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Linda Hayden

Mathematician and research director Linda B. Hayden was born on February 4, 1949 in Portsmouth, Virginia to Linwood Copeland, Sr. and Sarah Vaughn Bailey. She enjoyed math as a child, particularly plotting out functions and determining their characteristics. Hayden attended Portsmouth Public Schools for her elementary and secondary education. After graduating from I. C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Hayden attended Virginia State University and went on to graduate from there in 1970 with her B.S. degree in mathematics and physics. In 1972, Hayden received her M.A. degree in mathematics and education from the University of Cincinnati; and, in 1983, she received her M.S. degree in computer science from Old Dominion University. Hayden earned her Ph.D. degree in mathematics and education from American University in 1988. Her doctoral thesis was titled, “The Impact of an Intervention Program for High Ability Minority Students on Rates of High School Graduation, College Enrollment, and Choice of a Quantitative Major.”

Hayden began her teaching career as an assistant professor of mathematics at Kentucky State University in 1972 where she remained until 1976. Hayden then served an an assistant professor at Norfolk State University. In 1980, she was appointed as an associate professor of computer science at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). While there, Hayden founded, and served as director of, the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER). She was promoted to full professor and named as the associate dean of the ECSU School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology in 2002. In addition, Hayden has served as a research fellow at the Department of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, and as a visiting professor at American University and the University of the District of Columbia.

Her research has been published in national and international journals such as, the Proceedings of the National Science Teachers Association and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer - Geosciences and Remote Sensing Society Joint International Conference Proceedings. Hayden was a founding member of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the Geosciences and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) and subsequently served as president.

Hayden is a recipient of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Professional Achievement Award as well as the U.S. Black Engineer Magazine Emerald Award for Educational Leadership. In 2009, the National Science Foundation presented Hayden with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education presented her with the NOBLE Laureate Award.

Hayden and her husband, Lee V. Hayden Jr., live in Portsmouth, Virginia. They have one son, Kuchumbi Linwood Hayden.

Linda B. Hayden was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.044

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/25/2013

Last Name

Hayden

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Bailey

Occupation
Schools

Virginia State University

University of Cincinnati

Old Dominion University

American University

First Name

Linda

Birth City, State, Country

Portsmouth

HM ID

HAY13

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Like giving forward.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/4/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Norfolk

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Southern, Creole, Indian Food

Short Description

Mathematician and educator Linda Hayden (1949 - ) is the associate dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, and the director of the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research.

Employment

Kentucky State University

Norfolk State University

Elizabeth City State University

Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research

Favorite Color

Green, Pink

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Linda Hayden's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Linda Hayden lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Linda Hayden describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Linda Hayden describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Linda Hayden talks about her father's barbershop

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Linda Hayden talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Linda Hayden talks about her parents and siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Linda Hayden describes her earliest childhood memories

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

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Linda Hayden talks about her elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Linda Hayden talks about her high school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Linda Hayden talks about her youth and her interest in mathematical functions

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Linda Hayden talks about her pre-college counseling

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Linda Hayden talks about her decision to attend Virginia State University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Linda Hayden talks about her peers and professors at Virginia State University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Linda Hayden talks about her extracurricular interests during college

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Linda Hayden talks about race and political relations in Virginia during the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Linda Hayden talks about moving to Cincinnati, Ohio and her decision to attend the University of Cincinnati

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Linda Hayden talks about her experience at the University of Cincinnati

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Linda Hayden her experience teaching at Kentucky State University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Linda Hayden talks about meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Linda Hayden talks about her mother's declining health

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Linda Hayden talks about her decision to pursue an M.S. degree in computer science

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Linda Hayden talks about her friend, Joan Langdon, and her decision to pursue her Ph.D. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Linda Hayden talks about her mentor, Mary Gray, and balancing family life with school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Linda Hayden talks about the Saturday Academy at the University of the District of Columbia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Linda Hayden talks about the emerging computer science department at Elizabeth City State University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Linda Hayden talks about establishing technological infrastructure at Elizabeth State University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Linda Hayden talks about the grant funding for ECSU's computer science program

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Linda Hayden talks about her work with computers and parallel processing

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Linda Hayden talks about the NASA Network Resources and Training Site at ECSU

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Linda Hayden talks about her work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Cairo

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Linda Hayden talks about the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the Geosciences Remote Sensing Society

