winful describes his research and teaching at the University of Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Herbert Winful describes his research on laser arrays and coupling fiber lasers

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Herbert Winful discusses the applications of his research

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Herbert Winful describes the future of lasers

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Herbert Winful talks about his work with STEM education

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Herbert Winful suggests a question for young scientists

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Herbert Winful talks about his current research on coupling fiber lasers

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Herbert Winful describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Herbert Winful describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Herbert Winful reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Herbert Winful reflects on his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Herbert Winful talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Herbert Winful describes his relationship with the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Herbert Winful describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Herbert Winful talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Herbert Winful describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

5$5

DATitle
Herbert Winful describes learning about science
Herbert Winful describes his doctoral dissertation on nonlinear optics pt. 2
Transcript
I was, I was actually a very good student. From the earliest times I can remember from the first grade onwards, I seemed to be always like at the top of the class. I did well in math, in English, in pretty much every--every subject. I thought--I thought it was just, you know, normal, you know, people who, you know, who studied and you did well. So I didn't know whether it was hereditary or what. Now, my mother [Margaret Ferguson Graves] also encouraged, you know, learning, and as a school teacher, she would come home in the evenings and after dinner, we'd all sit around the table, after she cleared off the plates and she would get to work, like, you know, grading her students' papers, and we would sit there doing our homework. So we all sat there and worked. And that was just a habit, you know, getting things done, reading and studying, doing your homework.$$Now, was it a, was it a--you were fully aware that your father was an engineer?$$Yes, yeah--$$Did this give you--encourage you to--because very few people can point to that, you know.$$Yes, and in fact, my father, I think, once or twice, took me to the worksite of the Volta River Project during the construction. So I saw the dam while it was being built, I saw the huge man-made lake formed after they had dammed the Volta River. He actually took me--we walked down one of these huge pan stalks that, you know, bring the water down to turn the other turbines, the generator. It was the most amazing thing. I said, "Wow, so this is what engineers do," you know, and I think that also really fed into my--my early interest in engineering and in science, oh yeah, and also an important influence. And then I had an uncle, too. We called him Uncle Principal, a brother of my mother. He was a principal of teacher's training school. And I remember he gave me once a book called '101 Experiments You Can Do At Home.' I think I was about maybe 10 years old or so, and that book became my favorite book, you know, I proceeded to do all these experiments in the kitchen, making things that might, you know, explode. Those were the fun parts, the things that blew up. But yeah, it was really so much fun.$$So, you had like two, you know, sort of role models, two men you knew were into science, and some of the women. You had your father being an engineer of this huge project.$$Yeah.$You know, a periodic structure, you know, this is something that repeats itself. And so you can imagine stacking up layers of say glass and glass plates, and let's say one glass plate has a certain refracted index; refracted index tells you how light bends or how light gets slowed down in the medium; let's say you have one medium, one glass plate with a set of refracted index "A", another one with a refracted index "B", so you stack them alternately, AB, AB, AB, so you have, you know, a periodic stack. It turns out that such a periodic structure has interest in properties in the sense that it acts as a filter so that certain--only certain wave lengths will pass through, only certain colors will go through, and the rest will get reflected. So, it has, what we would call "a stop band," it stops, let's say, a red light from going through, but other colors can go through. Now, when you see butterflies in lovely iridescent colors, those--those colorations arise from tiny periodic structures that are organized in the wings and they reflect different colors. So, the idea I had was, what if light--you send in light that's intense enough to change the refracted index of those periodic structure. Well, then, if the light is strong enough, it can tune the stop band, it can tune the colors that can pass through and those that can reject it. So, if I had low intensity, if I had lower intensity light, that red light would get through, as I increase the intensity, it gets to a point where that red light can no longer get through; it all gets reflected. So, it would have an intensity dependent refracted index, and that can lead to various interesting applications like all optical switching and use as a digital optical computant element, so that was the start of the field of study, and that's something I did while I was a graduate student. Now, the other one that you mentioned, having to do with the speed of light, that relates to a phenomenon called tunneling, tunneling through a barrier, and that's work that I did more recently, yeah, in Michigan.$$Okay. Well, we can maybe wait until we get to that.$$Okay.$$With your dissertation, you finished in 19--$$1981, yeah, uh-huh.$$--'81 [1981], okay.

Edward Tunstel

Robotics engineer and technology developer Edward Tunstel, Jr. was born on November 29, 1963 in Harlem, New York to Agnes Tunstel and Edward Tunstel, Sr. As a child, Tunstel was very interested in art, which led him to pursue an initial interest in architecture. However, after he attended a seminar held by the New York Academy of Sciences the summer of his junior year in high school, he decided to shift his focus to engineering instead due to his curiosity in learning how things worked. He graduated from Springfield Gardens High School in Queens, New York in 1981 and received his B.S. and M.E. degrees in mechanical engineering from Howard University in 1986 and 1989, respectively.

Upon his graduation from Howard University, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recruited Tunstel. In 1992, he was granted the JPL Minority Fellowship to further his education at the University of New Mexico, where he received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1996. Tunstel has continued to work with the JPL following the completion of his Ph.D. program, and he has served in various roles. One of his larger projects was to serve as a Flight Systems Engineer for autonomous surface navigation of the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers. He has also served as the mobility and robotic arm lead on the Spacecraft/Rover Engineering Team for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers’ surface operations on Mars. Since 1997, he worked as the Space Robotics and Autonomous Control Lead at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he continued to solve robotics problems for NASA. His research interests include: autonomous control systems, cooperative robotics, and mobile robot navigation.

Throughout his career, Tunstel has written a number of articles on the subject of robotics and intelligent control. He has also edited and contributed to several books related to robotics and engineering. Tunstel is a member of several professional organizations, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has also been honored for his contributions to the science of robotics and space exploration. Tunstel is married to Jan Harwell Tunstel.

Accession Number

A2012.145

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/15/2012

Last Name

Tunstel

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W

Occupation
Schools

University of New Mexico

Howard University

Springfield Gardens High School

St. Mark the Evangelist School

St Catherine Of Sienna School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

TUN03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Monterey, California

Favorite Quote

Keep It Moving, Fair Enough.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

11/29/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cookies

Short Description

Electrical engineer Edward Tunstel (1963 - ) was a skilled engineer who worked with the Jet Propulsion League of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on such projects as the Mars Exploration Rovers.

Employment

John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory

United States Department of the Navy

Howard University

Engineering Information, Inc.

