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

Wesley Harris

Aerospace engineer Wesley L. Harris was born in Richmond, Virginia on October 29, 1 941. His parents, William Harris and Rosa Harris, worked in Richmond’s tobacco factories. As a child, Harris was intrigued by airplanes and learned to build different models. In the fourth grade, he won an essay contest about career goals with a paper on how he wanted to become a test pilot. After receiving his B.S. degree with honors in aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia in 1964, Harris enrolled at Princeton University and graduated from there with his M.S. degree in aerospace and mechanical sciences in 1966 and his Ph.D. degree in aerospace and mechanical sciences 1968.

After completing his Ph.D. at Princeton, Harris taught at the University of Virginia and at Southern University before joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1972 where he served as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics. He established MIT’s first Office of Minority Education in 1975 in order to help retain minority students and improve their performance. In 1985, Harris was appointed Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut; and from 1990 to 1995, he served as vice president and chief administrative officer at the University of Tennessee Space Institute and then as associate administrator for aeronautics NASA. In 2003, Harris was named head of the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT in 2003.

Harris’ many honors and achievements include serving as chair and member of various boards and committees of the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Science Board, and several state governments. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Helicopter Society. The National Academy of Engineering elected Harris as a Fellow for contributions to understanding of helicopter rotor noise, for encouragement of minorities in engineering, and for service to the aeronautical industry.

Wesley L. Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.004

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/26/2013

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Princeton University

University of Virginia

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Wesley

Birth City, State, Country

Richmond

HM ID

HAR38

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

The Greatest Gift Is To Give.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

10/29/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak (Rib Eye)

Short Description

Aerospace engineer Wesley Harris (1941 - ) was head of the department of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. He was also elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering for contributions to the understanding of helicopter rotor noise, for encouragement of minorities in engineering and for service to the aeronautical industry.

Employment

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

UTSI

University of Connecticut

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

University of Virginia

Southern University

Harris Analytics and Planning, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:6715,78:43854,613:51368,679:58582,733:72260,887:76024,915:79340,936:80460,954:101810,1306:116132,1453:117824,1478:137502,1686:138158,1696:145722,1810:149658,1852:156190,1938:156550,1944:157000,1950:161657,1994:169182,2081:170427,2105:173830,2162:181498,2263:182304,2278:183048,2293:183358,2299:187295,2338:188145,2349:190360,2359:206374,2498:207194,2510:207604,2516:208178,2524:210400,2540:210700,2546:211000,2552:214670,2602:216542,2642:224375,2797:251370,3117:252616,3140:253150,3148:256060,3175:257230,3191:257860,3200:263615,3251:265070,3278:265749,3376:273646,3431:279835,3484:284185,3677:284635,3684:285010,3690:286060,3707:299560,3861:318570,3997:330756,4112:331834,4126:336600,4141:337000,4147:337800,4159:346036,4255:346624,4265:347016,4270:353910,4338:354798,4352:355686,4365:356352,4378:356796,4386:363980,4440$0,0:40348,527:77043,966:77579,975:78115,984:80520,1006:80845,1012:93196,1215:104375,1322:106271,1359:109352,1411:109668,1416:110300,1427:118911,1596:154114,1842:170748,2023:171084,2028:189450,2249:190002,2263:199658,2374:205894,2551:261770,3168:278591,3379:293302,3664:296870,3670
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wesley Harris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about the occupations of his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mother and his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his father's restaurant

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his twin brother William Harris pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about his twin brother William Harris pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes walking through the white district to get to school as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentors in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about his high school science fair project

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his aspiration as a fourth grader to be a test pilot

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about the University of Virginia-pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Virginia-pt 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentors at the University of Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes the group of African American students at the University of Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement at the University of Virginia pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement at the University of Virginia pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about the 1963 March on Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes the impact of the U.S. space program on his education

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his decision to attend Princeton University for graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentor at Princeton University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about anti-Semitism in Ivy League schools

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his doctoral research

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris describes how he was recruited by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes the findings of his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his time at Southern University pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his time at Southern University pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris explains why he left Southern University pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris explains why he left Southern University pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about his time as a professor at the University of Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris talks about his children and his first wife

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes being a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes his research on helicopter rotor acoustics

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his work on coastal ocean radar with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about receiving the Irwin Sizer Award

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Connecticut

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Tennessee Space Institute

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about the University of Tennessee Space Institute

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes being an associate administrator at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes being an associate administrator at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris reflects on his work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes why he left the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about the Lean Aerospace Initiative and Lean Sustainment Initiative

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about becoming a member of the National Academy of Engineering

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes his time at Arizona State University

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about the aeronautics and astronautics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about Leon Trilling

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes the James Shirley incident at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about the flight tests of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris provides his predictions on the direction of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about STEM education in the United States

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about his research on the fluid dynamics of blood flow pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his research on the fluid dynamics of blood flow pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris reflects on his life

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris reflects on his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris talks about his involvement in football during high school pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about his involvement in football during high school pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Wesley Harris talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Wesley Harris talks about his high school science fair project
Wesley Harris reflects on his work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Transcript
You were talking about this cloud chamber in the break, but how did you build that? I mean you say kids ask you today, how did you do it without the internet, right?$$Right. So the idea was that you wanted to observe, in my case, the trajectory of alpha particles and so how do you do that? Alpha particles are fairly large and high energy so if you have a, an environment where they can collide and you visibly can see the collision or the results of the collision then you could in fact track them. So if you had in those days these old radioactive Rayon watches, you could clip off a piece of the dial and that would serve as your alpha particle. To get the condensement atmosphere you build a box that was insulated, put in that box dry ice, okay, and on top you would put a damp wet cloth which when it interacts with the dry ice would form a cloud. And then you look at the, look through the top, alpha particles projecting through the cloud coming down, you see the collisions and you could track it. So the idea was to generate the correct environment. And the cloud chamber is what we called it in those days, still call it a cloud chamber. But you had to build a box, put ice in there, dry ice, not water ice but it had to be very cold and get the condensation, get the alpha particles, there it was. So, but Eloise Bose Washington, who is this woman, who is she, why do I remember her name so distinctly, why do I remember her even more so than Edmonds and Street and Mrs. Hartley and even Judon? Eloise Bose Washington one of the rare black women that went north in the 40s [1940s] to the University of Pennsylvania [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] to earn a masters degree in physics, you may ask well why in the hell would a black woman go north in the 40s [1940s] for a masters degree in physics and come back to the south? What could possibly be on her mind? What was she going to do? What job was open to her? None, other than the classroom, but she had a degree in physics. So the blessing was that I was one of her students. Not only was she a good teacher but she had the foundation. She knew physics okay, and therein lies the success. Therein lies the opportunity. Therein lies the greatest gift, all right, that Eloise Bose Washington was there or I was there when she was, let's put it that way, a tremendous spirit, a short woman, rather wide, rather big, again the tough love. "Wesley, you will go to the University of Virginia, okay?" And she said that because she never forgave herself for the third place finish at the University of Virginia. We had won first in the black community, the black competition and then she said "Wesley, we'll go to University of Virginia [Charlottesville, Virginia] with the cloud chamber and we finished third and she always thought she was the reason for it.$$Hmm.$$Yeah, she did. She--so I said "Yes, Ms. Washington, I will go. But tell me why do you want me to go?" She said, "Two reasons." She says, "Wesley, you are black and there's no way those white folks up there would ever misinterpret who you are whenever they see you." Second, she says, "You will be successful and that's very important to us that you succeed at the University of Virginia." Okay.$$So this is, I just want to go back to that for a second cause she's saying something really significant here because it's often said when someone, some African American succeeds that it's because he's part white or something, you know, he's a lighter guy and that sort of thing.$$Right.$$So she's actually saying, she's focusing on your color?$$Yeah.$$She's saying--$$Yeah.$$--you're the perfect person to--$$Yes, yes.$$--you'll really shake things up to let people know what our capacity is cause you're unmistakably--$$Right, yeah that was a part of her calculation, make no doubt about it, yes, right.$$Okay.$$Because in her generation and also in mine--$$[BRIEF INTERRUPTION]$$Okay, all right. So--$$Yeah, so Eloise Washington did want to make that point that it was about demonstrating scholarship by, for and about black folks in a way that's unmistakable, that it is of this, it is of black folks. And that was something that she wanted me to understand that that's the--remember now just a rising senior in high school and she made that point very, very clear, "You are black and they will not misinterpret that and you will be successful."$$Okay.$$So that's Eloise Bose Washington.$While at NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration], you were elected a fellow of the American Helicopter Society?$$Yes, oh yes. Yes, that's--okay, so the rotorcraft community obviously since the work I did here at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts] in main rotor acoustics has always been a part of my aero portfolio. In a lot of ways, rotorcraft was a stepchild. Most of NASA's effort was focused on fixed wing aircraft. The U.S. Military, especially the U.S. Army has always needed better, more efficient helicopters. So working with a man named George Stingley, we developed a joint program involving NASA and DOD [Department of Defense], three-headed program after-anyway, involving the rotorcraft industry to share, to develop and share common technology. And that, no one had done that before to bring those four, those three players, NASA, the rotorcraft industry and the U.S. Army together to solve common research problems related to rotorcraft where NASA put in money, DOD, U.S. Army put in money and the rotorcraft industry put in money. So that was bringing together those three stakeholders in a way to find a common solution to common problems and that's, was, I guess enough for the Helicopter Society to say, "Make this guy a fellow."$$Okay, okay. And also you were, you received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. I guess be-- is that just before you left?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$I think those things just, you just breathe long enough you get them. I, I attach no significance to those things at all.$$Okay. So when you look back at your stint at NASA, what are you the most proud of?$$High-speed civil transport, that technology, fascinating stuff, fascinating stuff.$$Okay, okay. Now--$$There's something else too.$$Okay.$$Most Americans know of the Russia-U.S. Space Treaty. At the same time that was developed there was a treaty or an agreement on aeronautics okay? So a group of us went to Moscow [Russia] several times to develop the document that Chernomyrdin [Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin] on the Russian side and Vice President [Al] Gore on the U.S. side signed, so-called agreement in aeronautics, a similar one in space, okay?$$Okay, so this is signed by Al Gore the vice president?$$Right and the vice premier Chernomyrdin of, for Russia.$$Okay.$$Okay, so I led that delegation. A member of that delegation was Woodrow Whitlow and many others as well, but that was an interesting, exciting time, couldn't leave the hotels at night. We were certain our bags were always searched when we left, riots on the Moscow subway. In the early 90s [1990]s, they just had collapsed the Soviet Union so you saw abject poverty in Russia, I mean unbelievable poverty, buildings with holes in them, government buildings, no toilets, no heat in the winter.$$Yeah, that's really critical in Russia.$$Oh goodness, yes. We were in meetings all day with overcoats on and gloves.$$In a government facility?$$Yeah, this is (Saugi?) [ph.], that's--this was their corresponding, this was their facility corresponding to our Tullahoma [Tennessee]. We have AEDC, the Arnold Engineering Development Center, the world's largest aerospace test facility, they had something called (Saugi?), comparable with no heat, holes in the walls, grass never cut.$$Yeah.$$That was Russia in the early 90s [1990s]. Not like that now but they had a really down period man. We were told to do this by the way, to develop this agreement not by NASA but by the State Department because they didn't want the Russian scientists to find their way to Iran or North Korea or some other place that would cause trouble later.