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Linda Hayden talks about her work at Elizabeth City State University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Linda Hayden talks about the Center for Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Linda Hayden talks about receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Linda Hayden talks about the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS)

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Linda Hayden talks about her professional awards and activities

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Linda Hayden reflects on her major accomplishments

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Linda Hayden reflects on her life choices

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Linda Hayden talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Linda Hayden talks about her organizational affiliations

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Linda Hayden talks about women in mathematics

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Linda Hayden talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Linda Hayden describes her photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Linda Hayden describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
Linda Hayden talks about the Center for Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research
Transcript
So, you've been talking about--one question we always ask is about the sights and sounds and smells of growing up. And you've really been doing a good job with that already, without me asking you. But, what are some of the sights and sounds and smells?$$Oh, I remember, I remember the dirt outside of my grandmother's house where we used to draw our little hopscotch, and the color of that dirt being a muddy--kind of a brown. There was no grass. It was just, you know, but it was a hard dirt and it was a good thing. We'd draw--you know, all you needed was a nice piece of glass, and you could draw a nice hopscotch with it. And the color of that dirt... Yeah, I remember when I did see, you know, places where there was glass, like in the backyard. She used to have a fig tree. It was really great, because I love figs. And we'd search for four-leaf clovers in the areas where there was grass growing, always happy when we found one, a four-leaf clover. I remember her kitchen--and Saturday--you didn't cook on Sunday. She always cooked on Saturday. And she would make the rolls, and if there was any bread left over, she'd pat it down and put cinnamon and butter over it. And she'd slice an apple very thin, and she'd just lay it on top of the bread, and we'd have that cinnamon bread like for breakfast in the morning. And that smell--oooh, ahhh, brings back some real memories, that smell of cinnamon bread baking. I remember that she cooked on a wood stove, or a coal stove. In the kitchen, there was one in the kitchen. And there was always a coffee pot sitting on the back of the stove. And that coffee would be, they'd make it in the morning and it would just, you know, first thing you'd smell would be the coffee. And they'd drink it all day long. That would be some pretty strong coffee. And to this day, the first thing I do when I get up in the morning is make some coffee. And people in my house don't drink coffee, except for me. So, I make a half a pot, but every single day I make a pot of coffee. It's just sort of my connection to the world, and it's, yeah, it's decaf. So, it's not the caffeine that gives me, you know, the rush or whatever. It's the warmth that's good and the aroma is good. And I just think it is just kind of my link back to that time. Coffee on the stove, I remember. I remember the nights when we would all sleep in that one bed. It was Grandmama and myself and Aunt Vivian, and sometimes Stephanie. And how we would--if you had to get up at night, then there was no indoor plumbing for a long time. So, there was a jar, a jug, that we'd have to use. And then somebody would have to take that out the next day, of course, in the morning. So, I remember that. Smell--I remember the smell of the lotion that Aunt Vivian used to use, that Jergen's lotion, that I thought was just wonderful. I remember the vanilla ice cream, that whenever Vivian's friend used to come over. And there was a living room that nobody got to play in. I mean, we'd come in the front door and we'd go right through the living room. You didn't stop there. Only visitors got to sit in the living room. But whenever her friend would come over, he'd bring ice cream for Grandma. (laughter). And so, I remember that. I remember her, I remember the sound of the man who used to bring ice. He'd come selling ice, big chunks of ice. When she finally got a refrigerator, you got the ice and put it in there to keep stuff warm [does she mean cold?]. And it was the ice pick that we used to use, you know, to chip pieces off, if we wanted a drink. So, that's pretty clear in my memory. And the feel of that coal heat which was so dense, you know, it was really a heavy, heavy, heat in the family room. The sounds when we'd go out and get that coal and bring it in, and the buckets and the wood, the wood had to be cut also to keep us warm. And then we'd all go upstairs and we... at night. Get up--wouldn't nobody would get--Grandma would get up first. And she'd go down and she would, you know, start the stove up and make a pot of coffee. And then a little later, we'd get up and go down and wash up, because there was some warm water, a kettle of water, where we could wash up then. So, that's what I remember from early days. Now, after that, when Dad [Linwood Copeland Bailey] bought the house, they say, people used to say, well, you know, he was cooking with gas, because he didn't have to cook with coal anymore, he cooked with wood. They had, you know, a gas furnace and (laughter) a gas stove to cook on. So, we didn't have to go through that anymore when we moved to 306 Beechdale Road.$$Now, how old were you when you all moved?$$I was about five or six.$$Okay.$$I was school age.$$So, you went to school in the new neighborhood, right?$$Actually, the school was still downtown that I went to. And so, I would ride down to school with him in the morning and go to school. When I got out of school, I'd go to his barbershop and wait until somebody had, you know, the opportunity to take me back home.$$So, that is interesting, to spend a lot of time in a barbershop, with the discussions that--$$Uh huh.$$Did they clean up their conversation...$$Oh, gosh.$$...when you came in?$$I spent a lot of time in the back room (laughter). Yeah.$$Okay. Because they were--I'm the son of a barber, and I know they would do that--$$Are you?$$--and you'd come in the guys would try to talk, they--$$Yeah, they didn't--$$They'd chastise each other for, you know, for--$$They did not talk dirty around me, no. I don't remember any of that.$$But--$$I remember spinning around in that barber chair a lot, though. That was a fun thing to do. Did you do that? (laughter).$$That's right.$Now, in 2002, you became the director of the Center for Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research.$$Yeah.$$For CERSER, right?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$CERSER started off as a proposal. It was a proposal that I wrote to NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]. They had a solicitation for Centers of Excellence. And the thing is, they wanted the centers to be in institutions where there were, where there was a significant amount of graduate work going on. And we had just been approved for a master's degree program in mathematics, but it didn't start until September. The proposals were due in May or spring. And so, I explained that in the proposal, but it wasn't strong enough to compete with schools like, you know, schools that already had programs well-established. And I tried it one more time with another solicitation for a center, the Center of Excellence for Remote Sensing Education and Research. Although there was a lot of research going on here, there was a lot of integration of that research into education, into these K-12 schools and these other universities, but we didn't have the master's and Ph.D. level programs they were looking for. And so they rejected my proposal. And eventually, I just said, you know what, this idea is bigger than any one proposal. We need to do this, we just need to do this. And so, I was able to get the facility on campus-some--but not all that I needed, but I got some. And over the course of those other small grants--I've been--grants with Navy and NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration]--I've been accumulating some indirect costs funds and just kind of using, saving them. And I said this is a good purpose. And so, we used those funds to buy the carpeting and the furniture and the video equipment, and you know, and just set it up. So, we just did it, and we established that center. And you know, Mr. Luther was encouraging me the whole way. And that's how the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research came about. It was first, two proposals that were rejected. And under that umbrella, we are able to engage partnerships that are focused on coastal, marine, and polar science programs. And those partnerships are both educational and research based. Under the umbrella of CERSER there are a number of programs now that operate, and a lot of good research going on in CERSER.

