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Allen Sessoms

Physicist and education administrator Allen Lee Sessoms was born in 1946. He attended Union College in New York where he graduated with his B.S. degree in physics in 1968. He then attended the University of Washington, where he obtained his M.S. degree in physics the following year. Sessoms went on to Yale University where he earned his Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree in physics in 1971 and his Ph.D. degree in physics in 1972. Following his graduate school work, Sessoms became a postdoctoral research associate at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) where he wrote computer programs and studied the production of quarks by high-energy protons at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab).

In 1973, Sessoms was hired to work as a scientific associate at the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN), where he researched quarks and similar particles. While at CERN, Sessoms became an assistant professor of physics at Harvard University. Sessoms moved to the U.S. State Department in 1980 as a senior technical advisor for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. From 1982 to 1987, Sessoms served as Director of the Office of Nuclear Technology and Safeguards in the same Bureau before becoming a Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs at the United States Embassy in Paris, France. Sessoms then traveled to Mexico, where he was a Minister-Counsel for Political Affairs at the United States Embassy before serving as its Deputy Chief of Mission, then the largest United States diplomatic mission in the world. In 1993, Sessoms left the United States State Department and began working as executive vice president at the University of Massachusetts system and also became its vice president for academic affairs. Following his time in Massachusetts, Sessoms was named president of Queens College, part of The City University of New York. Sessoms then spent time at Harvard University, first as a visiting scholar and then as a fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and as a lecturer in public policy. From 2003 to 2008, Sessoms served as the ninth president of Delaware State University prior to his appointment as president of the University of the District of Columbia. He is also a consultant to the U.S. intelligence community.

Sessoms has received a Ford Foundation Travel and Study Grant and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He has been bestowed two honorary doctorates from Union College and Soka University in Japan. Sessoms also received the Medal of Highest Honor from Soka University and the Seikyo Culture Award in Japan. In 1999, the Yale University Graduate School Association awarded him the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal and he was named the Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (“Officer of the Order of Academic Palms) in France.

Accession Number

A2012.135

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/13/2012

Last Name

Sessoms

Middle Name

Lee

Schools

Yale University

University of Washington

Union College

First Name

Allen

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SES01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Skiing In Switzerland

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/17/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Physicist and university president Allen Sessoms (1946 - ) served in many areas of the State Department before being hired as president of Delaware State University and the University of the District of Columbia.

Employment

University of the District of Columbia

Delaware State University

Harvard University

Queens College

United States Department of State

United States State Department

European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Bureau of Oceans & International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Favorite Color

Magenta

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Allen Sessoms' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about his mother's migration to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about the African American migration to New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about working at Lincoln Hospital, New York, during high school

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his father's service in the military during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes how his parents met and his father's musical talent

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about attending church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes the apartment where he grew up in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes the neighborhood where he grew up in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his childhood summer activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his father's entrepreneurial activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his musical experience at Walter J. Damrosch Middle School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Walter J. Damrosch Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about his involvement with running track

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about his brother

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Theodore Roosevelt High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about the demographics of Theodore Roosevelt High School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to attend Union College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Brookhaven National Labs

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Union College, in Schenectady, New York - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Union College, in Schenectady, New York - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his father being his hero

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about the reactions to Dr. Martin Luther King's death, and the political climate of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about his decision to return to the east coast to attend Yale University for his doctoral studies

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon race relations in the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about his early days in New Haven, Connecticut in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Yale University, and talks about his first advisor, D. Alan Bromley

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about the poor science preparation at some HBCUs

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his doctoral thesis advisor, Bob Adair

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about his doctoral thesis research on the structure-function of the K meson

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms talks about Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the lessons he learned at Yale University

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Allen Sessoms talks about his post-doctoral experience at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and his opportunity to go to work at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as a scientific associate at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his work in experimental particle physics on the Intersecting Storage Ring Collider (ISR) at CERN

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about science as a global enterprise

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his decision to accept an assistant professorship in the physics department at Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about physicist, Richard Feynman

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at Harvard University, and his interaction with notable scientists and faculty

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience as a Sloan Foundation Fellow, at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA)

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience with racial stereotyping while working at the U.S. State Department

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience while serving as a nuclear science advisor at the U.S. State Department in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about the difference between the Carter and Reagan administrations' approach to nuclear weapons

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about his experience at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environment of Scientific Affairs

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as Counselor for Scientific and Technological Affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms discusses the deficiencies in STEM education in schools today

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in mediating the argument between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier, on the discovery of HIV

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience as the Minister and Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms talks about the importance of US-Mexico relations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms talks about his transition from politics into higher education administration

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his work for the U.S. Foreign Service, and his experience at the University of Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about leaving the University of Massachusetts, and his decision to become the president of Queens College, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks about the long hours that are required to become a successful experimental physicist

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in establishing dormitories on the campus of Queens College, New York, while he was the president

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience in trying to establish a cancer and HIV research center at Queens College, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about the merits of Queens College, and the diverse community of Queens, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms talks about his departure from Queens College, and his decision to return to Harvard University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms describes his experience at the Belford Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, and recollects the 9/11 attack

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms describes his role as president of Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms describes his role in strengthening the football and basketball teams at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his role in increasing funding for Ph.D. programs at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about the shooting tragedy at Delaware State University in 2007

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Allen Sessoms talks about his efforts to increase the diversity of the student body and faculty at Delaware State University

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Allen Sessoms describes the problems faced by the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Allen Sessoms talks his work at the University of the District of Columbia, and the politics in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Allen Sessoms talks about the history, the diverse demographics, and the affordable tuition rates at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Allen Sessoms talks about STEM education efforts at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Allen Sessoms talks about the focus on international studies at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his tenure as the president of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his life's choices

