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Hattie Carwell

Physicist Hattie Carwell was born on July 17, 1948 in Brooklyn, New York. Carwell grew up in a nurturing black community in Ashland, Virginia, which encouraged her interest in science. After graduating from high school in 1966, she enrolled at Bennett College for Women. Carwell earned her B.S. degree in chemistry from Bennett College in 1971. She went on to earn her M.S. degree in health physics from Rutgers University in 1971.

Throughout her career, Carwell has worked nationally and internationally for the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Atomic Energy Agency as a health physicist and nuclear safeguards group leader. From 1980 to 1985, she went on leave to Vienna, Austria where she served as a nuclear safeguards inspector and group leader at the International Atomic Energy Agency. In 1990, she became a program manager for high energy and nuclear programs with the DOE San Francisco Operations Office. She then became a senior facility operations engineer at the Berkeley Site Office in 1992. In 1994, Carwell was promoted to operations lead at the Berkeley Site Office, a position which she held until 2006. She became a senior physical scientist before retiring in 2008.

Carwell has written numerous research articles and two books including, Blacks in Science: Astrophysicist to Zoologist. Carwell is a Board Member of the Northern California Council of Black Professional Engineers, an organization of which she is a past President. She is treasurer for the National Council of Black Engineers and Scientists, co-founder and chair of the Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology, and Director of the Museum of African American Technology (MAAT) Science Village. MAAT Science Village archives information on the achievements of Africa American in science and engineering.

Carwell is the recipient of numerous performance awards from the Department of Energy, and is recognized as a community leader. She is a distinguished alumna of Bennett College and included in the Black College Hall of Fame. Her achievements are annotated in biographical

Accession Number

A2012.239

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/5/2012

Last Name

Carwell

Maker Category
Middle Name

Virginia

Schools

Bennett College for Women

Rutgers University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Hattie

Birth City, State, Country

Brooklyn

HM ID

CAR25

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

I Am Not Fattening Frogs For Snakes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/17/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Oakland

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pie (Apple)

Short Description

Environmental scientist Hattie Carwell (1948 - ) was a health physicist for the United States Atomic Energy Commission and the International Atomic Agency.

Employment

United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)

Energy Research Administration

United States Department of Energy

International Atomic Energy Agency

Department of Energy Headquarters

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31265">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hattie Carwell's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31266">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31267">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31268">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell talks about her maternal great grandmother, Edmonia Tunstall</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31269">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about her family's educational background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31270">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about her mother's life in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31271">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hattie Carwell describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31272">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes her father's background and military service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31273">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell talks about her parents and siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31274">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31275">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell talks about her uncle Patrick Tunstall and her adoptive grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31276">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31277">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell describes the sights, smells, and sounds of growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31278">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hattie Carwell describes her early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31279">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Hattie Carwell talks about Shiloh Baptist Church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31280">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes her mischievous nature as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31281">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell describes her aunt and uncle as parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31282">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell describes her experience at John Manuel Gandy High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31283">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell talks about the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31284">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about civil rights and the Richmond Improvement Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31285">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about her interest in news and current events</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31286">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Hattie Carwell talks about her high school interests and opportunities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31287">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Hattie Carwell discusses her high school experiences with science</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31288">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes her selection of Bennett College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31289">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell describes her experience at Bennett College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31290">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell describes her interest in California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31291">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell discusses her work in the field of radiation science</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31292">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about the Atomic Energy Commission and exposure to radiation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31293">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about human radiation experiments</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31294">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes the effects of exposure to radiation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31295">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell describe measures people take to shield themselves from radiation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31296">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell talks about her internship at Brookhaven National Laboratory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31297">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell describes her thesis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31298">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell describes working at Thomas Jefferson University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31299">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about her return to Brookhaven National Laboratory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31300">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes her work with the Atomic Energy Commission</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31301">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell talks about her transfer to California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31302">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell talks about her experience at the University of California, Berkeley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31303">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell describes her work in Vienna, Austria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31304">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about her travels while working for the International Atomic Energy Agency</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31305">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell talks about her work as a group leader for the International Atomic Energy Agency</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31306">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell talks about her second year at the International Atomic Energy Agency</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31307">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell describes her return to the United States</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31308">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell describes her work in Rocky Flats, Colorado (part 1)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31309">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell describes her work in Rocky Flats, Colorado (part 2)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31310">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about her work with the High Energy and Nuclear Programs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31311">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell talks about her appointment at Lawrence-Berkeley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31312">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell reflects on her time at the Department of Energy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31313">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell talks about her book, 'Blacks in Science'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31314">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell talks about Dr. Warren Henry (part 1)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31315">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about Dr. Warren Henry (part 2)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31316">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell talks about Ernest Just</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31317">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Hattie Carwell talks about Glenn Seaborg</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31318">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Hattie Carwell discusses the Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31319">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Hattie Carwell talks about the Museum for African American Technology Science Village</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31320">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Hattie Carwell describes exhibits in the Museum for African American Technology Science Village</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31321">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Hattie Carwell talks about her publication exploring green technology</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31322">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Hattie Carwell shares her hopes and concerns for the African American communiry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31323">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Hattie Carwell talks about her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31324">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Hattie Carwell talks about her personal life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31325">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Hattie Carwell tells how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31326">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Hattie Carwell describes her photos</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$9