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:6662,171:9190,225:11797,275:17130,306:17446,315:20132,369:25504,451:35348,534:35640,539:39362,566:39896,574:42655,625:43189,633:49510,707:49960,718:50410,724:53599,753:55445,799:58853,888:59492,898:59918,905:62616,961:62900,966:66790,972:74279,1068:78500,1176:81613,1203:82614,1223:84154,1267:92864,1401:93192,1406:94920,1411:98834,1493:107286,1578:114465,1680:115145,1691:115825,1704:118545,1751:119650,1767:120160,1774:121265,1791:121690,1797:122200,1804:129480,1889:130360,1903:130760,1909:131080,1914:131400,1919:131720,1924:145144,2074:145480,2079:146152,2088:149092,2137:150940,2177:153460,2223:158753,2264:165706,2364:172760,2391:173850,2436:183190,2562:190624,2631:194003,2684:198960,2730:199656,2741:201222,2761:201657,2767:221947,3000:223063,3018:228222,3026:230666,3063:231606,3075:232170,3083:233768,3107:234802,3127:235460,3139:236024,3146:240673,3182:247765,3333:248713,3346:249266,3355:250056,3367:251794,3413:262012,3495:262317,3501:262744,3528:276880,3684:277195,3690:283960,3763$0,0:2328,17:2910,24:3783,34:22040,214:22975,232:29160,276:29844,287:33112,352:33720,361:37132,389:41465,439:42889,466:43779,477:45292,499:46449,517:50622,552:51342,569:51990,579:53070,601:53574,610:62544,728:63136,737:66096,803:66762,813:67058,818:67354,823:68242,838:76544,925:77380,938:79052,973:79432,979:91090,1129:93106,1161:95542,1200:95878,1205:108324,1336:110781,1381:111418,1390:113147,1413:116490,1423:118450,1432:119755,1449:120190,1455:122143,1465:124273,1505:125267,1526:127919,1540:128381,1547:129459,1569:140668,1726:142054,1744:143638,1765:147070,1790:149039,1801:152562,1852:157445,1919:159020,1953:163295,2031:165545,2067:174494,2192:175142,2203:176870,2234:184508,2322:185152,2330:186072,2348:186440,2353:187452,2363:187912,2369:201040,2442:203560,2466:204085,2472:206642,2487:207370,2495:208202,2508:210074,2532:217058,2653:217798,2662:218538,2673:219204,2698:222071,2718:222386,2724:222827,2747:223331,2757:225432,2777:234512,2897:235458,2914:239495,2945:242915,2980:243390,2986:244890,2991:245214,2996:245619,3002:252758,3080:253499,3098:253955,3108:254354,3119:256094,3137:256502,3144:257046,3154:266590,3277:270546,3344:270914,3349:271374,3450:275514,3482:286249,3574:297836,3762:298420,3771:299661,3795:299953,3800:306435,3876:306760,3882:316164,4035:317340,4054:317928,4061:327384,4149:328154,4160:336547,4331:343260,4432
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward Tunstel's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward Tunstel lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward Tunstel describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward Tunstel talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward Tunstel describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward Tunstel talks about his father's career in the supermarket business

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward Tunstel recalls how his parents met and describes their personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward Tunstel talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edward Tunstel describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edward Tunstel describes his early neighborhood in Harlem

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward Tunstel describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Harlem

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward Tunstel talks about his interest in art and how it influenced his aspirations in engineering

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward Tunstel describes his interest in science fiction and comic books

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward Tunstel talks about his early perceptions of African American scientists

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward Tunstel talks about his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward Tunstel recalls his favorite subjects and field trips during school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward Tunstel talks about moving to Jamaica, Queens in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edward Tunstel describes his interest in basketball and the game's influence on his social skills

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward Tunstel talks about his experience at St. Catherine of Siena School in Queens, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward Tunstel describes his childhood aspirations of becoming a scientist

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward Tunstel talks about his parents' encouragement and his reading interests

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward Tunstel recalls being inspired by science and technology during his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward Tunstel talks about his favorite teacher at St. Catherine of Siena School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward Tunstel recalls entering Springfield Gardens High School in Queens, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Edward Tunstel talks about his early religious experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Edward Tunstel describes his science instruction at Springfield Gardens High School

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Edward Tunstel talks about the racial demographics of Springfield Gardens High School

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Edward Tunstel recalls the New York Academy of Sciences' influence on his career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Edward Tunstel describes his personality and academic performance in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Edward Tunstel recalls his decision to apply to Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward Tunstel talks about the historic African American administrators at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward Tunstel describes his experience at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward Tunstel recalls the protests at Howard University in the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward Tunstel remembers his professors and role models at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward Tunstel talks about how he improved his study habits at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edward Tunstel describes his decision to pursue mechanical engineering at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edward Tunstel talks about his experience of studying robotics at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Edward Tunstel recalls pursuing his master's degree in robotics at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edward Tunstel recalls the social challenges in Washington D.C. in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Edward Tunstel talks about the relationship between the students at Howard University and the neighboring community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Edward Tunstel describes his master's thesis at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Edward Tunstel talks about being recruited by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Edward Tunstel describes his early experiences at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Edward Tunstel talks about the work environment at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Edward Tunstel describes his work with NASA's Robby and Rocky rovers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Edward Tunstel talks about NASA's robotic spacecraft

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Edward Tunstel describes his work with the Mars Pathfinder Rover

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Edward Tunstel talks about his JPL Minority Fellowship

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Edward Tunstel describes the concept of fuzzy logic based navigation of mobile robots

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Edward Tunstel describes the development of the LOBOT mobile robot

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Edward Tunstel describes his work with robotic rovers

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Edward Tunstel talks about his role as the lead system engineer for the Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Edward Tunstel recalls acting as the flight systems engineer for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Surface Mission Phase team

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Edward Tunstel talks about the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) surface mission of 2003

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Edward Tunstel describes the Mars Exploration Rovers

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Edward Tunstel talks about the Mars Exploration Rover Curiosity and its mission in 2012

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Edward Tunstel talks about the range finding capacity of robotic rovers

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Edward Tunstel describes the technological advances at NASA

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Edward Tunstel recalls working on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) program

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Edward Tunstel talks about leaving the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Edward Tunstel describes his experience at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Edward Tunstel talks about his membership at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Edward Tunstel describes the advancements in cybernetics and robotics

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Edward Tunstel describes his robotics hobby

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Edward Tunstel shares his predictions on the future of robotics

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Edward Tunstel talks about his predictions for artificial intelligence

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Edward Tunstel reflects upon his life

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

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Edward Tunstel talks about the socio-economic impact of having a society serviced by robots

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Edward Tunstel reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Edward Tunstel talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Edward Tunstel describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Edward Tunstel narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$8