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Allen Sessoms reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Allen Sessoms talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Allen Sessoms talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Allen Sessoms talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Allen Sessoms talks about science as a global enterprise
Allen Sessoms talks about the importance of US-Mexico relations
Transcript
Seemed like I had a note about a French class that you were taking in college or something but is that--?$$Well I--$$You took German, I know that.$$I took German when I was in college. I taught myself French when I was in graduate school because in order to get a Ph.D., actually you had to, in order to be qualified to take a qualifying exam you know you had to be fluent in a second language, more or less fluent and you had to be able to read a third language. So I had English, my German was pretty good, I could read and write in German and I taught myself French so I could read in French. And that allowed me to pass the language qualifying exams so I could actually take the physics qualifying exam so I had the three languages. Nowadays you get by with computer programming or something which is kind of ridiculous but that preparation really was fantastic cause then I went to Geneva and I could speak French. And in two and a half years my French got pretty darn good and it was very helpful to me later on cause then when I joined the foreign service I went to the U.S. embassy in Paris [France], I didn't have to learn French, I knew French. But those things, that's a part of the scientific intellectual environment that I think that's somewhat missing in a lot of places. I mean the language piece is crucial. Science is international by definition. There's nothing that happens here that doesn't happen somewhere else and our collaborators are global. I mean when I was working in Geneva [Switzerland] for example, we had collaborators from thirty countries. When I was working at Yale [University, New Haven, Connecticut], we had collaborators from maybe twp. Now if you're working at the LHC [Large Hadron Collider, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland] you had collaborators from fifty! You know it's just the way it is. If you don't have the language facility and you don't sort of appreciate some of the different cultures you're not going to be successful in those environments because science now is such a global enterprise, certainly the big science of particle physics is that it's really a social enterprise. It's not the scientific enterprise where somebody back in the old days sits at a table with two or three graduate students and does something and those days have been long gone in physics. And you have to be in some sense the social sciences as well you have to understand social dynamics and being broadly cultural allows you to do that.$And the experience in Mexico--Mexico is the most important country in the world to the United States and I say that for a lot of reasons. One is what happens in Mexico happens here. I mean you take a look at what happened with the drug war. I think that reinforcing the border was one of the stupidest things we've done. But worst than that, creating this drug war where you--we do so well with interdicting and freezing assets that these guys who are doing the trafficking can't pay the porters who go through Mexico in cash. So what do they do? Pay them in drugs. And what do they do? They sell the drugs to the kids in Mexico. The whole thing just blows up. It just blew up and that's what we have now. We have this incredible mess on our hands cause nobody thought through the dynamics. What's also true is that if there's a catastrophe in Mexico which is now less and less likely than it used to be, you got 50 million Mexicans crossing the border all at once. What are you going to do about it? Nothing. They're just going to be over there. They're going to cross and that's going to be it. It is in our interest to make Mexico in every way we can a stable, prosperous country, period, cause nobody can affect us like Mexico can affect us, nobody. It's a country of 110 million people. Half the Mexicans, at least when I was there, half of them had U.S. passports or green cards. I mean they have families on both sides of the border. So the idea is to integrate, not to block and we're doing an incredibly bad job of that now. It's just a fiasco and you get this mess. You get--El Paso [Texas] being one of the most murderous places in the world. You got these other places on the border just like Durango [Colorado] and other places. You can't go out at night. You know you got, it's just horrible. It's horrible and that's what we're doing to ourselves.$$Okay.$$You'd never do that in the Canadian border. Why do you think? (Laughter).$$(Laughter). So, any other stories from Mexico? Now, a lot--, I know there are massive protests concerning NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] back in '93 [1993], '94 [1994] I guess.$$There were a lot of protests, I mean I remember when a certain congressman would sneak across the border and try to--with a camera crew show, all the bad stuff that was happening along the border in (unclear) and all the pollution, it's just kind of crazy stuff, and how it was going to take and (unclear) U.S. jobs. Well it turns out that it's produced 2 million jobs in the United States. It's been so successful the cost of labor in Mexico has gone up because of the standard of living going up. So the U.S. companies that were exporting jobs to Mexico are bringing those jobs back to the United States because Mexico is more prosperous and most of the costs of manufacturing a refrigerator for example is in the transportation so if you can manufacture the stuff close to the home and the wages are the same, you save more money. So NAFTA has worked, I mean it just had worked enormously well on the trade side. We need to try to do it more on the social side with--the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] for example for the first time we have, at Division II, agreed to have the Canadian and Mexican universities participate in U.S. intercollegiate athletics. It would have been unthinkable without having some significant integration. But still this is one place. North America is Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, that's North America. I mean it's geographically and culturally the same. Remember the, Mexico used to be Texas too and California, you know New Mexico and we don't seem to appreciate that as much as we should and I think it may have something to do with you know the language and the fact that a lot of these folks are dark skinned. I mean you know just, I don't mean to be pejorative but it's almost always something like that, something stupid. We need to embrace the Mexicans. When I was there we were doing interesting research in the Gulf of Baja, California looking at the--they just discovered these really hot vents at the bottom of the Baja. They would go down and they would find these animals, this fish life, this plant life that lived without sun, period. You know and it was just on the sulfur vents, then we found new kinds of metabolisms just by doing a collaborative research with the Mexicans, volcanic research when you know the Popocatepetl [volcano, Central Mexico] used to pop its cork. The collaborations between us and the Mexicans have been extraordinary and we got to really reinforce that. But it's, we'll see. I mean it's all politics. It's all driven by in some sense a lack of understanding of each other.$$Okay.

Wendell Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2012.226

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/12/2012

Last Name

Hill

Maker Category
Middle Name

T

Occupation
Schools

Peralta Junior High School

Taft Elementary School

Burnside Elementary School

Villa Park High School

University of California, Irvine

Stanford University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Wendell

Birth City, State, Country

Berkeley

HM ID

HIL14

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

California

Favorite Quote

Have fun and be safe.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/21/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Mexican Food, Spicy Food, Fish

Short Description

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

Employment

University of Maryland, College Park

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

University of Colorado

Favorite Color

Los Angeles Dodgers Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$5

DAStory

7$6

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

Sylvester James Gates, Jr.

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2012.143

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/30/2012

Last Name

Gates

Middle Name

James

Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sylvester

Birth City, State, Country

Tampa

HM ID

GAT02

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Florida

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/15/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ham

Short Description

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

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

University of Maryland, College Park

Howard University

Harvard University

California Institute of Technology

Favorite Color

Green

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DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

7$3

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

Stephen McGuire

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2012.187

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/18/2012

Last Name

McGuire

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Craig

Occupation
Schools

Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School

Columbia University

University of California, Los Angeles

Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

University of Rochester

Cornell University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Stephen

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

MCG04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida Keys

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/17/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Tilapia (Grilled), Rice (Brown), Vegetables

Short Description

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

Employment

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Alabama A&M State University

Cornell University

Southern University Baton Rouge

California Institute of Technology

Favorite Color

Gray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

7$1

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

Diola Bagayoko

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

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

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

Diola Bagayoko was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 18, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.186

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/18/2012

Last Name

Bagayoko

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Louisiana State University

Lehigh University

Ecole Normale Superieure de Bamako

Lycee Prosper Kamara

Ecole Fondamentale de N'Tomikorobougou

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Diola

Birth City, State, Country

Bamako

HM ID

BAG02

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Quote

A youngster should be very studious. -translated from Dinka

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/12/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baton Rouge

Country

Mali

Favorite Food

Stew (Peanut Butter), Seafood, Gumbo

Short Description

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

Employment

Southern University

Timbuktu Academy

University of Grayounis

Louisiana State University

Lycee de Sikasso

Favorite Color

Blue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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

Carlos Handy

Physicists Carlos Handy was born on October 18, 1950, in Havana, Cuba, to a Cuban mother and an American father. His grandfather, W.C. Handy, is known as “Father of the Blues.” Growing up in New York City, Handy attended George Washington High School where he was a top math student. In 1972, Handy earned his B.A. degree in physics from Columbia College in New York. He then continued his studies at Columbia university, earning is M.A. degree in physics in 1975, and his Ph.D. degree in theoretical physics in 1978.

From 1978 to 1981, Handy worked as a postdoctoral research associate as Los Alamos national Laboratory focusing on the use of moment representations to relate large scale to local scale features of strong coupling problems. A related approach to this led to Wavelet analysis, as developed by others (i.e. Grossman, Morlet, and Daubechies). In 1983, Handy was hired by Clark Atlanta University as an associate professor of physics. During his time there, he received grant money from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which led to his discovery of the Eigenvalue Method (EMM) technique.

With a second grant from the NSF, Handy established the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems at Clark Atlanta University, a research and student mentoring center. In 2005, Handy left Clark Atlanta University and became the head of the physics department at Texas Southern University where he assumed full responsibility for the development of the physics program.

Throughout his career, Handy published numerous research articles. The most recent of these was an extension of EMM to determining the symmetry breaking regime of an important pseudo-hermitian system, and application to Regge pole scattering analysis in atomic and molecular physics. His professional concerns include the need for modern facilities in physics education as well as students' early mastery of calculus. Handy works in Houston, Texas.

Carlos Handy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.194

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/17/2012

Last Name

Handy

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

R

Schools

Columbia University

George Washington High School

Los Alamos National Laboratory

First Name

Carlos

Birth City, State, Country

Havana

HM ID

HAN04

Favorite Season

May

Favorite Vacation Destination

Costa Rica

Favorite Quote

Greatness comes from within.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/18/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

Cuba

Favorite Food

Condensed Milk, Rice

Short Description

Research physicist and physics professor Carlos Handy (1950 - ) is the founder of the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems at Clark Atlanta University, and the first Physics Department Chair at Texas Southern University.