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Hattie Carwell talks about her travels while working for the International Atomic Energy Agency
Hattie Carwell describes exhibits in the Museum for African American Technology Science Village
Transcript
Now, did you ever go to Russia or--$$Went, I went to Russia as a tourist. And the Russians we interacted with, Russians disappeared on the job that I had because the majority of us believed the Russians were spies. And they were just doing our job to see the different nuclear facilities. And they thought the Japanese were out to steal industrial secrets. And me, you know, I was harmless. It was only one of me, you know, I was the only black woman and for a while, the only woman. And so, you know, what harm could I do? I was a novelty. And so I was representing the United States. I had a Laissez-passer from the UN [United Nations]. Don't touch her. Don't mess with her. Even if she's in trouble, don't mess with her. And it was, you know, if you messed with me, it's an international incident. So I got lost, you know, trying to go places and I never worried about being lost until I was supposed to be where I wasn't, you know, getting directions in a foreign language that you don't completely understand. It's bad enough getting directions in a language that you do understand. People, you know, so concerned that you might get lost, they're going in the opposite direction, and they turn around, follow me, taking you to make sure you get to the point, going to little towns in Italy. The Italians will talk to you, I don't care what language you speak. And once again, I'm going to these tiny little towns, 'cause, you know, and small-town people will get in your business. And they would wonder why is she coming here once a month, staying three days and then going back? What is she doing? And this Thai--guy from Thailand and I used to go to this town an hour from Amsterdam, Almelo, next door to Hengelo. Hengelo, they have beer. And we stayed in this bread and breakfast place. And so (laughter) Mr. Gemung (ph.) Hung (ph.) said, I'll bet you they wanna know why the two of them come here (laughter), why the hell they come here to this little town (laughter), 'cause you know, they didn't know what we were doing. We would go to the university or out to a power plant. I went to, we--it was a new enrichment plant, uranium enrichment plant, experimental, that we would go to. And, you know, I, since I was a novelty, you know, there's dead time. You're counting samples and machine, and you're just sitting there waiting. So there's a lot of just small talk. And, you know, this was interesting. The plant was in the Netherlands, and the Germans ran the plant. And I forget his name, but the director of the plan would come, and at lunchtime, he'd, you know, just hang out a little bit. And he had a habit, when you asked him a question he would say, "in princeive" (ph.), you know, in principle. And when he would say that, I would always get this big smile on my face. And he didn't know why I would always smile. So he said, what's, what's, you know, what's the problem? I said, well, you know, I'm smiling because most times when people say something "in principle", whatever they're saying is not really true, that it's close to being true, but it's not really true or you really don't know if it's true. And for the nature of our work, if he's telling us, well, it's kinda like this, but it's not, and so I would just smile. And he, it was such an ingrained habit, he couldn't break it. So every time he'd ready to say something, he'd find himself, saying "in princeive". And then he would look at me and laugh.$$Okay--$$So--$Okay, so, well, tell us, what are the exhibits in the museum, and--$$Well, first of all, I have to tell you right now, we do not have a physical location. We are in search of purchasing a building. And I wish the market had changed when we had money, but the money we had at that time was not sufficient to purchase. But now that the market is down, we're desperately in pursuit. So most all of our activities are at events or in someone else's venue. Right now, we participate in U.S. Science and Engineering Festival in D.C. [Washington, D.C.]. There were 150,000 people that came to that. And you were saying people that, not shop, but it's nice to know, kind of thing. I got a photo of the African American who got the very first patent of, you know, not a drawing, but a photo of him and was able to include that in the, in the exhibit. And since we're just more like a picture show, you gotta keep people's interests. So we do it like a game, and we'll ask, "Can you tell me who did so and so?" It's an open-book test 'cause all the answers are right there. And more than likely people don't know. They don't have a clue. But to engage them, we will blow bubbles in the directions, so they start looking. One, they read more, and they end up reading everything as opposed to something that kind of looks interesting. So, we do that. We do Juneteenth, things like that. But when we have our facility, we have groups of kids come in. My thing is solar. I don't know if you noticed my solar cells on my roof.$$I did, I did, on the roof, right, right.$$I've had my solar cells ten years, and I wanted solar cells when I didn't have a roof. And energy and the variety of what DOE [Department of Energy] research is, is what kept me there that long. And when we go to South Africa in two weeks, I'm gonna do a solar paper there.