Johnny Houston

Mathematician, education administrator, and research director Johnny L. Houston was born on November 19, 1941 in Sandersville, Georgia to parents Bobby Lee Harris and Catherine Houston Vinson. After graduating from Ballard Hudson High School in Macon, Georgia, Houston attended Morehouse College and graduated in 1964 with his B.A. degree in mathematics. Houston received his M.S. degree in mathematics from Atlanta University (Clark Atlanta University) in 1966 and then travelled to Paris, France to study at the Universite de Strasbourg. In 1974, Houston graduated with his Ph.D. degree in mathematics from Purdue University.

In 1975, Houston was appointed as the chair of the Atlanta University Math and Computer Science Department. During a leave period, he served as the Calloway Professor of Computer Science at Fort Valley State University. In 1984, Houston became the vice chancellor of academic affairs and professor of math and computer science at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). He was named senior research professor in the ECSU Department of Mathematics and Computer Science in 1988. Throughout his career, Houston has held several positions as a specialist in mathematics and computer science, including serving as a member National Institute of Health’s MARC Committee from 1980to 1986, a member of the Board of Governors of the Mathematical Association of America from 1992 to 1995, and as a member of the Human Resource Advisory Group for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute from1993 to1998. In 1996, Houston established the Computational Science and Scientific Visualization (CSSV) Center at ECSU; and, in 2002, he established the African Studies (TLMP) at ECSU. Houston served as the director of both programs until 2008. Houston is a co-founder of the National Association of Mathematicians, Inc. (NAM), and served as NAM’s executive secretary from 1975 until 2000. Houston published The History of NAM, the First 30 Years; 1969-1999 in 2002 and is the author of more than forty books and articles on the science, mathematics, and education

Houston has received several awards and honors, including the University Of North Carolina Board Of Governors Teaching Excellence Award in 1996, NAM’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999, and the Purdue University BCC Pioneer Award in 2009. Houston has been included American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who Among Black Americans, Who’s Who in America, and the World Directory of Mathematicians. In 2010, Houston was named professor emeritus at Elizabeth City State University after twenty-six years of service.