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Edward Tunstel talks about his professors and role models at Howard University
Edward Tunstel talks about his forecast on the future of robotics
Transcript
Now, were they still doing African Liberation Day when you were there [Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia]?$$Yes, yes. You know, and so, yeah, and so the campus was a venue for a lot of interesting things as well. So they, in so many different ways, I could talk for a long time about how good the experience was at Howard, you know, aside, ever aside from the academic aspects. But along the line of the academic aspects, one of the things that I put high on my list though really is the, you know, seeing folks who look like you as professors and many of them, quite accomplished professors, you know. And this is even, not just in engineering. It's across all the schools, you know. And that had a major impact, you know. Again, the baseline thing is that it gives you a feeling that what you're trying to do, you know, in terms of getting this degree and maybe doing something useful with it afterwards, is in reach, whereas, if you didn't have these physical examples in front of you, which I hadn't had prior to coming to Howard, it's more of a question, you know. Maybe you're still confident that you can do various things, but I think it's more of a question. And I think that question is totally dispelled in that environment.$$Okay.$$It's more, it's like, you know, and if you can't succeed at what you're trying to do, it's really probably yourself and not, you know, the fact that you're not, somehow not capable, you know, 'cause you got too many examples, good examples around you.$$Okay, so, now, who were some of the professors that were there that you're reminded (unclear)--$$Well, Lucius Walker [also a HistoryMaker] was one of 'em. At a time when I was there, I had worked, I was doing work-study, and I had, was working for the dean's office, in fact, doing things like the, the school of engineering mail and stuff like that. But what it did is, it allowed me to spend more time than otherwise in and out of--in and around the dean's office. So I got a chance to, in some sense, you know, watch him work or watch him interact. He was also teaching courses at the time, so I got a view of him as a professor, and I got a view of him as a dean, and I had a view of him in interactions with the administration in his office, a more, sort of interpersonal view. He was always very impressive to me. He was sort of an example of someone, I guess my iconic example of a scholar, right, an accomplished scholar. And I thought, I hadn't had particular aspirations at that time necessarily of becoming a professor or anything like that. But he was my example of it, you know. That's what it is. It's that guy, and so he was, he had a certain type--that sort of influence on me, that sort of impact. There were other professors as well. Professor Emmanuel Glapke. His name is spelled G-L-A-P-K-E. And he was a, he taught in the mechanical engineering department. His main area was an area called heat transfer. Now, he mostly stood out to me, I think, because he was an example to me of, sort of engineering excellence, if you will, someone who really, really, really knew his field, but not only that, could really communicate it well, whether he was teaching it or whether he was just talking about it to the laymen. And I always thought that was a pretty impressive--now, he always had a pretty good relationship with the students as well, on the personal level--$$Oh, I'm sorry. What was his ethnicity?$$He was, I believe he was--I don't know. I don't remember which country from directly, but from Africa.$$Okay.$$But he had been in America for quite some time by the time I had encountered him. So I don't know if he was, you know, he was probably first generation, but probably came to America when he was much younger.$$Okay.$What's the, what future practical uses do you see for robots that we're envisioning today?$$Well, let's see, that we're not envisioning.$$Or we don't have today?$$Right, okay, okay. Well, there're certain services that we currently have, and, you know, people envision robots capable of taking over some of these services, although this may not be the greatest idea. One of them is things like bartending, right? Now, there's already been recently, I think out of a university project, with college students, they've created a robot bartender, not the body of one, but something that can mechanically take the right mixtures of different types of alcohol and mix drinks. So you can imagine going from that to something that can actually deliver that to a human who asks for it. Some people may not want something like that because of the personal and interpersonal interaction with the bartender that many of us enjoy. But I foresee many areas and services, in particular, where robots would eventually contribute. I hesitate to use the words "take over" because almost behind every robot you ever see, there's typically a human nearby, and often that human is necessary for the robot to continue to work properly or even to know what it should do. The robots on Mars, for example, can do nothing unless we tell them to everyday and so forth. But other areas, we're already seeing this now actually, robots to do precision surgery, surgeries in the cases where the oscillation or vibration of a surgeon's hand can be somewhat critical. The steady hand and the accurate hand of the robot mechanism is sometimes looked at as an advantage in those cases. But not solely--that's already happening, robotic surgery. But robots can also be used over distance so that the capabilities of a master surgeon in some country for example can be used to outdo some master operation on someone in a very remote part of the planet by actually having this--taking that system there, the surgeon doesn't have to go, but through that tele-operation mechanism, they can actually do the surgery remotely using a robot on the other end. And some of that's already started as well. What I see in the future is the ability to increase the distances between which that can actually occur. And that's, I think, is very promising, particularly for regions where, that don't have access to major medical care like that. So that's another area. Another aspect is, we're already becoming pretty fully networked as a society with our own computers, our cellular devices, the Internet and so on. We have different applications like Facebook [social networking site] and what have you that are connecting people more and more and more. I think where we're going and what's gonna happen in addition to that is that robots are gonna become part of this network took. It's an interesting thing that one company has done--a robotics company, they've figure out a way to automate a warehouse that delivers goods to a front desk that fills orders. This company has recently been bought by Amazon, for example, so that they can use that system to fill their orders. This is a system where the network, the robots are networked, effectively. And an order comes in and needs to be fulfilled, it's somehow input to the system, and behind this curtain, if you will, is an army of robots that carry the products on them in bins. And they move around the warehouse to the point where the robots that have the products that are ordered come near the front, open up the curtain, human picks up the object, puts it in the package, and it's off to the shipment. So the ability to network robots, I think we're gonna find other ways to use that capability whether it's a robot in your home that supplements your security system by being able to walk around, and when there's something that occurs that's not savory or maybe a water leak or something like that, something you need to be alerted to, it's instantly networked to you somewhere. You could be in France. And so I see robots becoming part of a larger network that we're already cultivating. You might imagine that there's some undesirable associated with fully networking everything. You start to get into the science fiction of the robot takeover sorts of (laughter) concepts in movies and such. So there's something to watch out for, at least, but I think we're headed, at least more in that direction than we are today.

Percy Pierre

Electrical engineer Percy A. Pierre was born on January 1, 1939 in Welcome, Louisiana to Rosa Villavaso and Percy John Pierre. Pierre graduated from St. Augustine High School in New Orleans in 1957. Reverend Matthew O’Rourke, the school’s founding principal and president, served as one of Pierre’s mentors. It was in his senior year of high school that Pierre first decided to enter the field of engineering. Pierre received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1961. He stayed at the University and received his M.S. degree in 1963. Pierre went on to receive his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from John Hopkins University in 1967. He is the first African American in the country to earn a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering.