Employment

Texas Southern University

Clark Atlanta University

AMAF Industries

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carlos Handy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy talks about Cuban patriotism

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy talks about his mother's early life in the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his childhood experiences of going back and forth between the United States and Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy talks about his mother's growing up in Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carlos Handy talks about his grandfather, W.C. Handy, a famous blues musician

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes his memories of his grandfather, W.C. Handy

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy talks about his paternal family's musical talents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy talks about his father's growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy talks about his father's career as a businessman

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes how his parents met and got married

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

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy talks about his siblings and his childhood household

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Carlos Handy describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in New York City and Cuba

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy talks about being brought up by a Cuban mother

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his childhood neighborhood in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes his experience in elementary school and junior high school in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy describes his experience at George Washington High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy talks about representing his high school on the NBC program 'It's Academic'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his freshman year at Columbia University and his work with Martin Gutzwiller at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges that he faced during his freshman year at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his experience as a physics major at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy talks about physicist Martin Gutzwiller

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy talks about his parents' separation and his decision to pursue graduate studies at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes his experience as a first-year Ph.D. student at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges that he faced during his doctoral studies at Columbia University - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges that he faced during his doctoral studies at Columbia University - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes his doctoral dissertation research in the field of gauge theories, at Columbia University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his disappointing experience in the physics department at Columbia University and the lack of mentoring

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy talks about the broad applicability of a doctoral degree, and the problem with stringent expectations in academia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy describes the way he was treated in the physics department at Columbia University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes his work on the moment problem at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes race relations in New Mexico

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy talks about getting married, and moving to AMAF in Baltimore, Maryland, and to Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes his research on the moment problem at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his research collaboration with physicist Daniel Bessis - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes his research collaboration with physicist Daniel Bessis - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy describes his research with Daniel Bessie, on the neutron star problem

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy describes his work with Hermitian operators at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy describes his research at the Center for Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems at Clark Atlanta University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy describes his decision to accept a position at Texas Southern University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy describes his experience as chair of the physics department at Texas Southern University, and the status of HBCUs in the state of Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Carlos Handy describes the demographics of Texas Southern University

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Carlos Handy describes his involvement as chair of the physics department at Texas Southern University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Carlos Handy describes the challenges faced by the physics department at Texas Southern University

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Carlos Handy discusses the graduation rate of African American students in the STEM fields in the Texas university systems

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Carlos Handy reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Carlos Handy reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Carlos Handy describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Carlos Handy talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Carlos Handy talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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Carlos Handy describes his research collaboration with physicist Daniel Bessis - part two
Carlos Handy talks about his mother's early life in the United States
Transcript
So, [Daniel] Bessis [physicist], this is now January of '85 [1985], comes back from his Christmas break. And he says, he says, you know, I tried to, I tried to solve this problem, but I, I couldn't come up with a solution. I said, well, I solved it. He says, what do you mean you solved it? Yeah, I solved it. So I showed him what I did. And his jaw dropped because not only had I solved the problem, I did something else. It turns out--and this is the other irony, it turns that he and Barnsley, a few years before, had tried it--because the method I came up, not just gave you an answer. It gave you an answer in a very special way. I could tell you, I could tell you that the true answer had to be between this number and that number. And depending upon how much I wanted to go, I can make those two shrink, and those are called lower and upper bounds. So I can tell you that the true answer must be between this and this, and I can make this arbitrary type. And they had been looking for a method like that. And, in fact, Barnsley came up with something called the "bathtub," "Barnsley's bathtub theorem" which is really a variation of something called the Barta's Bounds for ener--, for, you know, for eigenvalues, well, it's really for the ground state, the Barta Bounds. But that method can give you estimates, but there's no way to shrink 'em down. I could shrink 'em down, and so Bessis gets very excited because even though that's not what I was looking for, that's what I discovered. And then he says that there's a very famous problem, called the Quadratic Zeeman Effect for super strong magnetic fields. What is means is basically, you know, the earth's, the magnetic field of the earth is like, you know, one gauss or .4 gauss [unit of measurement of a magnetic field]. It's very, very small. But if you go on the neutron star, the magnetic field can be a billion, I mean huge, (unclear) billion gauss, very strong. And so what astronomers wanna do is, they'll measure the energy emitted by these hydrogen-looking atoms, and by doing the spectro-analysis, they can actually measure in magnetic fields. So it's a, you know, it's an involved, it's an inverse process. So if you have, if you have good--if you can accurately measure the energy levels from a hydrogen atom, you can then determine what the strength and magnetic field (unclear) neutron star. So it's an important pract--theoretical and practical problem. But the problem is that, this quadratic Zeeman effect is a strong coupling problem, all right. The boundary layer I think I told you, it's a strong coupling problem. And when people try to solve that problem, they, because the methods are not, they're not robust, they're not accurate enough, they can give answers that vary all over the place. But here I am coming with a solution that can tell you that the, what the true (unclear). There's no uncertainty. So, I remember in '85 [1985] Bessis looking at me, and, and you have to understand Bessis is the first collaboration I ever had in my life, okay, not at Columbia, not at Los Alamos, the first collaboration I ever had in my life. So I remember in '85 [1985] Bessis saying, we wrote a paper, a 'Physics Review Letters'[journal] paper which is the top publication still [C. R. Handy and D. Bessis, `Rapidly Convergent Lower Bounds for the Schrodinger Equation Ground State Energy', 1985].$Okay. Now, when she [Handy's mother, Leonor Maria Cartaya] was raised up, did she have a chance to go to, to finish school?$$Well, she, at the time, she, she--in fact, she met my father, she was, I think, in a doctoral program in pedagogy, but never finished, but she was close to getting a doctorate in education.$$Okay, was she in the United States or in Cuba?$$Well, she, she came on an academic, she came on an excursion in 1947. I guess it was like an academic excursion. She toured Howard University [Washington, District of Columbia], other places like that. And then she fell in love with the United States and stayed behind, rented an apartment and in that building, my father was living with his kids from his first wife. He was a widower.$$Is this in New York?$$In New York City.$$New York City.$$Okay, and little by little, they started a relationship, and, you know, one thing led to another, and they got married in 1950. So or 1949, 'cause I (laughter), heck, so I don't know. They married in 1949 or 1950, but I do know that, that we were, we popped up nine months after (laughter). So--.$$So, they, your mother had moved back to Cuba for a minute, I guess when you were born?$$Yeah, 'cause she taught. She was a school teacher.$$Okay.$$So she would go back and forth. She would fly--my mother hated to fly, and my father never flew. So my mother would fly from Havana [Cuba] to Miami [Florida] and then take either the train or the Greyhound Bus up the East Coast. And I do remember, she would, she, you know, she tells me that the bus driver would tell her, well, you know, you folks in the back. And so she says that on one occasion she said, or the only occasion she said, "Me no speak English," okay, so she stayed put. And my mother was of the character that she would not bow down. You know, she would find a way to (laughter) stay where she wanted to be, so--.$$Okay.

David Garrison

Physicist David Garrison was born on October 27, 1975 in Chicago, Illinois to parents Christine and Millard Garrison, Jr. He has two older siblings, Cassandra Guichard and Michael Garrison. He went to grade school in O’Fallon, Missouri, attending Mount Vernon Elementary School, Fort Zumwalt North Middle School, and Fort Zumwalt North High School. While in high school, he was a jazz soloist in the jazz band. Garrison finished secondary school in 1993, after which he began studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and played on the varsity football team for three years. He received his B.S. degree in physics from there in 1997. That same year he began a doctoral program in physics at Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Pennsylvania State University in 2002.

During graduate school in 1999, he started Fast Financial Analysis with his future wife Rispba McCray-Garrison. The company provides software programs useful in analyzing money metrics. In 2002, he began working for the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) as a visiting assistant professor. A year later, he became a regular assistant professor and began reorganizing the physical sciences program into an actual physics department. The department now has a B.A. degree in physics, a M.S. degree in physics, a collaborative Ph.D. degree in physics with the University of Houston, and a P.S.M. degree in physics with a sub-plan in technical management. With these degrees programs, Garrison has been able to attract students better qualified to help with his research in numerical relativity, cosmology, computational physics, and plasma physics. In addition to research at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, he has also worked in collaboration on many projects with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, including a project for the development of a plasma rocket engine. In 2003, Garrison became the faculty chair of the physics program and began the UHCL Physics and Space Science Guest Lecture Series. He has also served terms on university bodies such as the Planning and Budget Committee, the Faculty Senate, University Council, and the Academic Council.

In 2002, Garrison married Rispba McCray-Garrison on December 28. In 2012, he became an advisory board member for the Space Center Houston and published What Every Successful Physics Graduate Student Should Know.
David Garrison was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 15, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.199

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/15/2012

Last Name

Garrison

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Pennsylvania State University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Fort Zumwalt North High School

Fort Zumwalt North Middle School

Mount Vernon Elementary

Mount Hope Elementary

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GAR03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

If We Knew What We Are Doing, We Wouldn't Call It Research, Would We?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/27/1975

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

USA

Short Description

Physicist and physics professor David Garrison (1975 - ) is a physicist who began teaching physics at the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2002, where he is the physics program founder and faculty chair of the department.