Houston is married to Virginia Lawrence. They have two daughters: Mave Talibra and Kaiulani Michelle.

Mathematician, education administrator, and research director Johnny L. Houston was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.046

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/25/2013

Last Name

Houston

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Schools

Universite de Strasbourg

University of Georgia

Clark Atlanta University

Morehouse College

Ballard Hudson High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Day,s Evenings, and Weekends by pre-arrangment

First Name

Johnny

Birth City, State, Country

Sandersville

HM ID

HOU03

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Expenses plus any expression of appreciation

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mountains, Water

Favorite Quote

Life Has Been Very Kind To Me And I Thank God For It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/19/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charlotte

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Mathematician Johnny Houston (1941 - ) was the founder of the Computational Science and Scientific Visualization Center and the African Studies Program (TLMP) at Elizabeth City State University, and co-founder of the National Association of Mathematicians, Inc. (NAM).

Employment

Elizabeth City State University

Fort Valley State University

Atlanta University

Savannah State University

Stillman College

E.E. Smith High School

Favorite Color

Gray

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Johnny Houston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about his mother and his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about growing up in the deep South

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about his aunts' perception of Elijah Muhammad

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston talks about his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Johnny Houston talks about his relationship with his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Johnny Houston talks about how his parents met and his father's career in the funeral business

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his grandmother's influence on him

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about his grandmother, her influence in the community, and her employment

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about the black communities in Sandersville, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his interest in how things work and describes living in poverty during his early childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about his experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston talks about his passion for learning and his elementary teachers' perceptions of him

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Johnny Houston talks about his uncle's service in World War II and the racial tensions of growing up in the South

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his involvement in Springfield Baptist Church while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about the impact of his grandmother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about his childhood jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about his sister's death, his family's move to Macon, Georgia, and living in the projects

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about the demographics of the projects of Macon, Georgia, and his education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his junior high school science teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about his high school English teachers and the importance of communication skills

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston talks about his science and math instruction in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his high school math teacher and his math instruction

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about his extracurricular activities and working during high school

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about graduating from high school, his decision to attend Morehouse College, and his financial hardships there

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about his financial hardships and his quest for work in Hot Springs, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about his experience working at The Homestead luxury resort in Hot Springs, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his favorite vacation destination, Hot Springs, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about his interest in math and science and his chemistry professor at Morehouse College, Henry C. McBay

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his professors, Claude B. Dansby and Henry C. McBay, at Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about his professors at Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about Benjamin Mays - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about Benjamin Mays - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about Shirley McBay

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his memories of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about graduating from Morehouse College and his experience teaching high school mathematics in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston talks about the professors at Atlanta University Complex, including Abdulalim Shabazz

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his thesis advisor, Lloyd Williams, and the area of topology in mathematics

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about his decision to study at the University of Strasbourg in France

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about learning French and his experience in France

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about learning French and his travels within the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about his studies and his experience at the University of Strasbourg

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his travels through Europe

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his decision to teach at Stillman College and his experience there

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston describes his first exposure to computers, when he attended an IBM workshop to learn to program in Fortran

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about his memories of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his assassination in 1968

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston describes his experience at the Summer Institute for College Teachers of Math at the University of Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston describes his decision to pursue his Ph.D. degree at Purdue University, and talks about other African Americans who studied there

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his wife, Virginia Lawrence, whom he married in 1969

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about the establishment of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) in 1969, and the reasons for its conception

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston describes the objectives of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM), and the reasons for its conception

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his doctoral advisor, Eugene Schenkman, and his experience as a doctoral student at Purdue University - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about his doctoral advisor, Eugene Schenkman, and his experience as a doctoral student at Purdue University - part one

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston describes his doctoral dissertation, titled, 'On the Theory of Fitting Classes in Certain Locally Finite Groups'

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston discusses the impact of his doctoral dissertation, titled 'On the Theory of Fitting Classes in Certain Locally Finite Groups'

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about how pure mathematics is the forerunner of applied mathematics

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his graduation from Purdue University