After graduation, Pierre began a series of successful posts in government and higher education. In 1969, Pierre was selected to serve as a White House Fellow and Deputy to the Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs. In 1971, he joined the faculty of Howard University as Dean of the School of Engineering. As dean, Pierre was instrumental in the founding of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). In 1977, he left Howard University to serve as Assistant Secretary to the United States Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition, where he managed a $12 billion budget. Pierre started his own consulting business, Percy A. and Associates in 1981. He returned to academia in 1983, serving as President of Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) University, and later as Honeywell Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Pierre came to Michigan State University in 1990 as Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. In 1995, he became a professor of electrical and computer engineering. Pierre has taught courses and participated in research in the areas of signals and systems, random processes, and signal detection and estimation. He believes his greatest achievement in his field to be the exploration of linear functions and their properties. In addition to his research, Pierre has also created numerous programs to increase the financial support and mentoring opportunities available for minority graduate engineering students; most notably creating the Sloan Engineering Program in 1998. Pierre has served on many boards, including the National Security Advisory Board and the Defense Science Board. He was honored with the Founders Award from NACME in 2004 in celebration of the organization’s thirtieth anniversary. He also received the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008. Pierre is married to Olga A. Markham and they have two grown daughters, Kristin Clare and Allison Celeste.

Percy A. Pierre was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 13, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.224

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/13/2012

Last Name

Pierre

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

St. Joan Of Arc Elem School

St. Augustine High School

University of Notre Dame

Johns Hopkins University

University of Michigan

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Percy

Birth City, State, Country

Welcome

HM ID

PIE02

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring, Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

1/3/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

East Lansing

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Electrical engineer Percy Pierre (1939 - ) was known for his work in signal processing, as well as for creating programs to increase opportunities for minority graduate engineering students.

Employment

Michigan State University

Prairie View A&M University

Department of the Army for Research, Development and Acquisition

Howard University

Percy A. Pierre & Associates

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

White House

RAND Corporation

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Percy Pierre's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre talks about his mother and his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Percy Pierre talks about the benevolent societies established by freed slaves in Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre talks about the Reconstruction Era in Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre talks about his father's family in Freetown, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre talks about his father's education and carpentry skills

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre describes his family's life in Gulfport, Mississippi

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

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Percy Pierre talks about his family

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Percy Pierre describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Percy Pierre describes his childhood neighborhood and house in New Orleans

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Percy Pierre describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Percy Pierre describes his experience in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre describes his interests in science, math and basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre tells the story of Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre talks about learning problem-solving skills

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre talks about watching television as a teenager in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre talks about his mother teaching him to read

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Percy Pierre describes his experience and mentors in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Percy Pierre talks about his interest in basketball and music in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Percy Pierre talks about preparing to enroll in college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre describes his decision to attend the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre describes his experience at the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre describes his studies and his mentors at the University of Notre Dame

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre talks about religion and science

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre describes his interest in signal processing as a master's student

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Percy Pierre describes his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree at Johns Hopkins University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Percy Pierre talks about the events in the Civil Rights Movement and politics in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Percy Pierre talks about his Ph.D. advisors and dissertation research at Johns Hopkins University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre talks about being the only African American in his graduate program

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre talks about becoming the first engineering postdoctoral trainee at the University of Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre describes his decision to join the Rand Corporation in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre describes his experience at Rand Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre describes his experience as a White House fellow in 1969

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Percy Pierre describes how he became the dean of engineering at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Percy Pierre describes his contributions as the dean of engineering at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Percy Pierre talks about affirmative action and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre describes his impact on minority engineering education

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre describes his experience at the Pentagon as the assistant secretary for research and development

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre describes his experience in consulting and as president of Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre describes his experience at Michigan State University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Percy Pierre reflects upon his career

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Percy Pierre describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Percy Pierre talks about his wife and daughters

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Percy Pierre talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Percy Pierre describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Percy Pierre talks about becoming the first engineering postdoctoral trainee at the University of Michigan
Percy Pierre describes his impact on minority engineering education
Transcript
All right, so now, you did post doctoral studies at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan], right?$$Yes.$$1967 to '68 [1968]. How did you manage to choose the University of Michigan?$$Well, that's an interesting story. It turns out I'm told I'm the first postdoc student ever at the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Here's how that happened. I was doing my research, loving it, loving it, loving it. My advisor said, "It's time for you to go, write it up and leave." I said, "I want to keep doing my research." And the thought of getting a job and not doing research full time was not what I wanted to do. So I decided well maybe if I get a postdoc, I could keep doing my research. I don't want to be a professor, because then I'd have to teach, I just want to do my research. So my advisor says well, "Let's go to this conference and talk to people and see if we can find--if any university is looking for postdoc, so we went to the Princeton [University, Princeton, New Jersey] conference and talked to people from [University of California,] Berkeley, from MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts], from [University of] Michigan, etcetera. There was man at the University of Michigan, his name is Bill Root, who is really the godfather of my field. So we approached him and said, you know--. My advisor approached him and said, "Percy Pierre would love to do a postdoc; do you have a postdoc?" He said, "No, I don't have one, and we don't have postdocs in engineering, but I think we should, and maybe you could be the first one." So he created a postdoc position. He went back to the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan and talked to the dean; the dean created a position for me, and I went to Michigan as a postdoc. I was the only postdoc in the college.$$So you were the first and only postdoc in the college?$$Yeah.$$And the first African American postdoc--$$Yeah.$$--To be sure.$$But I loved it, because I spent all day doing my research. There were a couple assistant professors who were hired at the same time, and they had to teach. Now, eventually, I did teach. I taught the second semester. They asked me to teach a course, I thought one course. But my postdoc year was one of the most satisfying years of my life, because I was very productive; I published five papers in that year.$$Okay, and what are the journals that you published in as an electrical engineer?$$Half of them were math journals, probability theory journals, and the other half were engineering, 'Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineering' [IEEE].$$You were there until 1968-$Okay, around 1977--$$Can I go back to the--$$Oh, sure.$$--the NACME [National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering; Pierre was instrumental in establishing NACME in 1973] thing, because this is very important to me. I told you that through the academy, we put together a committee of CEOs [Chief Executive Officers] who were going to do something about minorities in engineering and then the [Alfred P.] Sloan Foundation decided to invest in programs. They asked me to run the program, but I said I didn't want to quit my job at Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia]; I was only dean for two years. I agreed to do it half time. So for two years, I commuted between D.C. [District of Columbia] and New York to the Rockefeller Center to run the program. And one day early in my tenure at the Sloan Foundation, I was walking up Fifth Avenue and thinking that this is a fabulous opportunity to make a difference. I had reached the point where I thought I was putting myself in a position to make a big difference, because all the elements were in place to create organizations that would change minority engineering for the next thirty years. And I realized that that was that opportunity. And what I'm saying is I knew this was it. And it took a lot of work; we had to create organizations, we had to guess what to do, but the results have been fabulous; the increase in minority engineering graduates has been spectacular over the next thirty years, and both at the bachelor's and master's level, so, if I looked at one of the biggest impacts of my life, it's that. That's the fulfillment of my promise to Father Grant when I was a freshman in high school [St. Augustine's High School, New Orleans, Louisiana].$$Okay.$$It's a big part of it.$$And, of course, NACME is still in operation, still doing good work?$$Right.$$Okay.