Victor Lawrence

Electrical engineer Victor B. Lawrence was born in 1945 in Ghana, West Africa. Lawrence attended the Imperial College of Science and Technology at the University of London where he received his B.Sc. degree in 1968, his M.S. degree in 1969, and his Ph.D. degree in 1972, all in electrical engineering.

Upon graduation, Lawrence worked for one year as a development engineer in the United Kingdom and then spent two semesters teaching at Kumasi University of Science and Technology in Ghana. Lawrence joined Bell Laboratories in 1974 and served as supervisor of AT&T Information Systems Laboratories, department head of Data Communication Research, director of Advanced Multimedia Communications, and vice president of Advanced Communications Technology before his departure in 2005. His application of digital signal processing to data communications in the late 1980s and early 1990s led to many significant advances such as voice-band modems and DSL. Lawrence did the pioneering work and led the development of the “Studio Encoder” and the receiver chip-set for the Sirius Radio Satellite System. Beginning in 1996, Lawrence lectured for several years at the U.S. Industrial College of the Armed Force. As a visiting professor, he taught signal processing and data networking courses at the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, Princeton University, and Columbia University. Lawrence also instructed courses in technology management and technology incubation at Bell Laboratories to new engineers.

In 2005, Lawrence was appointed as the director of the Center for Intelligent Networked Systems, and was named associate dean and Charles Batchler Chair Professor of Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He has co-coauthored five books: Introduction to Digital Filters, Tutorials on Modem Communications, Intelligent Broadband Multimedia Networks, Design and Engineering of Intelligent Communications Systems, and The Art of Scientific Innovation. Lawrence holds more than twenty U.S. and international patents and has had more than forty-five papers in referenced journals and conference proceedings, covering the topics of digital signal processing and data communications.

In recognition of his distinguished career, Lawrence was elected as a Fellow into the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and Bell Laboratories. His technical achievements include the 2004 IEEE Award in International Communication. Lawrence was a co-recipient of the 1984 J. Harry Karp Best Paper Award, the 1981 Gullemin-Cauer Price Award, and he shared the 1997 Emmy Award for HDTV Grand Alliance Standard with other Bell Laboratories employees. One of the many charitable and educational activities he is involved in is the International Cultural Exchange Center, which he co-founded.

Victor B. Lawrence was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.063

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/6/2013

Last Name

Lawrence

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

University of London

Imperial College, University of London

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Victor

Birth City, State, Country

Accra

HM ID

LAW05

Favorite Season

Spring, Birthday

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained in sudden flight but, they while their companions slept, they were toiling upwards in the night.― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

5/10/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hoboken

Country

Ghana

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Electrical engineer Victor Lawrence (1945 - ) serves as the director of the Center for Intelligent Networked Systems as well as associate dean and Charles Batchler Chair Professor of Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Employment

ITT Research Institute

Kumasi University

Bell Laboratories

AT&T

University of California, Berkeley

IEEE

United States Industrial College of the Armed Forces

Stevens Institute of Technology

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2604,121:2940,126:5376,158:5964,167:11250,212:12328,228:21372,310:27012,354:29946,374:30334,379:37470,507:38770,528:39485,544:48020,594:54990,636:55417,644:58730,692:59046,697:63708,753:75360,879:78510,933:78870,938:79410,946:86642,1033:86894,1038:88812,1053:89116,1058:104040,1230:104280,1235:109744,1276:115495,1367:124845,1453:126080,1479:126340,1484:127705,1506:136740,1561:150729,1711:160865,1890:166905,1953:171379,2004:171932,2012:174381,2046:175250,2064:189338,2226:189764,2254:190474,2267:192290,2277$70,0:5153,81:5445,86:7197,128:8876,161:9971,237:18220,393:19753,424:20191,432:22235,498:32528,609:32852,616:45673,782:46231,789:50137,841:55843,878:63760,984:72040,1003:80260,1075:80524,1080:80986,1088:81646,1128:82174,1138:82504,1145:83626,1166:84088,1176:87300,1203:87756,1210:93900,1260:101500,1368:109056,1413:109560,1420:110232,1429:112726,1441:113671,1462:120005,1514:146682,1768:146930,1773:154131,1850:157350,1898:164910,1934:165318,1941:169900,2019
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Victor Lawrence's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence talks about his mother's education, her profession as a teacher, and the post-independence changes in community structure in Ghana

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence talks about his father, Nathan Codjo Lawrence

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Victor Lawrence reflects upon the African slave trade and the Gate of No Return at Cape Coast, Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence responds to questions about his parents getting married parents got married

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence discusses the dual influences of religion and traditional cultures on Ghanaian life, and describes a Ghanaian wedding

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence talks about his likeness to his parents and family lineage in Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence talks about diseases that were common while he was growing up in Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Victor Lawrence talks about his childhood and the neighborhood where he grew up in Accra, Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Victor Lawrence describes his trip to England in 1952, his father's death, and his family's situation thereafter

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Victor Lawrence describes his experience in school in Accra, Ghana, and his interest in science and mathematics

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Victor Lawrence describes the independence movement in Ghana in the 1950s, and the Independence Day celebrations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Victor Lawrence describes his rich and formative experience at Achimota School in Ghana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence talks about his teachers and mentors at Achimota School, and the unique education that he received there

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence talks about the British system of high school education, and his graduation from school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence describes his decision to attend the University of London to study engineering

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence talks about his interest in repairing gadgets and his job at the harbor in Accra, Ghana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence describes his experience as an undergraduate student in London in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Victor Lawrence describes working at a restaurant and as the deputy warden of his hostel to put himself through graduate school in London

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Victor Lawrence talks about his thesis advisor, Professor Colin Cherry, and his Ph.D. dissertation in digital signal processing

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Victor Lawrence describes his Ph.D. dissertation in digital signal processing

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Victor Lawrence describes the applications of his Ph.D. dissertation on designing digital filters

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence describes his recruitment to AT&T Bell Labs in the early 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence talks about the University of Kumasi, Jerry Rawlings, and John Atta Mills

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence talks about the coup d'etat in Ghana in 1974, his departure from Ghana, and his move to the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence describes the help that he received from Kent Mina and Solomon Buchsbaum at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence describes his experience at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Victor Lawrence talks about his work in developing applications at Bell Labs, and in creating global compatibility of data networks

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Victor Lawrence talks about his work on stabilizing digital filters that are used in digital signal processors

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Victor Lawrence talks about digital signal filters, the applications of his work in digital signal processing, and the advances made at Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Victor Lawrence talks about his contributions to research and development at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence talks about winning an Emmy Award in 1997 for his contribution in building the first HDTV receiver

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence talks about his professional awards, recognitions and service

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence talks about his technological collaborations and administrative positions at Bell Laboratories

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence talks about supporting Senator Bill Frist and the U.S. Sub-Committee on Science and Technology from 1997 to 2001

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence talks about intelligent networks and the possibilities that they present

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Victor Lawrence talks about his book, 'The Art of Scientific Innovation'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Victor Lawrence talks about high-definition television, and receiving the IEEE Millennium Medal in 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Victor Lawrence shares his perspectives on the Y2K problem

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Victor Lawrence talks about his long service at Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Victor Lawrence talks about the break-up of AT&T Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Victor Lawrence reflects upon his legacy at Bell Labs

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Victor Lawrence describes his work with intelligent networks and his involvement with Baharicom Development Company (BDC)

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Victor Lawrence talks about his work on submarine communications to increase communication technologies with and within Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Victor Lawrence discusses his work on intelligent networks at Stevens Institute of Technology

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Victor Lawrence reflects upon the role of human beings as technology advances

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Victor Lawrence reflects upon potential ties between Africans and black Americans and the role of intelligent networks in global politics

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Victor Lawrence reflects upon his life and his hope for his native country of Ghana

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Victor Lawrence talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Victor Lawrence talks about his serve towards STEM education and international cultural relations

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Victor Lawrence talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Victor Lawrence describes his recruitment to AT&T Bell Labs in the early 1970s
Victor Lawrence talks about his contributions to research and development at Bell Laboratories
Transcript
So after you graduated [with a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of London, England], what were your options? Did you know you were gonna go back to Ghana or--$$Yeah, when I graduated I spent about six months or so in England with General Electric Company of United Kingdom. I spent that time there to learn a little bit about industry and at the same time, I was a post-doc [postdoctoral trainee] in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Imperial College [London, England] because my professor still wanted me around. I was working with him. So it was there that Bell Labs, AT&T, came to recruit me, because AT&T was recruiting worldwide. They wanted the best scientists they could get everywhere on this earth. So they came to Imperial College. And when they came to Imperial College, they saw my professor, and so my professor told them, told me, "Oh, there are these visitors from America. They want to come and recruit. I know you are interested in going to Ghana, but why don't you just show them around so that they can become, become acquainted with the university." So I started showing them around, and as we went from one place to the other, the gentleman said, oh, why don't I also come and work with them. And I told him that, no, I'm going to Ghana because--so they said, "Okay, you just come for a trip." So, they came and wrote back to me that I should come, because I think after I was taking them around, they were so much interested in me. So they sent me a ticket to come for interview, booked my hotels for me. Those were the good days for AT&T. So they gave me a ticket. I took the flight to JFK [John F. Kennedy Airport, New York City], and from JFK, you know what they did? They gave me a, they made me take a helicopter ride from JFK to Newark [New Jersey]. First time, I sat in a helicopter. So I said, "Gee, this must be a very good company." And then from Newark, I did the interview in New Jersey. And then they sent me to Chicago also to do--Illinois, Naperville, also to go and do some interviews there. And then I went back. It wasn't long, they wrote to me that they wanted me. And I told them that I have to go to Ghana first because my mother [Ellen Sarku Nettey] wanted me to come over.$Okay, yeah, say what you were saying about the development, I mean the growth of cell phone use today.$$Yeah, because they went from the first generation to the second generation [wireless technology], and they also did it in such a way that a lot of things were done in the transmitters. Jesse [Russell; also HistoryMaker] explained to you, and the things that they used were the components that I had developed, together with my colleagues [at bell Laboratories, New Jersey]. And that made the phones very small and made it very efficient. And they've gone from second generation to third generation, to fourth generation. And Jesse, now his company is working on the fourth generation.$$Okay.$$So that's where some of this--in between, I did a lot of other work. One of the things that I worked on was what we call the future secure voice telephone. The future, secure voice telephone using still the techniques that I had developed earlier in digital filtering, modulation, speech coding. In that time, in 1984 thereabouts, '84 [1984], '85 [1985], '86 [1986], the U.S. Defense Department [Department of Defense; DOD] wanted to have a generation of phones that were encrypted, a generation of phones that was digital. And so I worked on the future, secure voice terminal. In fact, the terminals were built, were used in the White House on the decks of the generals, when I think--involved just simple things like the speech. We have to digitize the speech, code it in such a way that you have it in a number of bits, compressed it into a small number of bits, and then encrypt it. So then we had to use digital modulation to do so. So this was what really was the future secure voice terminal, FSVS, and we had the whole generation of terminals for the U.S. government. So that was one application. Other applications was mentioned, this speech and filtering for wireless and then also for video as well. Those were things that we did do.$$Now, this is in the '80s [1980s] as well?$$Yeah, in the '80s.