William Lester, Jr.

Distinguished theoretical chemist William Lester, Jr., was born on April 24, 1937, in Chicago, Illinois, where he attended all-black elementary schools due to racial segregation. After World War II, Lester's family moved and he attended a formerly all-white high school; he went on to receive his B.S. degree in 1958, and his master’s degree in chemistry in 1959 from the University of Chicago. Lester obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1964.

Lester developed his interest in science at an early age; during his senior year in high school, he used his typing skills to obtain a part-time job in the physics department of the University of Chicago, which gave him a chance to explore the potential of a future career in the sciences. Entering the University of Chicago on a history scholarship, Lester set scoring records in basketball, two of which were still standing after forty-eight years. While at Catholic University, Lester worked at the National Bureau of Standards as a member of the scientific staff; his work at the Bureau helped him to meet the requirements for his doctoral dissertation on the calculation of molecular properties. Lester obtained a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he worked on the molecular collision theory. The IBM Corporation then hired Lester to work at its research laboratory in San Jose, California. Later, as the director of the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry, Lester organized and led the first unified effort in computational chemistry in the United States.

Lester later joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley as a professor of chemistry, where his research focused on the theoretical studies of the electronic structure of molecules. Lester's efforts at Berkeley extended the powerful quantum Monte Carlo method to a wider range of chemical problems. In 2002, Lester became the president of the Pac-10 Conference.

Throughout his career, Lester published over 200 papers in his field, and was awarded numerous honors for his research and teaching. Lester held memberships in several professional organizations including the American Physical and Chemical Societies, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also elected a fellow of the APS, ACS, and AAAS. In addition to his professional activities, Lester remained committed to science education and sparking an interest in pursuing science careers in minority students.

Lester and his wife, Rochelle (deceased), raised two children: son, William A. Lester, III, and daughter, Allison L. Ramsey.

Accession Number

A2004.043

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/7/2004

10/13/2005

11/7/2012

Last Name

Lester

Middle Name

A.

Schools

McCosh Elementary School

Frank L. Gillespie Technology Magnet Cluster School

Calumet Career Prep Academy High School

University of Chicago

Washington University in St Louis

Catholic University of America

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

LES01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Depends on audience - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Allstate honoree

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Maui, Barbados

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/24/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Red Beans, Rice, Steak, Mexican Food

Short Description

Chemistry professor and chemist William Lester, Jr. (1937 - ) was the former director of the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry. He later joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley as Professor of Chemistry, and published over 200 papers in his field.

Employment

National Bureau of Standards (NBS)