Michael Spencer

Electrical Engineer, Computer Scientist and Engineering Professor Michael G. Spencer was born on March 9, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan. Spencer’s passion for teaching is part of a family tradition, his mother and grandparents were teachers. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and travelled to Ithaca, New York to study at Cornell University. He earned his B.S. degree in 1974 and his M.S. degree in 1975. Spencer worked at Bell Laboratories from 1974 to 1977 before returning to Cornell to receive his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1981.
He joined the faculty of Howard University as an assistant professor in 1984. Spencer also founded the Materials Science Center for Excellence in 1984 and served as its director for the entirety of his career at Howard. He spent the next eighteen years working and researching at Howard, becoming a full professor in 1990 and the David and Lucile Packard Chaired Professor of Materials Science in 1999. During this time, Spencer also worked as a visiting scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s JET Propulsion Laboratory. In 1999, he returned to his alma mater, Cornell University as professor of electrical engineering. He served as associate dean of research and graduate studies for the College of Engineering from 2002 to 2008. Spencer directed the Wide Bandgap Laboratory where he researched semiconductor materials like Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN), as well as two dimensional semiconductors like graphene. He co-founded Widetronix, a company that builds low power long life betavoltaic batteries. Spencer has written over 130 publications concerning semiconductors and has also co-authored eleven United States patents.

Spencer has received much recognition for his research and teaching. In 1985, he received the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. Spencer also received the QEM (Quality Education for Minorities) Giants of Science Award and the Allen Berman Research Publication Award from the Naval Research Laboratory. He served as one of the directors for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Nano-Fabrication Network. Spencer was a member of the program committee of the American Vacuum Society and the International Conference on Silicon Carbide and Related Materials. He also held memberships in the Electronic Materials Conference Organizing Committee and the Compound Semiconductor Symposium Organizing Committee. Spencer lives in Ithaca, New York.
Michael G. Spencer was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 5, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.158

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/5/2012

Last Name

Spencer

Middle Name

Gregg

Schools

Cornell University

New Hampton School

Jefferson Middle School Academy

La Salle Elementary School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

SPE63

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Adults

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $200-$300

Favorite Season

None

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium $200-$300 (may be waived or negotiated depending on circumstance)

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/9/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Ithaca

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Electrical engineer, computer scientist, and engineering professor Michael Spencer (1952 - ) is a leader in materials science and holds eleven United States patents.

Employment

Bell Laboratories

Howard University

Cornell University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4811,56:5903,67:11727,228:19860,308:20820,322:24740,367:26580,402:28180,439:28500,444:44122,628:44892,640:45277,646:47818,701:48126,706:48434,711:52815,730:57745,805:63790,851:64255,857:70132,889:74560,928:75510,936:76080,942:76935,952:79025,974:81020,993:82065,1005:82540,1011:88554,1048:89490,1062:94014,1126:94404,1132:96354,1165:96666,1170:97914,1196:98226,1201:98616,1207:104794,1250:109170,1294:109995,1307:116260,1362:121096,1425:127468,1488:127998,1494:131708,1531:136394,1557:136718,1562:138986,1598:139958,1616:141011,1634:144575,1682:145061,1689:145790,1694:147005,1711:147410,1717:152346,1740:152634,1746:152994,1752:155874,1804:156954,1819:158610,1854:159258,1866:162184,1878:164692,1921:165220,1931:165814,1943:168904,1961:169996,1975:170836,1989:172432,2012:176082,2022:178904,2063:179485,2072:183742,2099:184374,2108:185085,2118:191484,2194:195934,2220:197628,2245:197936,2253:198783,2266:204756,2329:205274,2338:206088,2351:207272,2374:208160,2387:208530,2393:209196,2404:210084,2423:213682,2445:214048,2452:214353,2458:214780,2466:215390,2479:221850,2546:224034,2577:224762,2586:227800,2613:232222,2704:232486,2709:233542,2727:234400,2742:235324,2756:244960,2834:245800,2848:247312,2869:253200,2910:264987,3077:266261,3094:270078,3109:270654,3118:271806,3137:272454,3146:272742,3151:279552,3237:281961,3291:284808,3353:285684,3363:287436,3406:309241,3572:309873,3585:313707,3617:314358,3629:314916,3636:319450,3683:320099,3698:320335,3703:322460,3737$0,0:448,4:6376,151:13132,198:15750,223:20320,228:21508,241:30039,300:30854,306:48989,475:49624,481:52326,502:52598,507:52938,513:65438,584:68062,624:69690,640:70086,647:72955,692:75160,721:79180,759:80236,771:80908,782:84070,797:85137,809:85719,816:89874,880:90294,886:104544,970:110092,1105:111384,1190:115370,1281:123794,1438:139372,1521:151180,1683:151810,1717:173604,1962:190156,2101:192328,2290:212058,2472:212553,2478:216810,2551:217404,2565:218295,2575:219978,2602:224060,2627:225076,2636:229400,2692:230600,2710:231400,2725:233000,2739:233400,2744:240936,2840:243246,2882:244434,2912:244698,2917:245622,2936:245886,2941:246414,2951:250230,2993:254590,3046:255990,3082:263420,3129:265320,3158:267920,3201:268820,3211:271955,3225:272391,3230:272936,3236:280010,3312
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michael Spencer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about the Denmark Vesey Revolt

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer talks about the history of Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about his ancestors in the Marines during the Revolutionary War

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Michael Spencer describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer describes his paternal great-grandfather acquiring freedom and becoming a teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer describes how his paternal great-grandfather became a shoemaker

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer talks about his paternal great-grandfather losing his stocks in the Stock Market Crash of 1929

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about his great-grandmother Sue Spencer's family pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer talks about his great-grandmother Sue Spencer's family pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about his father growing up in Frankfort, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about his father's career as a beer salesman

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer describes how his parent's met

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer talks about his parents' marriage

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

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer talks about his household as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer describes the neighborhoods he grew up in

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer talks about elementary school and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about the death of his father

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about his mother's careers

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer talks about government officials his mother worked with

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michael Spencer talks about his mother being part of African American society in Washington D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer talks about his junior high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer talks working with a graduate student on his science fair project

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer talks about Dr. Herman Branson's involvement in the discovery of the structure of DNA

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about Dr. Herman Branson

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer describes how he decided to go to a prep school in New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about his experience at his prep school, New Hampton School, in New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer describes his science classes and extracurricular activities at his prep school, New Hampton School