Employment

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Fast Financial Analysis

Pennsylvania State University

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:2490,41:3300,55:5163,92:9537,209:13587,294:14316,311:26267,437:27482,457:27887,463:28211,468:31046,531:31451,537:44518,661:44854,666:47374,726:47794,732:54495,828:55132,833:57043,864:57589,871:65708,948:89994,1250:90282,1255:90570,1260:91002,1267:91434,1274:91938,1282:92226,1287:96100,1346:96850,1357:97900,1402:98875,1461:117030,1710:117830,1721:119110,1757:121190,1805:124690,1825:125810,1874:134655,1919:135180,1937:138540,2018:139065,2024:139590,2030:147155,2101:148175,2116:149620,2138:149960,2143:151575,2169:156070,2219:156758,2228:159166,2263:161746,2306:166820,2397:173305,2450:173730,2456:174835,2473:181840,2562$0,0:7332,105:12126,158:17196,181:18364,198:18948,208:19459,216:20992,240:21503,248:24656,265:25244,274:25580,279:26168,290:26924,300:29640,319:29976,326:30256,334:30760,344:33665,377:33925,382:34445,394:35095,405:35550,415:36785,442:37435,455:37695,460:38865,485:39320,493:39840,503:40360,514:44365,536:44745,541:45790,553:46170,558:48291,580:48615,585:53656,641:55224,661:57968,703:59046,715:59830,725:62840,737:63830,743:64202,748:65039,758:66341,776:66899,783:68201,802:68573,807:71750,818:72206,826:72719,836:72947,841:73517,853:75740,903:78020,954:81418,993:82098,1013:86419,1083:87175,1108:87427,1114:88624,1140:89128,1149:91908,1185:92584,1199:93416,1212:94092,1226:94352,1232:94560,1237:95930,1243:96498,1256:96924,1263:98344,1289:99409,1311:99977,1338:100758,1350:104628,1388:104900,1393:105308,1400:106750,1412:107542,1427:108334,1444:108622,1449:109270,1463:111702,1480:112854,1497:113526,1504:114774,1519:116886,1542:117558,1550:120610,1564:121585,1580:121885,1585:122485,1594:123085,1599:123610,1607:124510,1621:127250,1651:128174,1667:128510,1672:129740,1678:130389,1692:131215,1716:133516,1772:137005,1792:139555,1838:141055,1860:141730,1872:142105,1883:143005,1897:143680,1909:146080,1960:146455,1966:152140,1999:157835,2053:164304,2096:167458,2128:169872,2153:170282,2159:171020,2172:171676,2181:172086,2187:172496,2193:173070,2201:173480,2207:173890,2213:174218,2218:176667,2232:181590,2307:182094,2315:183606,2341:184398,2356:184902,2365:185478,2374:185982,2382:186630,2394:189725,2415:190697,2434:191426,2445:192560,2483:194933,2498:195257,2504:196715,2533:197039,2538:197687,2547:198659,2565:200441,2610:205710,2652
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Garrison's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Garrison lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Garrison describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Garrison describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about his father's experience in the Army and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Garrison describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Garrison describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Garrison describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about he and his sibling's transition to Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about his high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about graduating from high school and his decision to attend MIT

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his experience at MIT

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about his peers, professors and the academic environment at MIT

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about computers and emerging technologies during his college years

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his decision to attend Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Garrison talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about his company, Fast Financial Analysis

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his experience at Pennsylvania State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about his doctoral advisors

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Garrison describes his dissertation on binary black hole codes

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his decision to join the University of Houston, Clear Lake

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Garrison talks about his work at the University of Houston, Clear Lake (part 1)

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Garrison talks about his work at the University of Houston, Clear Lake (part 2)

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about the distinguished lecture series at the University of Houston, Clear Lake

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about his publication on cosmology

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his professional activities with UHCL and the Space Center Houston

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Garrison talks about his book and journal publications

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Garrison talks about his colleagues at the University of Houston, Clear Lake

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his future plans and the challenges he sees in higher education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about his interest in physics

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Garrison talks about the challenges with physics education at the university level

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Garrison talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Garrison reflects on his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Garrison reflects on his life choices

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Garrison talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David Garrison reflects on his career

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David Garrison talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David Garrison describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
David Garrison talks about computers and emerging technologies during his college years
David Garrison talks about his doctoral advisors
Transcript
And it was, it was fascinating, and then also, this is also when the dot.com revolution was going on or at least getting started 'cause when I started at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology], I'd never really, I learned a little bit of computer programming from my cousin. You know, he taught me how to program on a Commodore Vic 20. And it was basically one of those things where we had the cassette tapes that would store the programs to get, it could take hours for it to load and everything. And I hadn't really, I'd never heard of the Internet. I hadn't been on a modern computer. And then I got to MIT, and we were using, you know, high-level Unix machines. I hadn't even used a PC, and we were already at, using Unix and learning about the Internet, the world-wide web and being able to do stuff on it. And then also, when I was working on my senior thesis, I ended up kind of getting involved in this computational project to simulate the gravitational lens on un-lensed images. And the idea was could I, could--is it possible to train a computer to just look at the sky and figure out where the gravitational lenses are without having a human astronomer have to go through and do it by hand. And so I was given this piece of code that really wasn't working very well. And over time, I improved on it, I optimized it and everything else. And then I made the kind of discovery that, I didn't even have to go into the lab to do this. I could actually be at home on my computer and 24 hours a day, as long as I had access to the Internet, I could go and I could change the code. I could rerun it. I could do whatever I needed to do without going into the lab. So that was part of my motivation from there on out, was the laziness that I could just have this total freedom to do science, but that I would, didn't have to be in a certain place at a certain time to do it.$$Now, do you remember when you got your first computer?$$I bought a computer when I first got to MIT, and they had a, an Apple store downstairs in the student center. And I bought an Apple, and the main reason why was because when I was in high school, I took a computer class, and we learned how to use, you know, basic computer stuff on, on Apples, and they were Macintosh SE's. I actually have one in my office now. And it was, you know, they were incredibly primitive compared to what we have today. But that's what kind of started. And then I never really liked the PC's much. But I, I learned how to use the Apples and I just stick with them since then.$Okay, now, who was your advisor at Kent State?$$I had two advisors--$$Penn State.$$--Jorge Pullen was my primary advisor, and my secondary advisor was Pueblo Laguna. And Jorge was interested in, I think his primary interest was in quantum gravity more so. But he also did some stuff with numerical relativity. I was pretty much in numerical relativity. And like I said, at some point in my scientific career, I think the older scientists just decided that they wanted to stick the younger people in front of a computer. And I felt more comfortable with that. And Pueblo was more focused on the numerical relativity aspect. So we'd, I learned how to, you know, run code on Super Computers and the interesting thing was that at the time, most computers were single-core, single processor. And we were running on dozens, sometimes even hundreds of processors at once. And so we had a, a skill for running multi-processor or writing multi-processor programs before anybody even knew that that was gonna be a major need.$$So you'd have them networked and--$$Yeah, oh, yeah, they were networked, and, you know, they were--we'd use Super Computer architectures. And then we started experimenting with Beowulf architectures where they were, they weren't shared memory. And then so each processor had its own memory, and they'd have to communicate with each other. And so we got to do some really interesting research. And also Penn State, even though it was isolated, at the time, it was the United States premier center for gravitation physics research. So anybody who had done anything with general relativity or cosmology passed through Penn State. And the only other center in the world that was anywhere close to as big as what we were doing was in Pottstown, Germany. And so we talked to them. But we had, pretty much any, anybody who was a big name in the field or a potential big name in the field, passed through there, like Shawn Carroll or Scott Hughes, or, let's see, one of my mentors there was Lee Smolin who's now one of the big people at the Perimeter Institute. And we also had, we didn't meet Steven Hawking, but we did meet Roger Penrose. He actually would spend several weeks every year there at Penn State and was one of, and had a joint faculty appointment. And so we were getting seminars from world-class people, and we knew the absolute cutting edge of the research. And so we were in this just, within our department, we were in this kind of a bubble of, you know, absolutely, top-of-the-line, best research going on. And we knew anything going on in the field, just by walking up the hall and talking to people.