IBM

National Resource for Computation in Chemistry

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

University of California, Berkeley

University of Wisconsin, Madison

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29037">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Lester's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29038">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Lester shares his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29039">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Lester talks about his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29040">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Lester discusses his father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29041">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Lester shares his parents' stories of their childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29042">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Lester talks about his grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29043">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about his extended family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29044">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Lester talks about his sisters and their families</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29045">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Lester describes his childhood homelife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29046">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Lester describes Chicago in the 1940s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29047">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Lester talks about his elementary school experiences in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29048">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Lester describes his family's history in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29049">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Lester talks about his high school experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29050">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Lester talks about his primary school teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29051">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Lester discusses his interests as a youth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29052">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Lester talks about working at the post office while studying at the University of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29053">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Lester describes the curriculum at the University of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29054">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about his starring college basketball career at the University of Chicago, part 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29055">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Lester describes earning his M.S. degree from the University of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29056">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Lester talks about his starring college basketball career at the University of Chicago, part 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29057">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Lester talks about his master's studies at the University of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29058">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Lester describes his graduate school experience at Washington University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29059">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Lester describes his move to Washington, D.C. to attend The Catholic University of America</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29060">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Lester describes his work at the National Bureau of Standards</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29061">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Lester describes his courses at The Catholic University of America</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29062">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Lester describes correlated molecular orbital theory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29063">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Lester discusses his work ethic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29064">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Lester talks about his options for postdoctoral fellowships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29065">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Lester reflects on the Civil Rights Movement in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29066">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - William Lester talks about the work environment of the University of Wisconsin--Madison</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29067">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - William Lester discusses affirmative action</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29068">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Lester describes his photographs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29069">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Lester talks about his decision to work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29070">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Lester describes the close-coupling problem</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29071">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Lester discusses the work environment at the University of Wisconsin, Madison</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29072">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Lester recalls his move to California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29073">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Lester recalls living in Madison, Wisconsin</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29074">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Lester describes the benefits of working at IBM</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29075">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Lester describes San Jose, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29076">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William Lester describes his career at IBM</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29077">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - William Lester recalls serving as director of the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29078">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - William Lester discusses building the NRCC program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29079">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - William Lester recalls the end of the NRCC and the beginning of his career at the University of California, Berkeley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29080">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Lester discusses the Quantum Monte Carlo method, part 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29081">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Lester discusses the Quantum Monte Carlo method, part 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29082">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Lester describes his work environment at the University of California, Berkeley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29083">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Lester talks about the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers [NOBCChE]</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29084">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Lester discusses his role as athletics representative for the PAC 10</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29085">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Lester talks about his STEM professional affiliations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29086">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about his travels</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29087">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Lester discusses the role of his research in spectroscopy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29088">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Lester discusses the role of his research in understanding photosynthesis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29089">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - William Lester talks about computer programming in computational chemistry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29090">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - William Lester shares his hobbies and other interests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29091">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - William Lester talks about his wife, Rochelle Lester</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29092">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - William Lester discusses the success of his son, William A. Lester III</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29093">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about his daughter, Alison Ramsey</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29094">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - William Lester talks about his cousin, William A.J. Ross</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29095">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - William Lester provides a brief summary of his family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29096">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - William Lester talks about seeking equal representation for African Americans in science</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29097">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - William Lester talks about his organizational affiliations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29098">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - William Lester shares his goals for his future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29099">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - William Lester discusses enjoying his career as a scientist</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29100">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - William Lester talks about education in the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29101">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about how he wants to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29102">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - William Lester talks about generating random numbers in the Monte Carlo Method</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29103">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Slating of William Lester's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29104">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - William Lester describes the history of the development of the quantum Monte Carlo method</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29105">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - William Lester describes his experience with the quantum Monte Carlo method</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29106">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - William Lester describes his transition into using the quantum Monte technique and his current work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29107">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - William Lester describes his work with graphene</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29108">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - William Lester talks about his life after retirement and his health</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29109">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about being featured in the 2004 Allstate calendar</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29110">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - William Lester talks about playing basketball</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29111">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - William Lester describes his decision to attend the University of Chicago and his basketball career there</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29112">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - William Lester describes the accomplished physicists he was exposed to at the University of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29113">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - William Lester describes what influenced his decision to attend Washington University in St. Louis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29114">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - William Lester describes balancing family life with graduate school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29115">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - William Lester talks about the African American scientists who trained at Catholic University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29116">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - William Lester talks about fellow basketball players at the University of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29117">Tape: 10 Story: 8 - William Lester describes receiving the INCITE Award in 2004</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29118">Tape: 10 Story: 9 - William Lester describes his visits to Europe for work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29119">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - William Lester describes his awards and honors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29120">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - William Lester talks about NOBCChE and Isiah Warner</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29121">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - William Lester talks about his seventieth birthday celebration at the University of California, Berkeley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29122">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - William Lester talks about receiving the Stanley C. Israel Award and reflects upon his career in chemistry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29123">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - William Lester reflects upon his legacy and talks about current politics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29124">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - William Lester describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29125">Tape: 11 Story: 7 - William Lester describes his involvement with The HistoryMakers' ScienceMakers Program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/29126">Tape: 11 Story: 8 - William Lester talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