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer talks about his interviews for admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer describes the racial tensions on Cornell University's campus when he attended

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer talks about the Africana Studies Department at Cornell University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer describes the engineering department at Cornell University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about the Black Electrical Engineers and alumni of Cornell University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer talks about his time as a member of the Nation of Islam

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about Minister Farrakhan and Malcolm X

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about religion

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer talks about his education at Cornell University

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Michael Spencer describes the work environment at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Michael Spencer describes his work at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer talks about his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer talks about his time as a professor at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer talks about doing research at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about his former students at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Michael Spencer describes his decision to leave Howard University to become a professor at Cornell University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about his research at Cornell University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about Widetronix, the company he cofounded

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Michael Spencer talks about the prospects of Widetronix

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Michael Spencer describes his publications and patents

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Michael Spencer reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Michael Spencer talks about STEM education in the United States

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

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Michael Spencer talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Michael Spencer talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Michael Spencer describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

7$5

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Michael Spencer describes his publications and patents
Michael Spencer describes the work environment at Bell Laboratories
Transcript
Tell us about some of your publications and would it be correct to generalize that you are publishing more at Cornell [University, Ithaca, New York] than you did at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.]?$$Yeah, I would say so. Certainly more in terms of numbers and also citations are higher, the number of citations are higher.$$Okay, that's when someone else uses your research?$$Yeah, when someone else--$$Cites what you're--$$--cites your work in their publication.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$All right. What are some of your papers and I want you to talk about some of your patents too.$$Well, we have on the patent side, we have of course in a small company you always--patents are more important. So we have some patents on ways of getting more power out of beta voltaic batteries or nuclear batteries. So power meaning power density and so that's one major area of patenting. In terms of publications, we have, we did a lot of work on using something called scanning probe microscopes to get information about semiconductors. So a scanning probe microscope is based on the material that is piezoelectric. Now piezoelectric means that if you apply electricity to this material it moves a very, very small distance. So in a scanning probe unit you have a little tip which is moved very small distances by these piezoelectric manipulators and as that tip comes close to the surface of the semiconductor it will experience a force and that force that it experiences can be measured. Now using that force and a lot of other things related to it we can make very nice measurements about some of the properties of the material. We can determine what are the electric fields that are coming from dislocations and other problems and so we use that, those techniques. It's called Kelvin probe microscopy to characterize a material. And we were some of the first to do that and so that publication has received a lot--those series of papers have received a lot of citations and that work was started when I came to Cornell. Some of the more recent graphene work in which we have demonstrated a way of actually producing suspended membranes of Graphene. So I told you that graphene is one atomic layer thick. Well we can actually make a membrane that is suspended in space bound on either side, it's suspended and this one atomic layer is literally in space. And so you can actually see right through it with an electronic microscope. And it's really quite amazing that you can actually, that one atomic layer of atoms will self-support but the other amazing thing is you can actually make useful devices out of this one atomic layer. You can put it into vibration and you can make lots of things. So this particular way of suspending the membranes has also you know been given a lot of attention. We're completing a paper now in which we have demonstrated for the first time producing graphene on another material called sapphire and we have studied and we plan on submitting this to the journal 'Nature.' I'm very excited about it. We have studied the way in which the potential of the substrate will actually align the graphene films so that paper has yet to be submitted but it will be soon. And I don't remember what all the things that I put down, one of the other papers I put down on there. I think I probably put down something about a measuring properties of aluminum nitride which we've talked about and we also--and then there was the initial work on grain boundaries which we're very proud of. And you know there, I think there are a number of other things but I think, you know I have over one hundred and twenty publications so I think that's a good--I think right now is a good place to stop. (Laughter).$$Okay.$Now what kind of projects were you working on at Bell Labs and well tell me something about the environment of Bell Labs and as a work environment and what projects were you working on?$$So at Bell Laboratories was divided into divisions or areas, Area 10, Area 20, Area 30, Area 40, Area 50--10 was basic science, 20 was applied engineering, that was my area, 40 I believe was transmission I think or switching. I can't recall all of them. But I was in Area 20 and we did power supplies. I was the only black engineer at Area 20 and my first--and Area 20 had several, a couple of laboratories. A laboratory is a fairly large group of, fairly large group and then departments, laboratory department then groups. So, first departmental meeting one of the technicians raises the question about affirmative action hires. I'm the only black face in the room. It must have been fifty people and were they qualified, something to that affect. Oh god, anyway you asked about--$$Well how was that handled? We can't just skip over that. Now what--?$$How was that handled?$$Yeah.$$It wasn't handled. The question just laid there as the department head sort of moved on and didn't answer.$$There were no affirmative action hires in your department right?$$Well the implication was that I was the affirmative action hire.$$Right, right, right, yeah.$$Being the only black in the room. And it wasn't handled.$$So, well go on. So what was that typical of the atmosphere there or was it--did it get better?$$Well it wasn't typical but it wasn't atypical either. I think you were--I think the way you have to view Bell Labs is it had managers who were both, who were angels, some were angels and others were devils and others were ambivalent.$$Hmm, okay just like in the rest of life I guess?$$Hmm?$$Just like everything else in life?$$Pretty much.$$Every other area.$$Yeah.$$Okay, all right. So I've heard people--now I'll put it like--I've heard people say the people we've interviewed within this month have talked about how Bell Labs had such a wonderful you know, what a wonderful place it was to work because of the way all the you know research scientists were treated and engineers for the most part, freedom to you know explore things and they had well, they were well equipped and they had you know there was a lot of freedom at Bell Labs to explore things and that sort--that's what we were told.$$Well yeah that's absolutely right. That's probably, there were three places in the country to work and Bell Labs was one of them. As an MTS, member of the technical staff, I, you know I had a signature authority of a thousand dollars on my own as I recall. We were more in applied division. In the research area, Area 10, even more flexibility on what to work with. Bell Labs was a monopoly that wasn't very well controlled at that time and so the labs were run on one percent of the profits of the Bell system which was a huge amount of money and they didn't have to worry about getting money so that was always there. So it was a tremendous place to work, wonderful work was done. It has never been duplicated. Again, I'm very proud of the fact that I'm an alumnus of Bell Labs in a technical sense and you meet other people who are alumni of Bell Labs and as I said it has, was not duplicated.

Jesse Russell, Sr.