John Slaughter

Electrical engineer and academic administrator John brooks Slaughter was born in Topeka, Kansas, on March 16, 1934. His father, Reuben Brooks Slaughter, was hard-working and held a variety of jobs to support his family; and, his mother, Dora Reeves Slaughter, was a homemaker. Slaughter graduated from Topeka High School in 1951 and enrolled at Washburn University, but transferred after two years to attend Kansas State University. There, he earned his B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1956. Slaughter went on to receive his Ph.D. in engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1961, and his Ph.D. in engineering sciences from the University of California, San Diego in 1971.

Slaughter joined the U.S. Navy Electronics Laboratory in San Diego in 1960. In 1975, he became Director of the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington; and, in 1977, Slaughter was appointed Assistant Director for Astronomics, Atmospherics, Earth and Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation. From 1979 to 1980, Slaughter was Provost and Academic Vice President at Washington State University. The, he serves as the director of the National Science Foundation in Washington D.C. for two years. Between 1982 and 1988, Slaughter was the Chancellor of the University of Maryland, College Park, where he made major advances in e recruitment and retention of African-American students and faculty. Slaughter then was elected President of Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1988 through July 1999. In August 1999, he assumed the position of Melbo Professor of Leadership in Education at the University of Southern California. In June 2000, Slaughter was named President and CEO of The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc.

Slaughter holds honorary degrees from more than 25 institutions of higher education. He was also a recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Award in 1997, and UCLA’s Medal of Excellence in 1989. Slaughter was honored with the first U.S. Black Engineer of the Year award in 1987, and received the Arthur M. Bueche Award from the Nation Academy of Engineering in 2004, where he is also a fellow. Slaughter is married to Dr. Ida Bernice Slaughter, an educational consultant and former school administrator. They have two children: a son, Dr. John Brooks Slaughter, Jr., DVM, and a daughter, Ms. Jacqueline Michelle Slaughter.

John Brooks Slaughter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 28, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.205

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/28/2012

Last Name

Slaughter

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Brooks

Schools

University of California, Los Angeles

University of California, San Diego

Kansas State University

Topeka High School

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Topeka

HM ID

SLA02

Favorite Season

Fall, September

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Some people would rather have a cause than an effect.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/16/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ribs (Pork Spare)

Short Description

Electrical engineer and education administrator John Slaughter (1934 - ) was the first African American to direct the National Science Foundation and developed computer algorithms for system optimization and discrete signal processing.

Employment

Convair

United States Naval Electronic Laboratory Center

United States Naval Applied Physics Laboratory

University of Washington

Washington State University

National Science Foundation (NSF)

University of Maryland, College Park

Occidental College

University of Southern California

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:7108,66:7906,75:10528,97:19502,185:20398,203:23460,232:24612,237:32280,291:33912,303:46956,370:47694,381:48432,392:59400,532:59960,541:65040,588:65628,596:66468,613:96054,927:96398,932:144798,1526:147800,1660:185876,1954:186488,1961:196790,2093:217628,2231:224080,2393:232271,2481:232967,2491:235142,2519:236534,2542:245216,2635:249764,2719:250056,2724:250348,2729:260049,2832:264531,2924:264863,2929:277514,3038:277746,3043:279776,3093:290990,3212:291690,3223:305022,3398:326845,3697:333200,3742:336200,3790:363654,4083:364002,4088:365220,4102:365916,4111:373130,4173:373398,4178:373666,4183:379682,4263:380472,4274:394790,4337:397690,4374:408231,4521:408587,4526:409744,4545:410100,4550:420572,4605:421124,4612:426240,4680:426660,4689:426900,4694:428060,4702$0,0:2528,27:3594,73:5726,119:6054,124:6382,129:8432,152:13926,224:14664,234:16304,249:16878,257:23116,278:23634,286:25628,298:35815,412:40842,440:43096,464:43782,472:44174,477:44566,482:51446,564:52166,576:58095,638:59163,653:60053,664:64087,695:64451,700:65270,710:65634,715:66089,727:66817,744:69092,773:70821,795:74100,803:75822,824:77667,839:82842,864:83170,869:84564,882:85630,900:86122,907:89294,935:92750,1016:95454,1035:96336,1050:96966,1068:97344,1076:100996,1116:101492,1121:102112,1127:114162,1221:116090,1238:116466,1243:117218,1253:118400,1263:118960,1271:121130,1295:121634,1304:127447,1366:128126,1374:131746,1398:132824,1420:136052,1446:139020,1462:141352,1485:144442,1499:144904,1507:145498,1517:149961,1530:150529,1540:151594,1558:153298,1601:154292,1617:156138,1665:156635,1673:157700,1687:158623,1702:159049,1709:159901,1730:167216,1769:170900,1803:171530,1811:173712,1821:184625,1902:186145,1919:187855,1930:188520,1939:190135,1958:201960,1980:205500,1991:205836,1996:212334,2039:212842,2044:219885,2059:223165,2071:223590,2077:224695,2091:229634,2119:230180,2127:232130,2163:232442,2168:240880,2252:241480,2289:242305,2301:242980,2312:243730,2323:255876,2424:256812,2430:257631,2439:262590,2457:269776,2491:271144,2506:272170,2516:278150,2537:279008,2551:279710,2563:280568,2575:282050,2591:285686,2618:286054,2623:286882,2636:295870,2736
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Slaughter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Slaughter lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Slaughter describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Slaughter describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Slaughter talks about his father's work in the coal mines

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Slaughter talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Slaughter talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Slaughter describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Slaughter shares his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Slaughter describes his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Slaughter describes his experience at Buchanan Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Slaughter describes his skill with electronics and his desire to become an engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Slaughter talks about his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John Slaughter talks about the teachers that influenced him

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John Slaughter describes his experience of World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John Slaughter talks about his family and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - John Slaughter talks about his teacher, Howard Anderson

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Slaughter talks about Washburn University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Slaughter describes the impact of his liberal arts education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Slaughter talks about the Kansas State University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Slaughter talks about teachers at Washburn University that influenced him

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John Slaughter describes his experience with computers at the Kansas State University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John Slaughter talks about organizations he joined as an undergraduate

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John Slaughter talks about the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John Slaughter talks about his cousin, Lucinda Todd

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John Slaughter describes his decision to work at General Dynamics

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - John Slaughter talks about the offer to be "the Jackie Robinson of Westinghouse"

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John Slaughter describnes his work at General Dynamics

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Slaughter describes his work with the U.S. Navy Electronic Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Slaughter talks about his graduate studies and his decision to pursue his Ph.D.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John Slaughter describes his doctoral research

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John Slaughter talks about his work at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John Slaughter describes his work with the National Science Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John Slaughter describes his work at Washington State University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John Slaughter talks about his work to restore funding for science education

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John Slaughter talks about the difference between science and engineering

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John Slaughter talks about his time at the University of Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John Slaughter talks about the challenges he faced at the University of Maryland (part 1)

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John Slaughter talks about the challenges he faced at the University of Maryland (part 2)

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John Slaughter talks about his inspiration and role models

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - John Slaughter describes his work at Occidental College

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John Slaughter talks about former students of Occidental College

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John Slaughter describes his work at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John Slaughter describes his work at the University of Southern California

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John Slaughter talks about the Rodney King incident

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John Slaughter talks about affirmative action

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John Slaughter describes his current role at the University of Southern California

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John Slaughter shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John Slaughter reflects on his career