Conrad Williams

Physicist and physics professor Conrad Williams was born on March 1, 1936 in Warsaw, North Carolina. Williams grew up on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and as a seven year. Williams had a strong interest in science, and his mentor, a geology curator for the Museum of Natural History, taught him about rocks and rock formations. Williams graduated from Spingarn Senior High School in 1954 and then earned his B.S. degree from Morgan State University in 1958. In 1960, Williams joined the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) as a solid state physicist. He continued to work at the Naval Research Laboratory while earning his M.S. degree in physics from Howard University. He also received his Ph.D. degree in physics from Howard University in 1971 under the guidance of Dr. Arthur N. Thorpe and Dr. Albert I. Schindler (NRL).

Williams worked at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory for thirty one years. In 1980, he resigned and joined the National Science Foundation as program director of the college and university faculty programs; and, in 1981, became the associate program director for condensed matter physics and superconductivity. In 1983, he returned to NRL and retired in 1993 as the head of the Applied Magnetics Section. In 1993, Williams joined the faculty of Morgan State University as a physics professor. During his tenure, he made significant contributions to the development of the research infrastructure, particularly in the area of condensed mater physics.

Williams made significant contributions to the field of magnetism and magnetic materials for over five decades. His research interests centered on the physical properties of magnetism in unique compounds, such as magnetic anisotropy, magnetostriction and magnetization. Williams designed and constructed the world’s first low temperature 6-Tesla high field torque magnetometer that was instrumental in developing the theory and experimental verification of the magnetic properties of novel rare earth intermetallic compounds. Many of these materials are utilized in parts of the U.S. Navy’s fleet as well as other applications.

Williams has received several awards, including the Naval Research Laboratory’s prestigious Sigma Xi Award for Pure Science in 1977 for his research in establishing origin of the magnetic anisotropy energy of rare earth laves phase compounds. He was named a “Giant in Science,” by the Quality Education for Minorities in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Network. Williams is also a fellow of the American Physical Society and the National Society of Black Physicists. Williams has been a distinguished invited professor and/or scientist at many institutions that include: the Indian Institute of Technology, Howard University, the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University. He has served on many national and international committees which include the Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, appointed by the Secretary of Energy; the National Science Foundation's Materials Research Advisory Committee; the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), appointed by the Secretary of State; and the NSF Advisory Panel on Scientific Opportunities in High Magnetic Field Research, which served as the basis for the National High Field Magnetic Laboratory in Tallahassee, Flordia.

Conrad Williams was interviewed by The History makers on July 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.142

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/17/2012

8/29/2012

Last Name

Williams

Marital Status

Married

Schools

Lovejoy Elementary School

Brown Junior High School

Spingarn STAY High School

Morgan State University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Conrad

Birth City, State, Country

Warsaw

HM ID

WIL59

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Thailand, Malaysia

Favorite Quote

You Know.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/1/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fish, Yogurt

Short Description

Physicist and physics professor Conrad Williams (1936 - ) was a leader in magnetic research at the United States Naval Research Laboratory and at Morgan State University.

Employment

Morgan State University

Naval Research Laboratory

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Indian Institute of Technology

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Conrad Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams talks about his mother's life in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Conrad Williams describes his father's upbringing in Kenansville, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Conrad Williams talks about his parents' meeting and their separation

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams talks about visiting his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up (part one)

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up (part two)

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Conrad Williams continues to describe his childhood experiences in Washington D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Conrad Williams describes his experience in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams talks about his childhood role models, George Coleman and Charley Johnson

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams describes his interests in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his experience as an amateur radio operator

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams describes how radios work

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams talks about his mother's place of employment

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Conrad Williams describes his interest in music

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Conrad Williams describes his decision to attend Morgan College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Conrad Williams describes his first week at Morgan College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Conrad Williams describes his experience at Morgan College and his relationship with Dr. Julius Taylor

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams talks about his professors at Morgan College [now Morgan State University]

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams describes Sputnik's influence on the U.S. scientific community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his decision to work at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams describes his dissertation research on the effects of charged particle irradiation on the magnetic anisotropy of iron-nickel alloy films

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams describes his experience earning a Ph.D. at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Conrad Williams describes his relationship with Dr. Norman Coon

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Conrad Williams describes how cordless machines were invented

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Conrad Williams talks about intellectual property rights of research

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Conrad Williams talks about Dr. Norman Coon's death

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Conrad Williams talks about how he met his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams describes his approach to problem-solving

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams describes his experience at the National Science Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams talks about returning to the Naval Research Laboratory in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams describes his most significant research contributions in condensed matter physics

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams talks about his experience as a faculty member at Morgan State University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams talks about the importance of recruiting faculty with diverse professional experiences

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams talks about his research on exchange and spin spring materials and ferra-fluids

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his ongoing research projects

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams talks about the lack of analytical thinking among students in science

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams reflects upon the lessons from his childhood

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Conrad Williams reflects upon his legacy

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

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams talks about church and the role of religion in his life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams reflects upon being taped by The HistoryMakers

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams displays his Hall of Fame watch

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Conrad Williams' interview

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Conrad Williams describes his visiting professorships

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Conrad Williams describes his service on the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of Energy

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Conrad Williams describes his service on the UNESCO committee in the 1980s

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Conrad Williams describes his service on the National Science Foundation Advisory Panel on Scientific Opportunities and High Magnetic Field Research

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Conrad Williams describes his interest in electric vehicles

DASession

2$1

DATape

8$4

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Conrad Williams describes his service on the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of Energy
Conrad Williams describes his dissertation research on the effects of charged particle irradiation on the magnetic anisotropy of iron-nickel alloy films
Transcript
Now, we also discussed some of your synergetic, synergistic activities, committees and such. Now, you served on many national and international committees, sir, and one is the Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee--$$Yes, well, the Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee is short and known as, it's known as BSAC. I sat on that committee for about, about four years or maybe a little longer if I can recall. And that committee was, I guess, designed to review the, the activities that were going on at the national laboratories in the area of basic engineering basic energy sciences. And I was appointed to that committee by the Secretary of Energy at that time. And most, those organizations and the DOD [department of Defense] laboratories that were doing basic energy science, such as Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkley, Oak Ridge, Argonne, Brookhaven, whereas I could go down the list, and Oak Ridge, I guess--I think I said that one. But those, well, the directors of those laboratories would come to this meeting, bring, I guess, their top scientists to tell us a little about the programs that they were doing that had technological interests and where there was perhaps opportunities for scientific breakthrough. It was very interesting, you know. I always liked to go to those meetings largely because of the fact that, you know, it's better than going to the library (laughter). You know, and somebody is coming to tell you about the science that's going on, current science that's being done, and you get an education in addition to an opportunity to make recommendations as to, you know, directions and other synergistic programs that they should, they might want to consider. So that was the essence of that committee. I think, I can't name all the laboratories that came before that committee, but it was an honor to sit there. It was--$$Okay. Are there any, I don't know if I should even ask this, but are there any stories that come out of this long association with the National Science Foundation committee?$$So, what do you mean, about the Basic Energy Science Advisory Committee?$$Yeah.$$Yeah, yeah, well, you know, some of them would probably not be repeatable at this point (laughter). You know, since we, since there's no, you know, eraser on this tape (laughter).$$No, but I guess we could ask this. Was there ever a time when, you know, a project came across?$$Well, it was, it was good. There were two African Americans on the committee. It was myself and then there was, oh, I can't think of her name right now. But she was just recently the, stepped down as the president of Norfolk State [University, Norfolk, Virginia]. It'll come to me before the end. And it was good to be at the table as African Americans. At least, I could give an African American point of view or a, a particular as it's relating to the funding in some instances of, of what kind of programs, from the HBCUs [historically black colleges and universities] that could be integrated into their funding scheme, yeah.$$Okay.$Okay. Now, what was your dissertation about?$$(Laughter) Sounds like all those papers I've written, yeah. What was the title of that? 'The Effects of Neutron Irradiation or Charge Particle Irradiation on the Magnetic Anisotropy of Iron-Nickel Alloy Films'.$$Okay, now, is there a way to break that down for the uninitiated?$$Yes, I guess, well, basically, it was a short--if you have iron and nickel, right, they're atoms, okay. And you have them in a matrix, in a material, okay. Well, they wanna form, I mean they have certain sides that they like to lie on within the symmetry of the lattice, an iron atom here, maybe a nickel atom here, an iron atom here, maybe a nickel atom here. But they're not necessarily ordered. They could be random on the sides. But the magnetic properties, the magnetization or the easy direction of magnetization which as we would call, the anisotropic axis, you know, the axis that is easier to--, you apply a magnetic field, all the spins will point in that direction. It depends upon where they're located and how they interact with one another. So the idea was that if you can somehow change the arrangement of these atoms under some force, some magnetic force, such that they all aligned in one direction, then we could say that that's the easy direction of magnetization. So if we apply a field in that direction, all the spins are just spun in that direction so they're gonna point that way. And we get a large signal, okay, whereas if we applied it perpendicular, it's harder to rotate the spins in that direction because we've already frozen them in, in this direction. So that's called anisotropy, that is, this direction is easier, this direction is harder. So if it were easy all over, in other words, if all the directions were randomly easy, that would be an isotropic situation. So by applying a--so one way you can get the atoms to move is, you put 'em in a magnetic field, okay. And then you knock 'em around with maybe charged particles from a Van de Graaff accelerator or just neutrons. And so the atoms will move. You know, you hit 'em, they're gonna move. They're gonna go to an equilibrium position. But now this new equilibrium position is determined by the direction of the magnetic field. So you're gonna find that most of the spins, the short-range, directional order of these iron-iron pairs, nickel-nickel pairs will be in the direction of that magnetic field. Now, you say well, I mean why can't I just heat this sample up and have the atoms randomly moving. But then you lose the dipole-dipole interaction, that is, the spins aren't as strong. You lose the magnetization if you heat it too high. But if you bombard these things with charged particles, then it's so fast that you don't raise the temperature to get rid of the magnetization. And you, and that is a, that is the vehicle for aligning the dipole moments. That was the essence of my thesis.$$Okay, all right.$$But, but for a master's thesis--, you see I designed and built the apparatus to, to measure these effects. And, you know, such as vibrating sample, magnetometer and a torque magnetometer because I had the electronic background to do that. And, and we got a lot of mileage, the branch got--we got a lot of mileage out of those instruments.$$Okay. So, this is, so you got your master's degree in 1960, is it '65 [1965]?$$'65 [1965], yes.$$'65 [1965], okay.