Inventor, electrical engineer, and business executive Jesse E. Russell, Sr. was born on April 26, 1948 in Nolensville, Tennessee to Mary Louise Russell and Charles Albert Russell. He was raised in inner-city Nashville along with his ten siblings. In 1972, Russell received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Tennessee State University. As a top honor student, Russell became the first African American to be hired directly from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) by AT&T Bell Laboratories. The following year, he earned his M. S. degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

After the completion of his education, Russell continued to work at Bell Laboratories as a pioneer in the field of cellular and wireless communications. In 1988, Russell led the first team from Bell Laboratories to introduce digital cellular technology in the United States. He was a leader in communication technology in cellular devices and some of his patents include the “Base Station for Mobile Radio Telecommunications Systems,” (1992), the “Mobile Data Telephone,” (1993), and the “Wireless Communication Base Station” (1998). Russell held numerous posts while employed at AT&T, including director of the AT&T Cellular Telecommunication Laboratory and chief technical officer for the Network Wireless Systems Business Unit. From 1996 to 2000, Russell served as vice president of Advanced Communications Technologies for AT&T and Chief Wireless Architect for the AT&T Company. In 2000, Russell became the president and CEO of incNETWORKS®, Inc., a company devoted to developing fourth-generation broadband wireless communications devices and wireless voice, video and data communications equipment.

For his innovation and leadership, Russell has won a number of prestigious awards and he was invited to participate in numerous professional conferences and organizations. In 1980, he received the Outstanding Young Electrical and Computer Engineer Award from Eta Kappa Nuand. In 1992 he was named the U.S. Black Engineer of the Year for the best technical contributions in digital cellular and microcellular technology. Amongst other memberships, he is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. and a member of Eta Kappa Nu. In 1995, Russell was inducted in to the National Academy of Engineering. Russell is married to Amanda O. Russell, and they have raised four children: Tina, Jesse, Jr., William, and Catalina.

Jesse E. Russell, Sr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 16, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.111

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/16/2012

Last Name

Russell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E

Occupation
Schools

Tennessee State University

Stanford University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jesse

Birth City, State, Country

Nashville

HM ID

RUS09

Favorite Season

May

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Columbia

Favorite Quote

Never let anyone else define success for you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/26/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Turnip)

Short Description

Inventor and electrical engineer Jesse Russell, Sr. (1948 - ) is a pioneer in the field of cellular and wireless communications, holding over 100 patents.

Employment

Bell Laboratories

AT&T

incNETWORKS,Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:7068,158:13054,246:13382,251:15760,287:16744,301:19942,348:20762,359:31121,421:32513,441:34079,470:34601,477:36167,497:37124,506:40710,516:41470,526:43370,551:52214,635:56127,703:56673,710:57037,715:58402,732:60313,758:66387,797:66801,804:67284,812:67974,827:71122,855:71702,869:74136,896:74432,901:77762,962:79316,989:80574,1027:81536,1047:89576,1087:90196,1102:91710,1109:96530,1119:99654,1228:100648,1246:101145,1255:103914,1297:105476,1321:111542,1378:114740,1436:117200,1473:123924,1570:128182,1581:130074,1613:130418,1618:131278,1630:131622,1635:132396,1645:132740,1650:133428,1660:134030,1668:136868,1710:137384,1717:140136,1752:150540,1797$0,0:950,4:16753,258:17818,281:18102,286:22078,385:22362,404:27119,511:30820,517:31044,522:40824,606:41445,616:41859,623:52106,779:53114,797:55346,838:55634,843:71930,1066:72320,1073:72710,1080:73035,1086:73425,1093:74075,1105:75635,1132:75895,1137:80965,1259:81225,1264:84150,1336:84410,1341:84735,1347:85775,1371:86750,1392:92874,1416:93240,1423:93545,1429:103664,1569:104140,1578:106656,1633:110692,1744:126796,2008:135888,2081:136316,2108:140302,2146:142002,2217:159100,2487:167749,2553:172350,2585:172630,2590:173400,2603:174310,2621:174870,2631:175220,2641:175850,2652:177390,2679:178300,2700:178580,2705:179000,2712:179490,2727:182640,2808:188470,2853:193602,2948:194214,2959:194826,2970:195098,2975:195846,2989:196390,2999:196934,3009:197410,3017:197818,3024:199246,3053:199518,3058:199858,3064:200334,3072:213226,3260:213916,3271:214813,3289:216469,3335:216952,3344:217366,3351:218953,3376:222196,3471:223990,3519:224542,3528:226612,3588:227095,3597:227440,3603:227716,3608:234538,3647:235462,3667:235924,3675:237244,3711:237838,3724:239488,3759:249703,3885:250652,3903:251601,3919:252258,3944:258695,4011:261374,4036:272060,4156:272960,4170:273710,4182:277230,4216:277575,4223:277851,4228:278541,4244:279162,4255:280473,4286:281646,4300:281922,4313:282612,4329:283302,4344:283785,4353:291970,4478:299638,4596:299993,4602:300561,4611:300845,4616:301342,4624:301910,4633:306441,4671:307031,4683:308329,4727:308919,4740:309332,4749:309627,4755:310512,4784:311102,4797:311987,4826:312636,4840:312931,4846:313226,4852:313639,4861:314701,4874:316943,4928:317533,4943:318123,4956:318536,4965:318890,4972:319185,4978:319598,4987:320011,4995:320483,5004:325333,5020:325837,5033:326404,5044:326656,5049:331330,5086
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jesse Russell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jesse Russell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jesse Russell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jesse Russell talks about his mother's childhood in Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jesse Russell describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jesse Russell talks about being raised by his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jesse Russell talks about his mother's involvement with the Primitive Baptist Church

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jesse Russell talks about his parents and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jesse Russell talks about his childhood household and his mother's employment

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jesse Russell talks about being raised with a close connection to the church

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jesse Russell describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jesse Russell talks about his family's dire financial situation following his mother's accident

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jesse Russell talks about the influence of his chemistry teacher in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jesse Russell talks about his close relationship with his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jesse Russell talks about his mother's accident at work, and the sacrifices made by his siblings to support the family

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jesse Russell talks about the schools that he attended in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jesse Russell describes his experience in high school in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jesse Russell describes his childhood interest in math and electronics

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jesse Russell talks about repairing his family's television set

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jesse Russell talks about his ability to repair electronics and toys, and his talent for mathematics

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jesse Russell talks about his childhood dream of becoming a professional football player

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jesse Russell talks about getting into a fight in school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jesse Russell talks about NFL player, Joe Gilliam, and about Jefferson Street in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jesse Russell talks about his interest in math and science, and his experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jesse Russell talks about attending a summer program at Fisk University, and his first exposure to the conflict between science and religion