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - John Slaughter talks about his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - John Slaughter talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - John Slaughter tells how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - John Slaughter describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
John Slaughter describes his skill with electronics and his desire to become an engineer
John Slaughter talks about his work to restore funding for science education
Transcript
Now you grew up with no television, right?$$That's right.$$And in terms of radio, did you have a radio?$$We had a radio. Like I said, my dad was a used furniture salesman, so he would sometimes get old radios, and we had plenty of them around. And that was important to me, because my dad would go to auction houses and buy things that needed repair. And so he'd buy tables and chairs and things and bring them along and repair them and clean them. And sometimes he'd buy radios. And so, he had a barn out in the backyard for this old furniture that he would buy and fix up. And I started playing with the radios, and then I started fixing some of them, and making them play. And my dad realized that maybe this was a God-send. So, my dad built me in the backyard a little radio shack, a radio shop for me. And my mother bought me test equipment, and I went into the radio repair business. And all the time I was in high school, I had a radio repair business. And I used to advertise that I would fix any radio in Topeka [Kansas] for $4 plus parts. And I paid for a lot of my education through my radio repair business. That was a significant part of my upbringing because I loved to take things apart and see how they worked. And that's what I think led me to become an engineer.$$Now, those are the days I remember when you would go to the store and buy a vacuum tube to test the vacuum tube--$$Yeah.$$--to figure out--$$Yep, I had a vacuum tube tester. I told my mother I needed a vacuum tube tester and we found a used one at a radio store in Topeka. And she couldn't afford it, but she bought it for me. She knew that that was something that I wanted and needed for my radio repair business.$$Okay. How much did it cost? I guess I'm curious now.$$I think it was about $25 at the time.$$That's a lot of money in those days.$$Yeah.$$$25 may have been equivalent to a couple hundred dollars today.$$That's right, exactly. My dad's annual salary during that time was about $2500 a year or so. (laughter). So, you just imagine that $25 was an important part of that one percent.$$Right, right. But you were able to make money with it.$$Yes.$$So, I would guess you would contribute money back into the home, that sort of thing?$$Yes.$$So, it was probably significant income.$$Well, it was $4 plus parts, and I did the best I could. (laughter). But it helped pay for my college education, so my parents didn't have to pay for that as much, certainly for the first two years.$$Okay. Now, did you ever encounter a radio that you couldn't fix and a problem you just couldn't deal with?$$I don't think so. I think there was one car radio that a friend of mine had that I had difficulty and may not have been able to complete, but I became very good at it.$$Okay. So, did you have any kind of consultation with anybody about how to do it, or did you just start to tinker?$$I took a class when I went to high school. I'll back up. When I was in junior high school, our junior high school was integrated. And it was more integrated, actually, in many ways, than the high school. But in junior high school I decided that I wanted to be an engineer. And I'm not absolutely certain how that revelation came, other than the fact that I was curious and I liked, like I said, to take things apart and see how they worked, and build things. So, I would get old copies of 'Popular Mechanics Magazines,' and they always had projects you could build. And I made cameras and I made various electronic devices, and I decided I wanted to be an electrical engineer. And I would tell anybody who was in earshot, that I wanted to be an electronic engineer. People thought I was crazy, because nobody had heard of a--first of all, engineers in Topeka were not anybody other than people who drove the Santa Fe Railroad train, you know. And certainly nobody had ever heard of a black engineer. And you know, here is this kid saying I want to be an engineer. And I don't even think my parents really understood what it was that I was saying I wanted to be. So, I went to high school, and I remember saying to the counselor that I wanted to be an engineer. And what they said, which is not uncommon for black kids at that time was, "You need to go to vocational school." So, I ended up in trade school where I learned about radios.$$Okay. Now, I'm going to go back. These counseling stories, we can begin to make a book out of them.$$I know.$$The same advice.$$Yeah.$$But we're going to go back to--now in high school, in Topeka High School, how were your grades?$$My grades were good. I wasn't perfect, but I had--I graduated--but with excellent grades. I was always a good student.$Alright. So, you were the director of NSF [National Science Foundation] from '80' [1980] to '82' [1982].$$Right.$$And what were some of the issues and duties, well, duties as president at NSF in those days?$$Well, it was a difficult time. And the biggest issue I had was that shortly after I was confirmed, well, shortly before I was confirmed, actually, Jimmy Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan. I was the last Carter appointee to be confirmed by the Senate because they were waiting for Reagan to come on.$$Had you interacted with Ronald Reagan when he was governor of California?$$No. I had not. But I had interacted a lot with members of his transition committee. And I had actually good relations with them, and I think that's the reason that they approved my appointment and I was able to transcend the period from Carter to Reagan. But I wanted to make sure that I, before I moved my family from Pullman, Washington to Washington, D.C. [District of Columbia], I wanted to make certain that I had the support of the new administration before I would go back to Washington to take the job. But it was very clear early on that many of the things that I believed in were not necessarily supported by the new administration. They wanted to eliminate science education, for example, from the budget. As a matter of fact, they did eliminate it. So, the biggest issue I had for the two years I was there was getting it restored. And that occupied a significant part of my time, getting science education restored.$$I guess the philosophy of the administration was that this was something that the public sector ought to fund, science education.$$Yes. Science education and behavioral and social sciences were on the chopping block. And the hardest thing that I had to do was to go to the science education director and about 125 people, and tell them that they had just lost their jobs, because I didn't believe in what the administration was doing. So, with the support of some people in Congress, mainly Ted Kennedy, we were able to get it back on the radar screen in the Congress and ultimately get science education restored, even though the full restoration didn't occur until after I left. But we laid all the groundwork during that time. The other thing that was significant during the time I was director was that we were able to establish engineering as a full directorate at NSF. Up until that time, only the pure sciences had been considered a part of the NSF portfolio, and there had been a long standing desire on the part of the engineering community to be included. And I think the fact that I am an engineer was important, and during the time I was there we were able to get engineering established.

James Mitchell

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2012.236

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/11/2012

Last Name

Mitchell

Maker Category
Middle Name

W

Occupation
Schools

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

Iowa State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Durham

HM ID

MIT13

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Alaskan Cruises

Favorite Quote

When times get tough, the tough get going.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/16/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Turkey, Greens (Collard), Fish, Barbecue

Short Description

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

Employment

Bell Laboratories

Lucent Technologies

Howard University College of Engineering

CREST Nanoscale Analytical Sciences Research and Education center

Favorite Color

Gold, Purple, Red, White

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

4$5

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

Marshall Jones

Mechanical engineer and inventor Marshall G. Jones was born on August 1, 1941 in Southampton, New York to Mildred and Dallas Jones. While his father served in the Navy during World War II, Jones and his brother lived with his great aunt and uncle in Aquebogue, New York on their duck farm. Although he had to repeat the fourth grade because of his reading skills, Jones excelled in math and science. Jones attended Riverhead High School and graduated with his diploma in 1960. Two years later, he received his A.A.S. degree from Mohawk Valley Community College. Jones then received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1965. In his graduating class, he was the only African American student in the engineering school. Following work as a development engineer at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Jones went on to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering in 1972 and 1974, respectively.

Jones entered into industrial research in 1974, working with General Electric Global Research in New York. Jones was one of General Electric’s first scientists researching laser material processing and he soon became the manager of the Laser Technology Program. In 1982, Jones started research on high-power laser beam transmission through optical fibers. His research allowed for the passage of high power laser beams with high efficiency. Jones continued to specialize in laser technology, becoming a major pioneer in the field. His work included the use of lasers to join two dissimilar metal combinations together. He received fifty United States patents, thirty-one foreign patents and wrote over 45 publications. Jones served as an adjunct professor at SUNY of Albany and Schenectady County Community College. He is the subject of the children’s book, Never Give up: The Marshall Jones Story .

Jones won a number of awards for his groundbreaking work. He is the recipient of the General Electric Company’s highest honor, the E-GR Coolidge Fellow. Jones was named the 1994 Black Engineer of the Year for his technical contributions to industry. One year later, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Professional and Community Service from the University of Massachusetts. Jones went on to receive the Pioneer of the Year Golden Torch Award from the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in 1999. He was also elected into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2001 for his contributions to the application of high-power lasers in industry. Jones was a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) and the Laser Institute of America (LIA).

Marshall G. Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 4, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.157

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/4/2012

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Gordon

Occupation
Schools

Aquebogue Elementary School

Riverhead Senior High School

Mohawk Valley Community College

University of Michigan

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marshall

Birth City, State, Country

Southampton

HM ID

JON30

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Reunions

Favorite Quote

Go Blue.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/1/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Albany

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Apples (Fried)

Short Description

Mechanical engineer and inventor Marshall Jones (1941 - ) was a pioneer in laser technology, receiving fifty United States patents.

Employment

General Electric Company

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Schenectady Community College

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:23704,112:33630,137:41218,206:43568,246:81347,489:83394,508:95782,598:99112,623:123436,882:191225,1423:241575,1965:247399,2011:273260,2263:276182,2278:280610,2322:281922,2340:283152,2355:283644,2362:284136,2370:310280,2631:314232,2660:377468,3463:379392,3481:392516,3666:416080,3869$0,0:5810,60:6760,71:9705,105:13220,159:26480,257:38288,326:38632,338:39406,348:39750,353:41470,375:42760,392:45082,423:49640,483:50414,493:50758,498:51360,507:57014,527:57752,538:58080,543:62098,595:62590,603:62918,608:63246,613:73348,693:73792,701:75272,734:76900,759:77566,772:82672,861:83190,869:84300,888:86742,930:94083,971:94567,976:95293,984:96624,996:97350,1004:100012,1029:103960,1039:106164,1071:106772,1083:107380,1097:109128,1115:109660,1124:110192,1132:110572,1138:111484,1155:113688,1193:114372,1206:115056,1218:115360,1223:115664,1228:120338,1243:122291,1290:122606,1296:123236,1309:123740,1318:135670,1561:136070,1567:136870,1585:137270,1591:139270,1637:141190,1667:141510,1672:142070,1680:142630,1688:143750,1711:148362,1730:148694,1735:154338,1822:154753,1829:155583,1841:155915,1846:158156,1879:158820,1889:165916,1934:166240,1939:166807,1947:167293,1955:167941,1965:169318,1984:171667,2014:171991,2019:173854,2040:174421,2048:174907,2055:180320,2070:185881,2151:186545,2160:186960,2166:187292,2171:187873,2180:188205,2185:189450,2199:202058,2307:202326,2312:203331,2330:204604,2357:206145,2383:206413,2388:218520,2536:219960,2559:220280,2564:221960,2597:222360,2603:228177,2643:228461,2648:230733,2680:231088,2686:231372,2691:233431,2740:234141,2752:234425,2757:240450,2812:241650,2826:242930,2831:243250,2836:245410,2864:246530,2875:247330,2888:248210,2896:248530,2901:249010,2909:249810,2922:254050,3021:268056,3111:270318,3148:270666,3153:273189,3182:273537,3187:275625,3213:276060,3219:279600,3227
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marshall Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marshall Jones lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marshall Jones describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marshall Jones describes his great-uncle Lawrence Miller's duck farming business

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marshall Jones talks about his great-uncle, Lawrence Miller, and great-aunt, Mary Jackson

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marshall Jones talks about his mother, Mildred Green

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marshall Jones describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marshall Jones talks about his father, Dallas Jones

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marshall Jones talks about his parents' marriage and his father's career in the U.S. Postal Service

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marshall Jones describes his relationship with his father

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

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marshall Jones talks about his parents' role in his upbringing (part 1)

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marshall Jones talks about his parents' role in his upbringing (part 2)

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marshall Jones describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marshall Jones recalls stories from his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marshall Jones describes the medical condition of being tongue tied

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marshall Jones describes the sights, smells and sounds of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marshall Jones describes his experience in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marshall Jones describes his relationship with his great-uncle, Lawrence Miller

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marshall Jones talks about repeating the fourth grade

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marshall Jones talks about his mother moving away from home

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marshall Jones describes his teenage interest in airplanes and in becoming a pilot

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marshall Jones talks about learning algebra at Aquebogue Elementary School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marshall Jones talks about the demographics at Riverhead High School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marshall Jones talks about playing sports in school - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marshall Jones talks about playing sports in school - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marshall Jones describes his decision to attend Mohawk Valley Community College

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marshall Jones talks about the death of his great-uncle, Lawrence Miller

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marshall Jones talks about how he explained his engineering drawings to his mother

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marshall Jones describes his experience at Mohawk Valley Community College

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marshall Jones describes his first encounter with racism

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marshall Jones talks about his mentor at Mohawk Valley Community College

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marshall Jones describes his decision to transfer to the University of Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marshall Jones describes his experience with racism in Florida in 1961