Keith Jackson

Physicist Keith Hunter Jackson was born on September 24, 1953 in Columbus, Ohio to Gloria and Russell Jackson. He earned two B.S. degrees, one in physics from Morehouse College and one in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Jackson then moved to California where he obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in 1979 and 1982, respectively.

After obtaining his graduate degrees, Jackson began working for Hewlett Packard Laboratories. He became a member of the Gate Dielectric group and developed techniques to create thin nitride films on silicon layers. In 1983, he served as a professor at Howard University, working in the Solid State Electronics group. Beginning in 1988, Jackson worked for Rockwell International (now Boeing) in the Rocketdyne division where under the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program he performed research on diamond thin films, high powered chemical and Free Electron Lasers (FEL) and water-cooled optics. In 1992, Jackson began working for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as associate director of the Center for X-Ray Optics (CXRO). His research interests were in the Extreme Ultra-Violet (EVU) lithography, x-ray lithography, electroplating and injection molding. EUV lithography is the technology, which is used to build billions of nano-sized devices for use in computers and cell phones. X-ray lithography and molding is used to build micro-sized mechanical devices like micropumps, and tiny mirrors for large screen projection TV’s. In 2005, Jackson became Vice President of Research and Professor of Physics at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). On January 4th 2010, Jackson moved to Baltimore, Maryland and joined the faculty of Morgan State University as Chair of the Department of Physics.

Jackson served as president of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) from 2001 to 2006. He is also a fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists and the African Scientific Institute. In 2004, Jackson was selected as one of the 50 Most Important African Americans in Technology by U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology. In addition to his published papers, Jackson has written pieces on minority physicists including “Utilization of African American Physicists in the Science & Engineering Workforce” and “The Status of the African American Physicist in the Department of Energy National Laboratories.”

Accession Number

A2012.140

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/16/2012

9/10/2012

Last Name

Jackson

Middle Name

H.

Schools

Morehouse College

Georgia Institute of Technology

Stanford University

First Name

Keith

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

JAC29

Favorite Season

April

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

In Physics, We Don't Teach You What To Think. We Teach You How To Think.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/24/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Oranges

Short Description

Physicist and physics professor Keith Jackson (1953 - ) served as president of the National Society of Black Physicists, vice president of research at Florida A&M University and chair of the Department of Physics at Morgan State University.

Employment

Morgan State University

Florida A&M University

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)

Rockwell International

Howard University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Keith Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his mother's experience growing up in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson talks about his mother attending Ohio State University

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Keith Jackson describes his father's service in the U.S. Air Force and his experience at Harvard Law School in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his father's death in 1957

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes how his parents met and got married

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

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson recalls his memories of his father

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson talks about his brother, and describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes the sights, smells and sounds of growing up in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Keith Jackson describes segregation in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Keith Jackson describes his experience in school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Keith Jackson describes his interest in comic books and Estes model rockets

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his childhood perception of the space race

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson talks about his secular upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson talks about his brother, David Jackson, and his childhood interest in slot cars

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes how slot cars work

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson talks about his technical problem-solving skills as a teenager - part one

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson talks about his technical problem-solving skills as a teenager - part two

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Keith Jackson describes his experience attending Champion Junior High School and Bishop Hartley Catholic School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his mother's reasons for sending him to Bishop Hartley Catholic School

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Bishop Hartley Catholic School in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Eastmoor High School in Columbus, Ohio - part one

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Eastmoor High School in Columbus, Ohio - part two

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson talks about the activism of Dr. Charles O. Ross at Ohio State University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson talks about applying to colleges in the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to attend Morehouse College to major in physics

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson talks about Carl Spight's role in improving the physics department at Morehouse College - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson talks about Carl Spight's role in improving the physics department at Morehouse College - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Morehouse College - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Morehouse College - part two

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson talks about the physics department at Morehouse College

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson talks about his foundational education in physics at Morehouse College

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson talks about black professional societies in the 1970s, and the trends regarding black scientists at the time

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson discusses science education at historically black colleges and universities - part one

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson discusses science education at historically black colleges and universities - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson discusses the importance of a foundational education for physics and engineering students

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson discusses recent discoveries and trends in the physical sciences and technology

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes the Higgs boson and the implications of its discovery - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes the Higgs boson and the implications of its discovery - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his experience as a graduate student at Stanford University - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his experience as a graduate student at Stanford University - part two

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to work at Stanford University's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his doctoral research at Stanford University's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his doctoral research at Stanford University's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory - part two

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his doctoral research at Stanford University's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory - part three

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson talks about the dangers of working with lasers

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to join the department of electrical engineering at Howard University

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to leave Howard University and accept a position at Rocketdyne

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his work on the free electron laser at Rocketdyne

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his work on diamond thin films at Rocketdyne - part one

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his work on diamond thin films at Rocketdyne - part two

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his work on the application of Rocketdyne's water-cooler mirrors in the synchrotron radiation community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes the importance of finding the correct match in employment

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to join Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1992 - part one

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to join Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1992 - part two

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes the concept of Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his work on Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson discusses the futuristic projects at Rockwell International's Advance Programs division

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) - part one

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) - part two

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson discusses the lack of African American professional physicists at laboratories funded by the Department of Energy - part one

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson discusses the lack of African American professional physicists at laboratories funded by the Department of Energy - part two

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson talks about what it takes to become a successful physicist

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson talks about the shortage of African American scientists in management and research roles

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson talks about the African American scientists employed at Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAEOHE) - part one

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAEOHE) - part two

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to become a professor of physics at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his experience working at Florida A&M University, and the nature of the U.S. federal granting process

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes the mismanagement of research funds at Florida A&M University in the early 2000s - part one

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes the mismanagement of research funds at Florida A&M University in the early 2000s - part two

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes the state of research funding at Florida A&M University

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement in securing research funding for Florida A&M University - part one

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement in securing research funding for Florida A&M University - part two

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson describes his involvement in securing research funding for Florida A&M University - part three

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson describes his experience at Florida A&M University

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson describes his decision to leave Florida A&M University

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson describes the challenges to science education at HBCUs - part one

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Keith Jackson describes the challenges to science education at HBCUs - part two

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Keith Jackson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Keith Jackson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Keith Jackson reflects upon his career choices

Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Keith Jackson talks about his family

Tape: 15 Story: 3 - Keith Jackson talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