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jesse Russell talks about the poor college prep at his high school, his experience at Fisk University, and his motivation to attend college - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jesse Russell talks about the poor college prep at his high school, his experience at Fisk University, and his motivation to attend college - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Jesse Russell talks about attending the School of Engineering at Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jesse Russell talks about his experience graduating from high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jesse Russell talks about his part-time job at a manufacturing company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jesse Russell describes his experience in the engineering school at Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jesse Russell describes his experience at Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jesse Russell talks about excelling in engineering school at Tennessee State University, and his desire to work at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jesse Russell describes being recruited to work at Bell Laboratories, and the opportunity to pursue his master's degree at Stanford University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jesse Russell talks about earning his master's degree at Stanford University, getting married to his high school sweetheart and returning to Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jesse Russell describes his work using microprocessors in the design of telecommunications systems at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jesse Russell talks about his ability to solve challenging problems

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jesse Russell talks about his first project at Bell Labs integrating microprocessors on old electromechanical switching systems

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jesse Russell talks about his summer research experience where he invented an automatic soldering machine for superconductivity experiments

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jesse Russell describes how he began to work on mobile telephones at Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jesse Russell describes his pioneering work at Bell Labs that led to the introduction of digital cellular technology

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jesse Russell describes the process that made it possible to reduce the size of cell phones

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jesse Russell talks about his role as the director of AT&T's Cellular Telecommunications Laboratory and the digitalization of telecommunications

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jesse Russell explains how he conceived the idea of starting his company, incNETWORKS, Inc. - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jesse Russell explains how he conceived the idea of starting his company, incNETWORKS, Inc. - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jesse Russell talks about the concept of 4G in telecommunications

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jesse Russell talks about the future of cellular telecommunications

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jesse Russell reflects upon the trends in the investment in innovation and intellectual bandwidth in the United States

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jesse Russell talks about personalized cellular networks

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jesse Russell describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jesse Russell describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jesse Russell reflects upon his life's choices and his mother's role in his life

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jesse Russell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jesse Russell talks about his family - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jesse Russell talks about his family - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jesse Russell talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
Jesse Russell talks about his family's dire financial situation following his mother's accident
Jesse Russell describes his pioneering work at Bell Labs that led to the introduction of digital cellular technology
Transcript
But my mother [Mary Louise Glenn Russell] got involved in an accident at the cleaning, at the dry cleaners, that's what we used to call it, called it the dry cleaners, I don't know what they call it today, but we called it the dry cleaners. And what happened was the press that she was pressing with accidentally fell and fell on her arm and, and completely disabled her. And, and burned her arm and disabled her. And that we all thought that that was the end of our family because without her working, there was almost no food and, and we went to welfare and we tried to get food and she, she--they gave us some food to eat during that timeframe. And that it had gotten so desperate for us that my mother said well look we, we have to eat. And she had given us a cup for us to go to, to the street corners where we could actually hold the cup where people would, would give us money to, to come back where we could buy food. And the, the thing I remember from, from that experience which is why it is so vivid to me, is that I concluded at that point in time that I refused to do what my mother said. That I, I wouldn't go do it and she, she was saying that we needed to do that to eat and that I refused to do it. And that was the time that was probably most vivid to me of saying that, that I deserve a better life than this. And I just refused to do it. And I had never refused to do anything that my mother told me to do before, but I wouldn't do that. And from that point on was probably the changing point in my life because what happened was I got so focused on getting out of that environment that nothing was more important than trying to educate myself and trying to find a way to have a better life. And it, it became a passion with me to get out of that environment.$$Okay$And that it was an all--my group [mobile technology, Bell Laboratories, New jersey] was all white and I was young. And I was the, I was the manager because I, I was the supervisor. So I went back there and, and I was asking these guys what's the problem? What is the--why is it that this is, is not great? It sounds like a great idea to me, you know what I mean. So, so why is it that we can't make money? And then they were explaining to me why we couldn't make money. And the, the thing that struck me about what they were doing was they were following the vision of Vidovale [ph.] which was--and Alexander Graham Bell. You'd think in nine, in the '80s [1980s] or early '80s [1980's], you know we would have moved beyond that. But the, the, the vision of Vidovale was putting phones in places. So if you go back and study the Bell System, you will note that once the Alexander Graham Bell invented the, the telephone, that Vidovale really drove the growth of the Bell System and what he was doing was we should put phones in, in businesses, in homes, in public places where people congregate, right. And the only place that they had not put a phone was in the car. And my boss, you know a team of guys starting in the '60s [1960's], had come up with this mobile phone and put it in the car. Well when I went back to meet with these guys, when they told me what the problem was about you--you were not making money because the phones, the calls went to no answer. My reaction was that oh, I know what the problem, I know what the problem is, right. You guys are focused on putting, still focused on putting phones in places and we ought to be focused on putting phones on the people, right. Because if we put the phones on the people, the minute the phone rings, it would be a natural inclination for them to answer it. And every time they answer, we could make a dollar, right because the minutes were very expensive, right. And I said we could turn the business around. We could make a whole lot of money. And, and that people were looking at me as if I was nuts because I didn't know that the phones were these huge boxes that went in the trunk of cars, and they had these big clunky handsets that went in the front part of the car, right.$$Was that the brick basically?$$It was prior to the brick, right, prior to the brick, right. Actually I have one sitting on the, the headset is sitting on one of the desks over here. But when, when--because I didn't know that, they, they didn't want to tell me that I was sounding dumb, right you know. But the--what, what happened was when I raised the question, then they started to explain to me, oh well the problem is there are more people than there are cars and this was designed for cars. We don't have enough spectrum and we can't really, you know, the technology is not at a place where you can actually miniaturize things the way I was thinking about them. And then I started to explain to them because I had become an expert in digital signal processing. So I started to talk about digital techniques and interacting with some of the other guys, saying, look if we digitize the speech substantially--at that time we had never done anything below 32 kilobytes ADPCM, and you had this young black guy talking about we're going to do eight kilobytes. Now which is almost like a factor four below what anything that had ever been done before, right. And I said no we're going to do it. And that we're going to go over and get some of the research guys, and I started going. And then all these guys got all fired up about this idea, right, this kid--cause they were older, this kid had come up with, right. Say no we're going to digitize the speech and then I described how we were going to use different-digital modulation schemes and, and all of a sudden guys that didn't want me there started to say this is not a bad idea. You know that this kid is talking about, right. And so I went from the black guy that took over the white group, to all of a sudden the white guys liked me, you know. And, and it was--I always tell the story it was a real awakening for me that innovation is colorblind, right. It, it, it--if you really have a good idea and you're willing to work hard and pursue it and be persistent in that, have a passion for it, people see the passion, right. And they, they sort of don't see the color, right. And all of a sudden--and these guys were really smart. The guys that had built this original mobile phone system were really smart, right. But they started to see the passion in me about creating this digital cellular technology. And next thing you know, they got on board and we started--it took us about four years and we made the first digital cellular call to any place in the world, in Chicago [Illinois] which was the first place that the first mobile system call was made. So we took it back to the same place and, and that was the birth of what's known today as digital cellular communications, which is the reason you walk around with cell phones on you today.