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marshall Jones talks about his mentor at the University of Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marshall Jones talks about Ted Kaczynski and Marina Oswald attending the University of Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marshall Jones describes his experience at Brookhaven National Laboratory

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marshall Jones talks about meeting his wife and getting married

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marshall Jones describes his decision to pursue his Ph.D. degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marshall Jones describes his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marshall Jones talks about his mother's unexpected death

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Marshall Jones talks about taking the professional engineering exam

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Marshall Jones describes patent rights and his work at GE Global Research

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Marshall Jones describes lasers and his work using lasers

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Marshall Jones describes his pioneering work with lasers

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Marshall Jones talks about the awards that he has received

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Marshall Jones describes his work on processing laser energy through fiber optics

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Marshall Jones talks about his advisory role at the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Marshall Jones talks about using lasers in additive manufacturing

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Marshall Jones describes his work on using lasers in underwater cladding

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Marshall Jones describes his work on laser-based hotwire welding

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Marshall Jones describes his work on portable plenum laser forming

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Marshall Jones reflects upon his contributions to laser technology and science

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Marshall Jones talks about his overall experience at the General Electric Research Center

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Marshall Jones talks about mentoring and competitive running

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Marshall Jones describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Marshall Jones talks about the inspiration for his book, Never Give Up - The Marshall Jones Story

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Marshall Jones reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Marshall Jones talks about his family

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Marshall Jones reflects upon his career path

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Marshall Jones talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Marshall Jones describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

7$8

DAStory

1$1

DATitle
Marshall Jones describes lasers and his work using lasers
Marshall Jones describes his work on laser-based hotwire welding
Transcript
Just summarize for those who don't know, what is a laser anyway and what--?$$A laser is a device that's able to generate light in a form that essentially has one color. And it could be essentially a color that you can see or it could be a color that you can't see. What you can see is from blue to red, the colors in a rainbow. And if you look at, if you put numbers on those colors okay and we'll use microns as numbers, and if you go from .4 to say .8 microns, that's going from blue which is .4 to red which is .8. If you go below .4 you're in a region that's referred to as ultraviolet and that's sort of the color that you can't see and this is the color that everyone is concerned about you know dealing with ultraviolet coming from the sun that can cause skin cancer. If you go above .8 say to 1 and larger that's into the infrared. Lasers operate from the ultraviolet through what you can see all the way into the infrared. The uniqueness of the laser in addition to the fact that it's very, it's only of one color you know the, sort of the, the word that best describes that it's a fairly large word but it's called, it's monochromatic and that means one color. The other feature of the laser is that it's the most collimated light source known to man. If you take a flashlight and shine the flashlight over some distance, the light beam from a flashlight essentially diverges as it leaves the flashlight source.$$It gets wider and wider.$$It gets wider and wider.$$Disperses.$$And it's the same for your headlamp on your car you know, the light coming from that headlight divide, diverges out okay. The light from a laser stays very collimated. If I took a laser in this room and shined it on the wall over here and shined it on another wall the spot on the wall is almost the same size as the beam leaving the source. If you shine a laser beam from the earth to the moon, the moon is 250,000 miles away. When the laser beam gets to the moon it's going to cover an area maybe the size of this museum. And you say well that's not so good but you have to think how far did the laser travel? It traveled 250,000 miles and when it got to the moon it only illuminated a region that's the size of this museum. That's a pretty collimated light source. Being that collimated, that means that if you put this light source through a lens you're able to focus it down to a very, very small spot okay. I usually tell kids in the classroom I always ask the question, how many you know how many students have taken a magnifying glass and either ignited paper or tried to pop an ant and most of them was--raised their hand. But you're able to do that, you're able to walk around in the sun and for the most part it doesn't bother you unless you're out there too long. But if you focus the rays from the sun you know through a magnifying class it's able to focus down to a very, very small spot such that the intensity is so high that you can ignite the paper and the kids that were able to pop the ants always ask the question, why did you know why did the ant stand still? So I says--but it probably temporarily blinded it. That's what you're able to do with a laser. I've spent the last thirty-five years taking the laser beam such that if the laser beam is the size of a quarter, you know I could put something in front of the beam very quickly and it will do nothing to it. When it goes through a lens and it's focused down I can do things like what we just talked about. I can weld copper to aluminum, I can cut with it, I can heat treat with it, I can do so many different things totally non-contact which is the most exciting thing of all that you don't have to touch the part, the component, the material and you're able to impart this energy which is nothing other than light on a material in order to energize it and do some useful things.$Okay. So in 2004, you published 'Laser Hotwire Welding for Minimizing Defects' during the international congress on applications of lasers and electro optics proceedings. Right, that's (unclear).$$Okay. This hotwire laser approach you know just prior to that you know we had a patent issued in this area also and the idea, some of the materials that they use for you know building certain components for gas turbines as well as for jet engines, these materials are super-alloys. Typically when they are welded the material aspects is such that you know they will literally crack. And so we came up with this technique of this hotwire laser welding where we would essentially--it would be used to join two materials that are very difficult to weld, okay, number one. Number two, we would be able to reduce the amount of heat that would go into the welding process because we've used another means of heating the wire that we would be feeding into the joint. And we were able to demonstrate that we could weld some of these materials without cracking them okay, and without the part actually having distortion which is another issue that occurs with certain welding techniques, even with lasers. And even in the same time frame you know there was like a ten-year period where we were doing research for Lockheed Martin [American defense, technology, aerospace, advanced technology company] and when we came up with this technique the folks at NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Agency] was interested, became interested in the technique relative to the space shuttle. And the space shuttle, all the welding on the space shuttle because it's aluminum is done with another process that's called friction stir welding. And they wanted to go to, away from aluminum to some of the nickel-based alloys but they didn't have a good way at that time cause friction stir welding would not work with these nickel based alloys. And we were showing that we could use this hotwire laser process to weld the materials that they had of interest without having distortion and still maintaining the properties that they want. And I had actually visited the location where they make the fuel tanks for the shuttle down in Michoud [NASA Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, Louisiana] in Louisiana and presented this technology and so forth. And we were in the process of moving forward with that and on my way home when I was in the Atlanta [Georgia] airport, that's when the Challenger [space shuttle Challenger] went down. And so I was really obviously taken back because I was, I mean I was just there where they actually made these you know fuel tanks and we were look--because where they were going was you know they wanted to--you know because the fuel tank is discarded you know with the shuttle the way it works now and they were heading in the direction of having the system to be able to come back to earth and be able to be re-used. And that was the reason for going to the new material but after that accident that approach went out, you know they just went down a different track. But that's where that, that was the potential use for that technology and it's still an area that you know we're still doing work in.

Essex Finney

Agricultural engineer Essex E. Finney was born in Powhatan County, Virginia on May 16, 1937. As a child, he worked on his family farm growing tobacco, wheat and corn as well as raising farm animals. Finney became interested in agricultural engineering when his family acquired a tractor. After graduating from Pocahontas High School in 1954, he enrolled at Virginia State University. In 1956, Finney transferred to Virginia Polytechnic Institute, where he was one of the first African American students to integrate the university. Finney earned his B.S. degree in agricultural engineering in 1959 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He went on to earn his M.S. degree in 1960 from Pennsylvania State University, and in 1963, he was the first African American to receive his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University. Between 1963 and 1965, Finney served as an officer in the United States Military.

In 1965, Finney accepted a position with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Beltsville Research Center in the instrumentation research laboratory. He was appointed assistant director of the center in 1977 and became director in 1989. For one year, Finney served as associate director of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) twelve-state North Atlantic Area. In addition, from 1980 to 1981, he was hired as a senior policy analyst in the Office of the Science Advisor to Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. In 1992, Finney went to work at the USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he served as the associate administrator for the ARS. Finney worked with the USDA until his retirement in 1995. In addition to his administrative duties, Finney also conducted research. His early research investigated methods of drying cereal grains like wheat, rice, and barley, and his later research focused on techniques and instruments that measure food quality.

Finney was named a fellow of the African Scientific Institute. He was a member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering. In 1985, the College of Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University presented Finney with their Engineering Alumnus Award.

Essex E. Finney was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on July 13, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.154

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2012

Last Name

Finney

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Schools

Pine Hill Elementary School

Pocahontas High School

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Pennsylvania State University

Michigan State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Essex

Birth City, State, Country

Powhatan County

HM ID

FIN03

Favorite Season

May, October

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/16/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Agricultural engineer Essex Finney (1937 - ) a pioneer in the field of agricultural engineering, led a thirty-year career with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Employment

United States Military

United States Department of Agriculture

Office of the Science Advisor to the President

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:3461,18:4189,24:4826,33:7192,60:9285,95:11833,144:12561,153:16068,163:16940,172:17703,222:18139,227:21000,307:21910,322:22400,330:23030,344:23870,349:24220,355:27879,394:30452,434:30867,440:33038,451:33731,462:34501,474:36432,494:36918,506:37134,511:37404,518:38430,540:43221,589:43757,598:44494,612:45164,625:46169,641:46705,650:48715,702:49318,713:49921,723:50256,729:50792,738:51060,743:54724,760:57348,794:58578,807:59152,815:59480,820:60546,836:68358,913:69090,932:69578,941:70249,955:70493,960:70920,968:72506,1024:73482,1038:74641,1062:75129,1071:75495,1078:79330,1097:79610,1102:79890,1107:80450,1118:83250,1169:84990,1176:86082,1191:87170,1204:87810,1218:88514,1234:90434,1275:95485,1340:98280,1368:98536,1373:101032,1423:101544,1433:102120,1445:102632,1454:103464,1472:103720,1477:103976,1482:104424,1490:105448,1513:105960,1522:106600,1540:108328,1595:109096,1609:112490,1619:113714,1642:114326,1657:115091,1673:115499,1682:123346,1751:123594,1756:123904,1762:124276,1770:124524,1797:126322,1831:126570,1836:127934,1878:128244,1884:128864,1898:131096,1947:131406,1953:132088,1967:133018,1983:133948,2001:134382,2009:136366,2046:143992,2117:152790,2220:153756,2228:156654,2253:157482,2260:158998,2285:159550,2292:160102,2300:162126,2327:167857,2381:168093,2386:178646,2530:179348,2546:179618,2552:180050,2561:180266,2569:185666,2712:185990,2719:188786,2730:189314,2737:189842,2758:190722,2775:193897,2818:194173,2826:201487,2975:202522,2991:203074,3000:203971,3016:204523,3025:208984,3046:210048,3062:210808,3073:213227,3087:214517,3099:216390,3111:216750,3118:217290,3129:218010,3142:218970,3165:219450,3174:219810,3185:220170,3192:220590,3200:221070,3209:221550,3219:222030,3232:223170,3254:223410,3259:224670,3287:224970,3294:226230,3320:228090,3362:232640,3393:232888,3398:233322,3406:234624,3431:235058,3442:235554,3451:235802,3456:236050,3461:236298,3466:236856,3476:237538,3490:239660,3500:240353,3509:240738,3515:241585,3528:242817,3551:247745,3629:249131,3649:250825,3671:254950,3683:255502,3692:256606,3716:259297,3777:259642,3783:260746,3802:261367,3812:262057,3826:263092,3838:266314,3853:268610,3873:269930,3896:270854,3912:272702,3945:273494,3959:276332,4013:277058,4025:277652,4037:277982,4043:282353,4078:282724,4087:283095,4094:283731,4112:284049,4120:284473,4130:285056,4145:285480,4151:286222,4163:286487,4169:286858,4178:287282,4187:289243,4229:289879,4244:290091,4249:290462,4258:293750,4268:294290,4280:294590,4286:296360,4315$0,0:6526,105:8820,162:9316,173:10060,195:14211,252:14940,264:15264,269:15912,277:17694,305:18585,319:19557,332:26706,436:28500,465:36036,571:38950,594:39415,600:41182,621:46064,704:46878,718:47470,727:48284,740:51143,792:51679,801:52148,809:53488,831:54158,842:54828,853:56570,896:56905,902:60671,920:65016,998:67623,1039:69519,1067:73290,1077:77608,1116:80680,1136:80992,1141:82942,1177:83644,1187:84736,1204:85204,1212:86530,1235:87856,1263:89884,1286:101140,1368:101788,1378:102076,1387:102724,1397:103228,1406:103660,1413:104308,1425:107692,1501:123740,1751
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Essex Finney's interview - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Essex Finney's interview - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Essex Finney lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Essex Finney talks about his family home in Powhatan County and his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Essex Finney describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Essex Finney describes his mother's growing up in Michaux, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Essex Finney describes his father's family background - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Essex Finney describes his father's family background - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Essex Finney describes the Finney lineage