2$1

DATape

9$8

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Keith Jackson describes his work on the application of Rocketdyne's water-cooler mirrors in the synchrotron radiation community
Keith Jackson describes his doctoral research at Stanford University's Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory - part three
Transcript
About this time, there was, I made a reintroduction to the synchrotron light source community because we had, the company [Rocketdyne; rocket engine design and production company] had a contract or thought that they were competing for a contract to build a large free-electron laser. And this was a half billion dollar contract. A lot of effort went into it, and eventually, the [U.S.] Air Force decided that they weren't gonna go for it. They weren't gonna build this huge free electron laser to take out satellites because they didn't believe--I mean take out missiles because they didn't believe it would work, which left us with a number of technologies. One was the, one was, had to do with particle accelerators and magnetic structures called undulators that go around them. And it also left us with a division that built cooled mirrors, water-cooled mirrors, okay.$$What--okay.$$So you'd have a water-cooled mirror for the laser. That way you'd be able to keep the temperature rise at the surface, and the optics wouldn't distort and the laser would keep running. Now, the trouble is, when you looked at this, well, who else needed these kinds of technologies, you know? Who, who could, who had the pocketbook to pay for this and the technical need. And I argued within the company that the synchrotron radiations community needed these kinds of optics because the advance photon source at the Argonne National Lab [Illinois] was coming on line, and also the advance light source at Berkeley [Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California] was coming on line. And when you looked--these were sources that were built for these small-cap, magnetic insertion devices called undulators. And when you put these undulators into being, they pulled out a tremendous amount of light at x-ray wavelength, at EUV [extreme ultra violet], and x-ray wavelengths. And they would, and when you had optics on there, they would build a tremendous amount, there would be a tremendous amount of thermo loading on the mirrors. And they had various schemes, technologies that they had developed that were, that relied on very exotic cooling techniques. One was a liquid gallium cooled mirrors. So gallium like mercury is a liquid, not quite at room temperature, but add a little bit above. And you have the, you can pump it as you would any liquid, and it has a tremendous thermo-conductivity. And so there was one scheme where you would use this to cool a mirror. Now, I never, the reason I smile is, I never believed that that would work. And the people at the Advanced Photon Source at the time said that something like 90 percent of their mirrors would be these gallium-based things. And this is, and plus, they did not have the technology--they would have to build the mirrors. That's how they, because that's why it was gonna be 90 percent of it so they would have a job for life. But, you know, we had a company, a little company that actually built these mirrors, these water-cooled mirrors. We had prototypes, we had some of the--Rocketdyne solved these technical problems like how you bond these mirrors together, how you actually, you had, we had different types of 'em, some of 'em which had, we called 'em pinFET. That means you stuck little pins in, and then you put it on top, and then you blow water through it. And you can change the size of this pin. You could change the concentration of the pins. So we needed something, one area cooler than the other. There were even schemes for being able to use the thermo differences to bend and focus mirrors, which was unheard of at these wavelengths.$But, so anyway, so we engineered an apparatus after we looked at the requirements, okay. So we have to have a window, something that shows us from the storage ring. And so we have to use a thin film metal window. Then the issue was, well, if you vent your chamber, you let it up to air, if there's atmospheric pressure there, it's gonna break through this window. I said, well, we're not, I'm naive and I say, well, we're not gonna let it vent. And they say, well, what we're gonna have is we're gonna have a fine. Anybody who vents their chambers, $10,000. And I said, well, maybe we'll get a thicker window. So I started to look into getting windows thick enough to take atmospheric pressure--and by the way, these foils are about a hundred times thinner than a sheet of aluminum foil. A sheet of aluminum foil is a hundred microns thick. These films, these foils were ten microns thick. Your hair is 125 microns thick. And it soon became clear, well, there's no foil on earth that's gonna be thin enough that I could put in there. So I, then I looked at supported films. And so there's a mesh there, and somehow, this guy miraculously gets aluminum foil on there that's three microns thick. And I say, well, that's still not gonna support this thing if I vent. And so the senior graduate student said--he wants to graduate. And so he's saying, well, we're gonna go back to the first suggestion of not venting the chamber and use the reputation of Dr. [Richard] Zare [Jackson's doctoral thesis advisor] and the desire that they had to get other people using this thing. And so we tried that, once. And this graduate student I was working for was from India. His name is Javed Hus--well, his ancestry is Indian. I don't think he was, I think he was born in the United States. And so we're running an experiment, and he's putting these things in, noxious gases. And I'm saying, well, Javed, you know, we don't really have the equipment to be handling this. And so we're doing that. We're getting some data, and the people come up there and inspect our apparatus. And we complete the experiment, and as I'm taking the thing down 'cause I was the only one authorized to use the crane, all right, the director of operations comes over to me. And I'll never forget, he says, well, Jackson, you're okay, but we don't want this Indian guy here anymore. And you need to go tell Zare. And in the meantime, 'cause I'm thinking, boy, you know, here I gotta go play, I gotta play rat. And in the meantime, he's getting impatient 'cause he wants to graduate. He's been there seven years, and he's not such a great experimentalist, all right. So he's starting an experiment in the lab using a laser and it's a gas laser, and he's got the gas plumb to it. And he got impatient and he didn't hook up the gas properly. So he took a big cylinder--and normally, you have a regulator that drops the pressure, he built an adapter where he was taking the straight pressure from the cylinder, with just some plastic tubing. And it's a low-pressure cylinder, but, no way. And the gas reacted with the plastic, burned away and the gas pours out into the room. The gas is poisonous. The other fifteen members of the group exit, you know, the lab, and they're out on the lawn. I came into the building from the back. I didn't see 'em. I come into the elevator. I go down into the lab. We're in the basement. And I opened the door and it was like a fist struck me from the gas that was in there. Happily, there was a graduate student, no, a post-doc that was there that was there with a gas mask or he made a gas mask. And he helped me back in the elevator, and we got up to the lawn where I was sitting up there coughing away. And after I regained my composure, I conveyed to Dr. Zare what the operations director said, and agreed with him (laughter). He's gotta go, you know. And then he got tremendous flack from the chemistry department and the university for the accident down there. And therefore, I, you know, that's where he worked out another experiment for the student to do, and I got to take over the experiment and, eventually got another assistant; engineered a system, a safety system that would shut two valves to protect the accelerator, sensor mat to go with it, utilized a new species of pump, turbo-molecular pump, to evacuate the chamber, all first for there, initiated collaborations with another scientist, David Shirley, director of Lawrence Berkeley [National] Laboratory [Berkeley, California], to get some experiments going, why this stuff was being built. And then got it, and did the experiment, did it on two gases, well, I did it on three gases, published the thesis on two, CO [carbon monoxide] and N2 [nitrogen] and was, you know, able to demonstrate for one of the first measurements, first that the alignment actually exist, what its value was, how to--the theory for coupling together the angular momentum so that it agrees with the experimental results and published that. That was my thesis. And then took a job in, at Hewett Packard [HP] in the semi-conductor device laboratory.

Steven Richardson

Physicist and engineering professor Steven L. Richardson was born on July 22, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York. His father, Edward Alfred Richardson, was a subway conductor and his mother, Juanita Pearl Richardson, was a nurse. Richardson excelled in academics and pursued his interests in literature, science and mathematics at Brooklyn Preparatory High School. He attended Columbia University where he studied chemistry on a National Achievement Scholarship. He received advanced degrees from The Ohio State University: his M.S. degree in physics in 1981 and his Ph.D. degree in theoretical condensed matter physics in 1983. During his graduate studies, he was an International Business Machines (IBM) Minority Graduate Fellow and a Xerox Graduate Fellow. At Xerox, he discovered a new semiconductor surface for Gallium arsenide (GaAs), which he included in his Ph.D. dissertation.

Following graduation, Richardson was a Chancellor's Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and in 1985, he was a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 1986, Richardson was hired to work at Eastman Kodak Company as a senior research scientist in the Solid State Science Laboratories. From 1987 to 1988, he took a temporary leave from Kodak to serve as program director for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Condensed Matter Theory Program. In 1989, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Howard University as an associate professor and associate director of the Materials Science Research Center of Excellence. In 1995, Richardson was promoted to full professor. From 1997 to 2011, he served as a summer faculty fellow with the United States Navy-American Society for Engineering Education’s Summer Faculty Program at the Naval Research Laboratory. Richardson's research utilized supercomputers to calculate the structural, electronic and vibrational properties of molecules. His research has been supported by many public institutions including, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation.