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DATitle
William Lester discusses the Quantum Monte Carlo method, part 1
William Lester describes his career at IBM
Transcript
So you've been accepted to start your research at Berkeley (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Oh, yes, yes. I was appointed professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley [University of California, Berkeley], and well, what's to say except that--oh, I should back up a little bit because the nature of my research changed dramatically while I was director of the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry. One of the people I had hired was a physicist, condensed matter physicist, by the name of David Ceperley. And David came into my office one day indicating he had a 100 percent of the correlation energy for the electron gas. Now, the correlation energy is the difference between the theoretically, the theoretical exact energy for the system in energy of the system in what we call the mean field approximation, that is, an approximation in which you consider that the system is one in which a given electron is in the field of the N minus one other electrons. And each electron is viewed in this way. Well, anyway, this leads to well-known approximations in the electronic structure for molecules, it's called the Hartree Fock approximation, H-A-R-T-R-E-E, named after a fellow by the name of Hartree, who was English and Fock, F-O-C-K, who was a Russian. And I won't say what the contributions of each of them was. It gets a little bit technical for lay people in that respect, but simply to say that a 100 percent of the correlation energy was really quite an achievement. But it was foreign model system and electron gas is one way of considering a solid, in which you don't treat the solid in its explicit detail, but basically electrons in this see our gas, electron gas model. So I said, "Well, what about atoms and molecules, something which I understand." He said, "Well, really I'm a condensed matter physicist," and to some extent was not so keen about pursuing that but would do in collaboration. And this was done. I hired a fellow in the last year of NRCC [National Resource for Computation in Chemistry] by the name of Peter [J.] Reynolds who came from the East Coast. He had been a research professor at Boston University but had gotten his degree, his undergraduate degree, from Berkeley. He was a Berkeley product, a very brilliant young man, who wanted to come back to the West Coast. And so as a consequence, this led to our first publication of Quantum Monte Carlo for Molecules, which was published in or appeared in 1982. NRCC closed in 1981 and based upon the quality of results coming out of that study, I--and having done electronic structure for my Ph.D., this was really fascinating stuff. I mean the results were as good as the state of the art by any other technique that people were pursuing who had been engaged in electronic structure of molecules up to that point. And so I changed my research direction when I came on the faculty, continued to pursue Quantum Monte Carlo for molecules. And we began to build and extend the capability of the technique for larger systems, for higher accuracy, for understanding what was needed to improve upon results that had been obtained at that time. I should add that one aspect in terms of Ceperley that I hadn't mentioned before, and that is the idea of hiring him was the notion of a fellow by the name of Berni [Julian] Alder. And Bernie Alder is a scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory [Livermore, California], internationally recognized and respected for his work originally in classical Monte Carlo. Quantum Monte Carlo means that one is taking into account the fermion character of electrons and nuclei. By that I mean that--$$Fermion?$$The fermion is a system which has spin, and that indeed, you can have regions of both positive and negative phase, which means that, in terms of Monte Carlo simulations, what you are doing classically is adding up numbers of the same sign to get a mean and an uncertainty associated with the evaluation. With Quantum Monte Carlo because the system, the function can have both positive and negative phases, you have to find a way so that you end up adding up numbers of the same sign in order to get a mean and an uncertainty. And without going into detail, it is possible to do that in the way that, something we call a fixed node approximation, which says that--well, I don't, I don't want to go into that. That's another half hour or so just in terms of the general ideas of Quantum Monte Carlo in its simplest manifestation.$But backing up a bit, through the early '70s [1970s], I had achieved somewhat of a positive reputation and I was viewed to be on the fast track for advancement in management. It was suggested that I go and spend time on the technical planning staff with the vice president and director of research, Ralph [E.] Gomory. This I did. And this meant going, moving to actually White Plains, New York for the year. That laboratory is located in Yorktown Heights, New York, it's the T.J. Watson Research Center. And that was a very interesting experience. I was on a committee or--which involved other young people, and it was clear to me that these folks really were, wanted to pursue advanced management in IBM, and it became clear to me that really I preferred my research to rising in the system at IBM per se. It reached an interesting point when I returned to San Jose because it was suggested that things didn't work well for me in Yorktown. I said, "Oh, I don't understand that." Well, then as I reflected on it, very possibly in terms of what you did while you were there and so on and how people spent their time, and so the commitment to the IBM administrative management direction was not fully there, that that's probably the basis upon which this decision or this view was held. Now I should back up and say also that prior to this, some two or three years earlier, I was selected to participate in a career development workshop. And the guys who ran this said, you know, in effect, you know, they're looking at you for management. I said, "Oh, yeah, really?" And so they went and volunteered that, "Yeah, we can shade it one way or the other." I said, "Really, at this point in my career, I really want to pursue my science as opposed to management." And they said, "Well, okay, we'll indicate that in the report," which they did, that, although Bill has, you know, potential for being a successful manager, he really should be allowed to pursue his research at this time. So there's this dilemma that confronts one, I think, early on in the management scheme in an institution of that type at that time, since things are very different now in terms of IBM and the parallel research laboratory that existed at the time, Bell Labs, in the sense that there is considerably less freedom. There's more pointed research towards the mission of the company than there was at the time I was there. So they're very different institutions in that sense.