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Essex Finney talks about his father's parents and family

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Essex Finney talks about his father, Essex Eugene Finney - part one

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Essex Finney talks about his father, Essex Eugene Finney - part two

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Essex Finney talks about his parents meeting and getting married

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Essex Finney talks about growing up around his family in Macon, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Essex Finney describes his childhood home

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Essex Finney corrects his great grandmother's name

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Essex Finney describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Essex Finney describes the Powhatan countryside

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Essex Finney talks about his father's farming

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Essex Finney describes his experience at Pine Hill Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Essex Finney describes his childhood interest in farming

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Essex Finney talks about the changes that have occurred in Powhatan County

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Essex Finney talks about race relations in Powhatan County in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Essex Finney talks about his grandmother's health problems

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Essex Finney talks about his earliest exposure to science

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Essex Finney describes the benefits of using tractors and mechanical equipment for farming

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Essex Finney describes his experience at Pocahontas High School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Essex Finney talks about his decision to attend Virginia State College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Essex Finney talks about his mother's death

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Essex Finney talks about his mentor, Reuben McDaniel, at Virginia State College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Essex Finney describes his experience at Virginia State College

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Essex Finney talks about the African American students at Virginia Tech in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Essex Finney talks about living with Janie and William Hogue in Blacksburg

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Essex Finney describes his experience at Virginia Tech

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Essex Finney talks about his mentors, Phillip Mason and Earl Swink, at Virginia Tech

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Essex Finney talks about his Aunt Novella's support of his college education

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Essex Finney talks about his mentors

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Essex Finney talks about the funding for his education at Pennsylvania State University and Michigan State University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Essex Finney talks about getting married to Rosa Ellen Bradley in 1959

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Essex Finney describes his experience at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Essex Finney describes his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree at Michigan State University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Essex Finney describes his Ph.D. dissertation research on the viscoelastic behavior of the potato

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Essex Finney describes his experience at Michigan State University

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Essex Finney describes his experience in the military

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Essex Finney describes his early years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Essex Finney describes his work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Essex Finney talks about the racial make-up at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Essex Finney describes his experience as a mid-career fellow at Princeton University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Essex Finney talks about Malcolm Thompson at the Agricultural Research Service

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Essex Finney talks about being appointed as the assistant director of the USDA Beltsville Research Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Essex Finney describes his service during the Carter and Reagan administrations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Essex Finney describes the differences in the agricultural policies of the Carter and Reagan administrations

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Essex Finney describes his administrative responsibilities during his career at the USDA

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Essex Finney discusses current issues in agricultural research - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Essex Finney discusses current issues in agricultural research - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Essex Finney talks about a reunion with his friends from Virginia Polytechnic Institute/Virginia Tech

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Essex Finney discusses federal funding for agricultural research

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Essex Finney reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Essex Finney talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Essex Finney reflects upon his mentors

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Essex Finney talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Essex Finney talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Essex Finney describes his photographs - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Essex Finney describes his photographs - part two

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

9$1

DATitle
Essex Finney describes his early years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Essex Finney talks about Malcolm Thompson at the Agricultural Research Service
Transcript
Now how did you I guess find out about the position or get, come to you know work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA]?$$When I was in graduate school at Michigan State [University, East Lansing, Michigan] and at Penn State [Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania], there was a publication, a journal that came out each month called 'Agricultural Engineering'. In that particular issue was a--each issue would have a, an article on advances in instrumentation and that was an area that I wanted to work in was instrumentation. And so Carl Norris who was the research leader or the chief of the instrumentation research laboratory in Beltsville [Maryland] was the one who edited and published these articles each month. So I had followed Carl Norris' career, his publications through that magazine and so when I finished at Michigan State, I knew I had to go into military service. While I was in the military service I had made contact with Carl Norris, sent him a letter and indicated I was interested in working in his lab if a position became available. So the last year that I was there, Carl Norris wrote to me and said--sent me a letter inviting me to apply. So I applied for a position in his laboratory and he accepted. By the way, while I was at Rocky Mountain Arsenal [Denver, Colorado], we did have a couple of scientists from Beltsville who would come and consult and give us advice on some of our research projects so I had also made contact through the Beltsville research programs, through those scientists who had been at Beltsville. So I was successful in getting a position at Beltsville working in the instrumentation research laboratory under Carl Norris.$$Okay, all right. So this, so now you were here, this is here, where we are today?$$Where we are today, yeah.$$In the same building or this is a--?$$I worked in the south building, the building adjacent to us. On the far end of that first floor was the instrumentation research lab so I started work in the, Carl Norris' laboratory complex in the building right to the south of us.$$Okay. And you were basically on this site for twenty-five years, right?$$I started work at Beltsville in '65 [1965] and I retired from USDA in '95 [1995], thirty years and Beltsville has always been my home. I was at Beltsville from '63 [1963] to '73 [1973] and I went away for one year when I was a mid-career fellow at Princeton [University, Princeton, New Jersey] for one year, came back to Beltsville. And then in 1987, I was assigned to the North Atlantic area in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] so I went up to Philadelphia for two years then came back to Beltsville. So basically I've been at Beltsville for thirty years. My entire career had been here with a couple of exceptions.$$Okay. All right, now kind of walk us through what your initial assignment was and how you, you know--?$$At Beltsville?$$Yes, right.$$Okay, my initial assignment at Beltsville was in the instrumentation research laboratory as a research engineer. And I was responsible for developing equipment for sorting and testing the market quality of agricultural products. There was a division called the market quality research division, that was the division I was in and that division was concerned with once a product is developed on a farm, how do you transport it, how do you store it, how do you market it with optimum quality? And one of the quality of products that they were concerned about was the texture. That is, after products are harvested they tend to soften, it gets flabby and it ultimately will rot. So I was asked to develop instrumentation for automatic sorting and testing the textural quality, the texture of products, the hardness, the firmness, the roughness. How do these products behave in marketing channels? So that was my project. So I developed what they call sonic resonation, sonic resonance techniques for non-destructively measuring the texture or the hardness, the firmness of agricultural products so that was my first product that I was working on. So that was what I involved in and I wrote a number of papers, one of which received an award from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers for the quality of the work that was done. So that was my first responsibility at Beltsville.$One of the scientists I wanted to comment about and I think is worth putting on the record is an African American scientist who was here when I came and had been here for a number of years. His name was Malcolm Thompson. Malcolm Thompson as far as I know is the only African American scientist who is a member of the Agricultural Research Services [ARS agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture] Hall of Fame. The Agricultural Research Service has its hall of fame which is for the top one or two percent of the scientists in the agency. Malcolm Thompson was trained in chemistry. He got his early training from Xavier University [of Louisiana], in Louisiana [New Orleans, Louisiana]. He worked for a while for the National Institute of Health [NIH] and came to Beltsville [Maryland] as a research chemist working in the insect physiology laboratory which is a pioneering laboratory. It does basic research. And he probably is one of the top scientists, he is one of the top scientists in the agency. He's passed away now but he did research on identifying the chemicals that are important in the life span of insects.$$Hmm.$$Now that might not sound important but it is extremely important if you want to control the insect and control the insect in a way that is not harmful to other live animals or is not harmful to plants. So he had identified a number of chemicals that are extracted from the insect that can be used in developing insect control methods. So I'm not going to say anymore about it but I just wanted to put him on the record as one of the top African American scientists and top scientists in the agency itself. And he worked at Beltsville, very highly regarded.$$Okay yeah and this is Malcolm Thompson?$$Malcolm Thompson.

Arnold Stancell

Chemical engineer and corporate oil executive Arnold Stancell was born on November 16, 1936 in Harlem, New York to Maria Lucas, a seamstress and Francis Stancell, a musician. He lived with his single mother and was focused on his education throughout his youth. After passing competitive exams to attend Stuyvesant High School, Stancell went on to City College of New York where he graduated magna cum laude with his B.S. degree in chemical engineering in 1958. Stancell was awarded a graduate fellowship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and became the first African American to earn his Ph.D. degree from MIT in chemical engineering in 1962.

After graduation, Stancell worked at Mobil Oil Corporation from 1962 to 1970, researching new chemical and plastic products. During this time, he was awarded eleven patents for new plastics processes and plasma (ionized gas) reactions for new products. In 1970, Stancell took a leave of absence from Mobil Oil to teach at MIT. He started a research program on plasma reactions at surfaces and his student, David Lam, went on to found Lam Research, the preeminent company worldwide in plasma etching of circuits into the surface of silicon chips. In 1971, Stancell declined a tenured professorship position at MIT to return to Mobil Oil. He continued to excel at Mobil, becoming vice president of Mobil Plastics in 1976 and led the commercialization of a new plastic film that revolutionized packaging and replaced cellophane. In 1982 he became vice president of Mobil Europe Marketing and Refining based in London. He then progressed through a number of additional executive positions becoming vice president of oil and natural gas Exploration and Production in 1989 responsible for finding and developing oil and natural gas reserves in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Stancell initiated, negotiated and launched the now $70 billion liquefied natural gas production joint venture between Mobil and Qatar which sells natural gas to markets worldwide.