Richardson is a member of the American Physical Society, American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received the National Science Foundation Career Advancement Award and served as a Distinguished Sigma Xi National Lecturer. Richardson works in Washington, D.C.

Steven Richardson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 14, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.151

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/14/2012

Last Name

Richardson

Schools

The Ohio State University

Brooklyn Preparatory High School

Columbia University

First Name

Steven

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

RIC17

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Do only what you can do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/22/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Paella

Short Description

Physicist and engineering professor Steven Richardson (1953 - ) is an expert on the subject of condensed matter physics and serves as a professor at Howard University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Employment

Howard University

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Eastman Kodak Company

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Steven Richardson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Steven Richardson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Steven Richardson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Steven Richardson talks about his maternal family's migration to Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Steven Richardson talks about his mother's decision to move to New York to study nursing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Steven Richardson talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Steven Richardson talks about his father's growing up in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Steven Richardson talks about his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Steven Richardson talks about his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Steven Richardson talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Steven Richardson talks about living in the projects during his early childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Steven Richardson talks about the stigma associated with the projects, and reflects upon his experience growing up in the Breevort Projects in New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Steven Richardson describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Steven Richardson talks about his mother's education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Steven Richardson talks about his parents' decision to enroll him in Catholic school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Steven Richardson talks about the disciplinary tactics of the nuns at Catholic schools

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Steven Richardson talks about his experience and his favorite teachers at Holy Rosary Grammar School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Steven Richardson talks about his decision to attend Brooklyn Preparatory High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Steven Richardson talks about the absence of black role models in the STEM fields, during his growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Steven Richardson talks about his decision to apply to Columbia University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Steven Richardson reflects upon his experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Steven Richardson talks about his academic struggles at Columbia University, the cultural scene in New York, and his interest in music

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Steven Richardson talks about his study regimen at Columbia University, and his disinterest in pursuing a career in medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Steven Richardson talks about his interest in chemistry and his professors at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Steven Richardson talks about his preparation in chemistry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Steven Richardson talks about his transition into physics

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Steven Richardson talks about Shirley Ann Jackson's role in his decision to focus on condensed matter physics

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Steven Richardson talks about his decision to transfer to Ohio State University, and his research there

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Steven Richardson talks about Gallium arsenide and his work with semiconductors

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Steven Richardson talks about IBM computers and the role of semi-conductors in the development of more efficient machines

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Steven Richardson talks about the contrasting business strategies of Xerox and Apple, and the influence of semiconductors on cloud storage technology

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Steven Richardson talks about his contributions to research on Gallium arsenide

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Steven Richardson talks about his advisor, Bruce Patton, and his advising philosophy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Steven Richardson talks about his experience as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Steven Richardson talks about his mentors and funding sources at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Steven Richardson talks about the utilization of pseudo-potentials in his post-doctoral research

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Steven Richardson talks about his career at Eastman Kodak, and his decision to take a sabbatical to work at the National Science Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Steven Richardson talks about his decision to join the faculty at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Steven Richardson talks about the funding agencies in Washington, D.C., and his decision to join Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Steven Richardson talks about his visiting lectureship at Bradley University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Steven Richardson talks about his interest in traveling, and how he received a visiting lectureship in Portugal

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Steven Richardson talks about his work at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Steven Richardson talks about his lectureships at Emory University and the Scientific Research Honor Society

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Steven Richardson talks about the funding agencies in Washington, D.C. and Howard University's funding prospects

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Steven Richardson talks about the progress of graduate programs at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Steven Richardson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Steven Richardson talks about some of his students at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Steven Richardson reflects upon his life choices

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Steven Richardson talks about his parents' parenting abilities and reflects upon his upbringing

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Steven Richardson talks about his teaching methods and his concerns about young people

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Steven Richardson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Steven Richardson reflects upon his career, and talks about the importance of education

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Steven Richardson talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Steven Richardson describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Steven Richardson talks about his transition into physics
Steven Richardson talks about his interest in traveling, and how he received a visiting lectureship in Portugal
Transcript
So there's no question that taking Honor Organic Chemistry with Nick Turro who's a world's famous organic photo chemist and Gilbert Stork, who's a world famous synthetic organic chemist, these guys were not just great researchers, they were outstanding teachers. And the, the problem was that I became, I actually did very well in organic chemistry, and I loved organic chemistry. So I, so I have a new dilemma. The typical chemistry major, there are two types of chemistry majors. There are those who like to study how to make molecules. Those are organic chemists or inorganic chemists. And then there are those who like to study math and physics to under--to use math and physics to study what the properties of atoms and molecules are. Those are called physical chemists. And you very rarely have a person who wants to do both. So I took, I ended up taking Turro and Stork in my senior year, and I took their graduate courses. My senior year I took the graduate Organic Chemistry course in organic reaction mechanisms with Nick Turro. I took the graduate synthetic organic chemistry course with Gil Stork as a senior. And in retrospect, my grades in organic chemistry were far better than my grades in physical chemistry. So life, life has its way of presenting challenges. You know, I was faced with the question, well, what are you gonna do when you grow up? What's gonna be your profession? What kind of chemist are you going to be? Are you gonna be somebody who's gonna try to figure how to make molecules or are you gonna learn how to make more, learn more mathematics and physics to understand how molecules work. And that was a battle that I had to fight. It turns out, I had to go out and learn more physics and math because I had more experience in organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry than math and physics. And eventually, the math--the physics and the math side won out. I took some courses, I went to Wayne State University, started out being an organic chemist for graduate school. But I discovered--$$So this is in, now, now--$$This was after Columbia.$$So this is 1974, I guess?$$This is 1975.$$Seventy-five [1975], okay.$$So I ended up taking--$$So you graduated in '75' [1975]?$$So I took organic chemistry, I took, I finished my undergraduate work at Columbia in '75' [1975]. I went to Wayne State [University], started taking courses in chemistry and the advanced courses in chemistry and then discovered that I really wanted to be a physicist. So I started taking courses in the physics department at Wayne State, physics and math and came to the realization that, well, if I really wanna learn how to do physics and math, I need to go to, probably a stronger program than Wayne State. And I was fortunate enough to get accepted in the graduate program at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology], in the physics department. That was 1977.$Okay, now, you received a Career Advancement Award from the National Science Foundation in '92' [1992] and in '94' [1994]--now, tell if I'm, if we need to stop over something. But in '94' [1994], you were selected for a visiting professorship in Portugal.$$Yes.$$And how did that take place?$$That, again, goes back to Marvin Cohen. So at the time two of his post-docs, I was one. And we had a post-doc from Portugal. And we shared the same office, and we got along together marvelously, professionally and personally. And one year, after his post-doc, he spent some time at the University of Minnesota, and ultimately, he went back home to become a professor in Lisbon. And so I visited him at least two or three times. I, I should say that going back to being a college student, one of the things that I was always impressed with, professors got, it seemed like they got an opportunity to travel a lot. And they got an opportunity to travel to lots of exotic places. The first time I was ever on an airplane was probably my senior year in high--in college. And today, you know, I travel, not a lot, but I travel somewhat, and you see all sorts of folks on planes. I, I wasn't on my first plane till I was 21. So I must confess that one of the things that got me interested in a career as being a university professor is that in addition to teaching and in addition to doing research, you got an opportunity to go travel and talk and visit different folks in different places and interesting places. So I've been able to travel extensively throughout the continental United States, the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and Asia to basically talk about my own research, to meet other scientists. Science is a global community. It's not an enterprise that knows geographical boundaries. So this visiting lectureship in Portugal was something that primarily, A. Luis Martins helped set up for me just as James Garner, my colleague at Ohio State, he was the one that put my name in for the Bradley lectureship. And I should say in 2001, Ohio State [University] actually put a plaque at the front entrance of the chemistry department in honor of Major Robert Lawrence and his contributions. And we need to do more things like that. People need to know that the African American community is a distinct vibrant, non-homogenous community. We do lots of things and have done lots of things, and will continue to do lots of things. It goes back to this issue of making young people aware of the fact that there are lots of resources and options available out to them. And somebody has to basically take the time to point these things out to them.