In 1993, he retired from Mobil after a thirty-one year career and a year later accepted George Institute of Tecnology’s invitation to join its faculty as professor of chemical engineering. He became the Turner Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in 2001, and in 2004 retired as Professor Emeritus. After the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill, Stancell consulted and advised the United States Department of Interior. In 2011, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Science Board.

Stancell has received numerous recognitions including the American Institute of Chemical Engineers National Award for Chemical Engineering Practice, Career Achievement Award of City College of New York, Professional Achievement Award of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers and in 1992 was named Black Engineer of the Year. In 1997, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and in 2009, was elected to its Board. In 2010, he was appointed to the Governing Board of the National Research Council. He has also received numerous outstanding teacher awards. Arnold Stancell is married to artist Constance Newton Stancell.

Arnold Stancell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 14, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.090

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/14/2012

Last Name

Stancell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

F

Occupation
Schools

Stuyvesant High School

City College of New York

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Arnold

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

STA07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe

Favorite Quote

Everything comes to he that waiteth, if he worketh while he waited.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Birth Date

11/16/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Stamford

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beef Tenderloin

Short Description

Chemical engineer and corporate executive Arnold Stancell (1936 - ) had a thirty-one year career with Mobil Oil starting in research and rising to vice president of Exploration and Production. He served on the National Science Board and advised the United States government after the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill.

Employment

Georgia Institute of Technology

Mobil Oil Company

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:10925,70:11726,80:17103,154:19150,194:20129,210:20485,215:25240,253:26274,266:29510,293:37244,357:37727,366:40832,420:44650,451:44986,456:47165,480:47750,492:48270,501:49245,523:53990,572:54506,579:54850,584:59830,622:66478,659:71038,696:71433,702:79050,799:79382,804:82339,828:82741,835:83344,845:84215,863:91444,945:105981,1156:113286,1222:113844,1233:116430,1253:116856,1260:132480,1429:132870,1436:133130,1441:133780,1456:134300,1467:134560,1472:135080,1481:137170,1487:139200,1501:146842,1536:147318,1544:147794,1552:148066,1557:148542,1566:149154,1576:161040,1737:161352,1742:162054,1752:169576,1849:170002,1857:175650,1906:176100,1914:180348,1982:185644,2029:186225,2038:186723,2045:192288,2105:192726,2111:198658,2185:198922,2190:199582,2201:205803,2272:206426,2280:207761,2299:212790,2367:237466,2614:238082,2623:238874,2633:248690,2710:249740,2729:250090,2735:251000,2751:251280,2756:251980,2770:254893,2803:256597,2831:257165,2841:263886,2875:264550,2885:265380,2895:266044,2905:269358,2916:269942,2925:270672,2937:271256,2947:282525,3038:283000,3044:283475,3050:295105,3164:295780,3174:296230,3181:300195,3230:300790,3238:318082,3439:318520,3446:319177,3457:319542,3463:324214,3558:329530,3587:330570,3601:332090,3636:333980,3648$0,0:3528,29:5364,48:6384,60:6792,65:12504,129:19072,191:19688,199:20480,209:21536,228:22064,235:23736,252:29343,319:30526,338:33630,386:34553,402:34837,407:35263,414:37020,422:44200,447:45550,469:55550,579:56795,590:59676,604:62613,627:65897,646:66182,652:67750,660:70889,708:71765,721:80306,803:80873,811:84218,845:84806,852:86276,866:107791,1152:113142,1198:114740,1219:137390,1446:139415,1494:141365,1530:141665,1535:147058,1551:147576,1560:148094,1569:154170,1666:155250,1694:155790,1704:156270,1714:156870,1726:159090,1784:159750,1800:160290,1810:167256,1844:167688,1851:168336,1861:180834,2040:182286,2071:183474,2094:183870,2102:188174,2125:193399,2170:194095,2179:194443,2184:197488,2247:203380,2316:204238,2368:225063,2601:225546,2610:226167,2621:227892,2648:229548,2689:230445,2705:230997,2718:232998,2760:236532,2774:236988,2781:241280,2834:244120,2860:245352,2872:253103,2956:253904,2966:255150,2984:264603,3089:264959,3094:265315,3099:278932,3211:279352,3217:281756,3240:282848,3259:284954,3295:285656,3307:289322,3390:289634,3395:301846,3591:302454,3600:305836,3625:306348,3634:306796,3643:307436,3654:307756,3660:311850,3709:312378,3721:313566,3747:313896,3753:314226,3762:318054,3843:318318,3848:320694,3907:327280,3972:328153,3989:328735,4004:362261,4403:362585,4412:373238,4533:373968,4544:374406,4551:375063,4562:376158,4580:383912,4660:385153,4704:389360,4740:394854,4828:397642,4874:399938,4915:405835,4953:409370,5006:409774,5011:422260,5152:423228,5164:423844,5173:429510,5259:429885,5265:430410,5274:436140,5315:440182,5393:448782,5542:449126,5547:450588,5566:451104,5573:452136,5587:460099,5673:463256,5703:463652,5711:463982,5717:469260,5778:481184,5914:484521,5986:488568,6069:500985,6152:503075,6173:515260,6232:534214,6302:536152,6323:536866,6331:537376,6338:541865,6374:542720,6386:543385,6394:543955,6401:545760,6425:551340,6485:559966,6597:560374,6602:572186,6724:576122,6795:576860,6814:593850,6919:594288,6925:598466,6991:599456,7011:599984,7020:605600,7090
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Arnold Stancell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about meeting his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Arnold Stancell describes his earliest childhood memory and his childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Arnold Stancell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Arnold Stancell talks about his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about his junior high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about his involvement in the church and youth organizations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell talks about his junior high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell talks about his high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about his high school experience and his decision to go to City College of New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Arnold Stancell talks about his experience at City College of New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about social baggage

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about living in Harlem during the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell talks about his interest in polymers

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell talks about his first professional job at Exxon and his decision to pursue a doctoral degree

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about his perceptions of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about his experience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about his mentorship at MIT

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell describes his dissertation on improving crude oil recovery

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell talks about his work at Mobil

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about the poetic qualities of thermodynamics

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Arnold Stancell talks about his work with plasma

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Arnold Stancell talks about his professional relationship with NOBCChE and how he met his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about his marriages

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about his work at Mobil Chemical, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell talks about his work at Mobil Chemical, part 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell considers the environmental impact of his work

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about his progressive roles at Mobil, part 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Arnold Stancell talks about his progressive roles at Mobil, part 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about David Lam

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about his international work with Mobil

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell talks about Mobil's drilling activities and drill technology

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell talks about the Quatar Deal

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell talks about the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell talks about his retirement from Mobil

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Arnold Stancell talks about the BP Oil Spill

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Arnold Stancell talks about his perceptions of U.S. education

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Arnold Stancell talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Arnold Stancell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Arnold Stancell talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Arnold Stancell talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Arnold Stancell describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Arnold Stancell talks about his progressive roles at Mobil, part 1
Arnold Stancell talks about his international work with Mobil
Transcript
Okay, alright. Now, now in 1980, you were in the management of Mobil Corporate Planning in New York?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$Ye that's--$$How did that come about, first of all?$$Well, I must have done a good job on the vice president of plastics, so I think the president of Mobil heard a presentation from me on our plastics business. And so this particular job, when you come now to New York--I came from the Rochester area, Macedon, New York, down to New York City headquarters. Now you're in a position where you're handling planning for all of Mobil, and you report to the senior vice president for planning of Mobil. And he's on the board. So now the board directors, the presidents of Mobil's major divisions and the chairman and the president of Mobil all get a chance to see you up close. You make presentations, you make points regarding strategies of the different businesses and so on. And I guess I could have used a little mentoring more at that time, so that now I've been with Mobil for awhile, I mean, I just, I'm coming right out--first I was in research, then I ran a business--I'm coming into world headquarters. I mean I don't know the rules of the game, and I'm in a very visible position, being this manager of corporate planning, making presentations to the board and so on. So, you start picking up on what's the way things are done. I always called it the way I saw it, though. And so I must have done pretty well with that, but that was a very exciting time, because Mobil made a bid for Marathon Oil, and I started getting more into the financial aspects of Mobil, of course through the business of my prior job, running the film business, plastic film business. So with corporate planning, you get heavily into financial matters, but a president asked me to head up a task force within a small group, and he wanted to keep it quiet. To select the target, Mobil was ready to make an acquisition that we would be an oil company, and of the various oil companies, what's our recommendation? And so, that was really exciting. We worked, obviously, secretly and so on, and we chose Marathon Oil. We thought they were heavily undervalued compared to their real underlying value. I came up with estimates of their underlying value, and we had experts from the financial houses worrying about how you structured a deal, and it was a heady time. we mounted our offer. It was on the low side, and Marathon rejected it. Now, Marathon's another oil company, so they knew that if Mobil takes them over, you know, we didn't need their whole super structure. So, they held us up and they filed an antitrust suit. We increased our offer. We kept increasing our offer. But they were successful, as you might expect, really, that they filed an antitrust. That takes time, and people had started at sixty dollars a share and it got up quickly to 70 dollars a share, 80 dollars a share. We finished putting our offer out there at 120 dollars a share, and people didn't take our offer, they took the 120 dollar a share offer from U.S. Steel. U.S. Steel joined in, and U.S. Steel bought Marathon. And of course, there was not going to be antitrust issues that Marathon had some refineries, they had some service stations, and if Mobil and Marathon got together, it would restrain trade. There were no issues, because U.S. Steel is a steel company. So they quickly closed their deal and we were locked out. So, people thought we would never close on our deal, it would take too long. But here's a guy who was 120 dollars a share right now. So that was very disappointing that we missed out on the Marathon acquisition.$Okay, alright. Now, when we broke, you were in London as a vice president for Mobil Europe, right?$$Yes.$$And the '80's [1980s] were a time, I was thinking about this during the break, that British Petroleum started, you know, making inroads into the U.S. market in the '80's [1980s]. I don't know if they were doing that when you were there, but it was--$$Yes, they were, they had a presence in the U.S. market through Standard Oil Ohio. and their exploration and production, they were active in the Gulf of Mexico and other areas of the U.S. They were not aggressive, but they had a presence. The early '80's [1980s] in London, Europe was going through where like Margaret Thatcher was putting in her conservative policies in Britain, and there was a big fight with the coal unions. And it was a time of transition in Europe to more of a market economy, even more of a market economy, so--$$Okay. I know that was the beginning of it. That was, Standard Oil of Ohio was basically taken over by BP.$$Yes, that's right.$$By the end of the '80's [1980s], they had not only Standard Oil of Ohio, I think, but Standard Oil, period, right?$$They had Standard Oil of Indiana, Amoco. They ended up merging with--around late '80's [1980s], like '89' [1989] or something like that, yeah.$$So, what were you doing? So you're in London, and what were some of the highlights of what you're--$$It gets a little--my district--the advantage of having a technical background, and you're also running a business, I think you can maybe see some issues. And in terms of when you build a refinery, it's not just saying I'm going to run some crude oil through here and get some products. You've got to be concerned about the location of those products, because the transportation costs of those products to the different markets can be considerable. So, people recognize that, but then also the configuration. What hardware do you put in a refinery? If you just put in simple hardware--so, you got a refinery, it takes crude oil and gives you some products, but it's the type of products you get. You want to maximize gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil and diesel. Those are the products that have the value to them. The heavy part, after you get through refining, has low value. So, you really want to take the heavy part that has low value and put investment in to convert that up to these higher value products. So you want crude oil to come into the box, and out just comes gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel, and diesel. And if you don't have that, your refinery is going to be uncompetitive. You won't have the margins to survive against refineries that have all that hardware. So, we cut through all the issues of in terms of what refineries you should keep, which ones we should invest in, by having this simple picture, and we use that very powerfully. We ended up as negative, but we ended up shutting four refineries. But we invested heavily in the remaining ones to make them only produce G and D, and overall we were more profitable. So that was very exciting. I had a strategy that made sense. The, just the different countries, I'm trying to think of any particular issues-France--we had a lot of union issues because we were trying to make our operations more efficient. But the laws of the country gave a lot of strength to the unions, and you couldn't close, you couldn't shut down... As I mentioned, some refineries you want to keep, some you don't. And so it was difficult, very difficult. In France we tried to shut down a refinery which was a negative, but it made economic sense. We were going to continue with the workers in other operations, but we couldn't move them. See, the mobility of workers in Europe wasn't, isn't like the mobility here in the U.S. If you have an operation and you say, look you can be more efficient, you can have your job, but you'll have your job over here. I know it disrupts your family, but, et cetera. But people, a lot of people will do that. But in Europe, they won't. And so we had union people bust into our offices in France and Paris armed with bats and threatening the general manager. So I got a call from the general manager, the president of Mobil France, and he says, "Arnie" (laughter), because they call me Arnie, "We got a problem here. The workers are rioting here, threatening and so on." So, I said, "You've got to call the police." (laughter). Cooler heads ended up prevailing, but you know, they took to the streets on that one. We ended up convincing enough workers to take the deal and things calmed down, but it was a trying time.$$What was the deal?$$The deal was that we had another refinery location and a refinery we thought was competitive that had the kind of hardware that I was telling you about. And we were going to expand that. We could move a bunch of those jobs up north. So they were down in this lovely area near the Mediterranean, charming restaurants, charming hillside, and we were going to move them up to Ravensheugh, north, and they didn't want any part of that. So, and then for those who didn't want to move at all, they agreed in negotiation with the union on a payout. But a bunch did take it, and moved up to Ravensheugh. There were those kinds of things in Europe.$$Alright. So you were there for--$$I think it's almost three and a half years, or four years, three years.$$Okay, so you arrived in '82' [1982], right?$$'82' [1982] and left in '85' [1985].$$'85' [1985], right.$$Yes three years, yes.$$So you became vice president of Mobil Global Marketing and Refining Planning in New York.$$Yes so that's Mobil's deal of, now you've finished an operating job, and now you go back to world headquarters and now back into planning, but now for broader knowledge and strategy for a major division. I had the corporate planning job, but this is a way now of getting more familiar with the marketing and refining. I had not been in marketing and refining. So, with that job--I mean, I was in marketing and refining, operating--now I'm getting marketing and refining, a broad overview.$$Okay, alright. So what are some of the highlights of that?$$That was, I'm trying to think of the, at that time, now we were, in terms of the particular operation, you know, it really was a continuation of this thought that I started in Europe where now I could apply it to Mobil's global marketing and refining, where you look to your refineries that are going to be your keepers, because you're going to invest heavily in them with this upgrading to make more valuable products, and less investment going into closure of the office for overall better efficiency. And we applied that worldwide. of course we operated-- marketing and refining, you know, we had Japan, we had, you name it. We were marketing and refining throughout the--well, Singapore, Australia. I didn't start it, but we started in Saudi Arabia with marketing and refining, mainly refining. So it was a continuation of the strategy that we started in Europe, but now applying it more broadly [unclear].

Warren Morton Washington

Distinguished scientist Warren M. Washington was born on August 28, 1936, in Portland, Oregon. As a high school student, Washington had a keen interest in science; after graduation he went on to earn his B.A. degree in physics and his M.A. degree in meteorology from Oregon State University. After completing his Ph.D. in meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, Washington became a research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 1963. While serving in the position of senior scientist at NCAR in 1975, Washington developed one of the first atmospheric computer models of the earth’s climate; soon after, he became the head of the organization’s Climate Change Research Section in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division.

As an expert in atmospheric science, climate research, and computer modeling of the earth’s climate, Washington received several presidential appointments. From 1978 to 1984, Washington served on the President’s National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere; in 1990, he began serving on the Secretary of Energy’s Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee; and in 1996, he assumed the chair of the Subcommittee on Global Change. Washington also served on the Modernization Transition Committee and the National Centers for Environment Prediction Advisory Committee of the United States National Weather Service. In April 2000, the United States Secretary of Energy appointed Washington to the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee. Washington was also appointed to the National Science Board and elected chair of the organization in 2002 and 2004.

Among his many awards and honors, Washington received both the Le Vernier Medal of the Societe Meterologique de France, and the Biological and Environmental Research Program Exceptional Service Award for atmospheric science. Washington's induction into the National Academy of Sciences Portrait Collection of African Americans in Science, Engineering, and Medicine, was announced in 1997. Washington also received the Celebrating Twentieth Century Pioneers in Atmospheric Sciences Award at Howard University, and Reed College in Portland, Oregon, awarded him the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology. Washington held memberships in the National Academy of Engineering and the American Philosophical Society.

In addition to his professional activities, Washington served as a mentor and avid supporter of scholarly programs and outreach organizations that encouraged students to enter the profession of atmospheric sciences.

Accession Number

A2006.080

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/20/2006

Last Name

Washington

Maker Category
Middle Name

Morton

Schools

Jefferson High School

Oregon State University

Pennsylvania State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Warren

Birth City, State, Country

Portland

HM ID

WAS03

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Oregon

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Italy

Favorite Quote

Nobody loves me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

8/28/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Atmospheric scientist Warren Morton Washington (1936 - ) developed one of the first atmospheric computer models of the earth's climate, and was elected chairman of the National Science Board in 2002 and 2004.

Employment

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Warren Washington interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls his mother's family and her life history

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Warren Washington discusses the lives of his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Warren Washington recounts his maternal grandparents' move from Texas to Oregon

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls the history of his great-grandparents and the origin of his last name

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Warren Washington discusses his father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Warren Washington discusses his father's employment and the hospital where he was born

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Warren Washington recalls his maternal lineage

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Warren Washington shares his earliest memories of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recalls his experiences growing up in a mixed neighborhood and the racial tensions in Oregon during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Warren Washington remembers how he would spend the summers of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls his time in elementary school and high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Warren Washington recalls his fondness of public libraries while he was growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Warren Washington remembers teachers who inspired him

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his job during college and his first car

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Warren Washington recalls the Civil Rights Movement and his involvement with the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Warren Washington describes racial attitudes in Oregon during the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls the impact of World War II on his family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recalls his feelings of discouragement during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Warren Washington shares his impressions of entering college

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Warren Washington discusses his determination to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes some of his experiences during college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Warren Washington recalls having segregated fraternities and sororities on campus

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Warren Washington stresses the importance of diversity in higher education organizations

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Warren Washington discusses the importance of diversity in science

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Warren Washington recalls his fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Warren Washington discusses his career path after graduating from college

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Warren Washington talks about his work with early computers

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Warren Washington talks about starting his graduate work

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Warren Washington explains the background of his graduate thesis

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Warren Washington discusses how he became an adjunct associate professor

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Warren Washington recalls the racial tensions on a college campus during the late 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Warren Washington recalls his experience first working for the National Center for Atmospheric Research

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Warren Washington discusses African American scientific communities

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his work under several presidencies

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Warren Washington recalls his first experiences as a scientific advisor

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Warren Washington talks about connecting science to greater societal issues

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Warren Washington talks about explaining his work to his parents and the publication of his book

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Warren Washington recounts a few of his presidential appointments

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Warren Washington recalls his experiences working with the president's chief of staff

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Warren Washington shares how he responds to a special request from the president's chief of staff

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Warren Washington describes the process of building more complex computer models for climate prediction

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Warren Washington relates the importance of creating better weather prediction models

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Warren Washington discusses his beliefs on the social impacts of global warming

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Warren Washington shares his thoughts on Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes an incident in which he provides testimony before Congress

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Warren Washington describes working under different presidents

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Warren Washington discusses his thoughts on global warming and meeting Vice President Gore

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Warren Washington recounts his experiences as a mentor and role model

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Warren Washington describes the awards he has received

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Warren Washington describes his most rewarding professional achievement

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Warren Washington considers his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Warren Washington comments on the importance of young people to consider a career in science

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Introduction to Warren Washington's interview

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Warren Washington describes his family background and educational history

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Overview of Warren Washington's family's migration to Portland, their early life there and his interest in science

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Warren Washington talks about his early interest in science and his decision to pursue science in college

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Warren Washington describes his involvement in the youth chapter of the NAACP

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Warren Washington describes his experience at Oregon State University

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Warren Washington talks about studying physics at Oregon State University, and his introduction to the mathematical modeling

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Warren Washington describes his experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Warren Washington talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Warren Washington describes his decision to join the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Warren Washington describes his experience in Boulder, Colorado in the 1960s, and his encounter with journalist, Dan Rather, in 1968

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Warren Washington describes his service on the National Science Board

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Warren Washington talks about working with President George H.W. Bush's administration

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Warren Washington talks about the evolution of computer processing capabilities, and his work on climate models at NCAR

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Warren Washington shares his perspective on the debate on climate change and global warming

Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Overview of Warren Washington's awards and achievements

Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Warren Washington discusses the significance of climate change

Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Warren Washington reflects upon his legacy and how he wants to be remembered