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about teaching mathematics at the Krannert School of Industrial Management at Purdue University

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston describes himself as a computational scientist

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Johnny Houston talks about his decision to become the head of the mathematics department at Atlanta University

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about becoming the National Secretary of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) in 1975

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about training faculty at HBCUs to use computers in the 1970s

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston describes his experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston describes his experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1979

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about becoming the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Computer Science at Fort Valley State University in 1981

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about his appointment as the vice chancellor of academic affairs at Elizabeth City State University

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston describes the history of Elizabeth City State University

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston describes his contribution towards the computerization of Elizabeth City State University

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about his publications on the general applications of mathematics

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston describes the growing application of mathematics and computer science in scientific research

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about the ease of scientific collaboration in the modern age of computerization

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston describes how he became involved in the President's Africa Education Initiative: Sub-Saharan Africa Textbooks Project

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston describes his contribution towards the President's Africa Education Initiative: Sub-Saharan Africa Textbooks Project

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston describes his collaboration with the University of Cheikh Anta Diop while working on the Sub-Saharan Africa Textbooks Project

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston describes the two different phases of the Sub-Saharan Africa Textbooks Project in Senegal

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston talks about teaching students to think critically to solve problems in mathematics - part one

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston talks about teaching students to think critically to solve problems in mathematics - part two

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston talks about the scientific contributions of Benjamin Banneker

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about Elbert Frank Cox, who was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. degree in mathematics

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about Euphemia Lofton Haynes, Evelyn Boyd Granville and Marjorie Lee Brown

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about mathematician, J. Ernest Wilkins

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Johnny Houston talks about the accomplishments of mathematician, David Blackwell

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Johnny Houston talks about African American pioneers in mathematics, and the current occupational trends amongst African American mathematicians

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Johnny Houston describes his contributions to the field of mathematics, and shares his advice for aspiring mathematicians

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Johnny Houston reflects upon his choices

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Johnny Houston describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Johnny Houston talks about the Black Culture Center at Purdue University and the African Studies Program at Elizabeth City State University

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Johnny Houston talks about his family

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Johnny Houston talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

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DATape

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Johnny Houston talks about his interest in math and science and his chemistry professor at Morehouse College, Henry C. McBay
Johnny Houston describes his experience at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado
Transcript
Now, to Morehouse [College] to talk about the academics. Now did you decide on a major as a freshman?$$When I went to Morehouse as a freshman, I knew I had an analytical mind; I knew I had a curious mind and I told you I had had these two teachers who had mentored me in English in high school. And something annoyed me about them; they would tell me how to do things correctly and why to do it, and then I would find myself doing it and then they--"No, no, you can't do it at this point." I say "Why not?" They say "Because this is the exception to the rule; this is when the rule doesn't apply." (Unclear) "Oh no, this is the exception to"--I say "Well, if it's a rule, it should be a rule." And so I was not--and then in the social sciences, they were talking theories; this is such-and-such-a theory; this is this. I say "Wait a minute, either something is or it isn't." So I liked analytical things and the things that were pretty much straight forward, so I decided the freshman year when I went to Morehouse that I'm sure I'm gonna major in math or science because those--two and two is gonna be four, don't care what you do with it; they're not gonna change. As Mr. Thomas say, "If you heed this compound, this is gonna happen; it's not gonna be these exceptions they keep talking about." So I went there with the understanding that I would either major in mathematics or science because of my very nature, the nature of my mind and what I was most comfortable with. And so I took chemistry my first year there from a professor named Henry C. McBay, perhaps the most renowned African American chemist that we've had in the United States. And he really--he was the most exciting mentor I have had in college; teacher and scholar, he excited me; I took his class, general chemistry, 8:00 in the morning the first year I went to Morehouse. He had a lecture room with 125 seats in it and I would go there and I would sit up near the front; I wanted to hear and learn everything he had to teach. He was a fantastic teacher, great scholar, and he made chemistry come alive, and he excited me; I mean he excited me so much--and the other thing that made me excited was you knew he was a chemist. In the entire--I took two semesters of chemistry from him during my first year at Morehouse, and I only remember him bringing a note or a book to class only once. He was totally prepared mentally with all the details, and he went in there and he could teach chemistry; he knew chemistry and he could teach it. Now there were things in the room like we call the chart of elements [periodic table] and different things he would point to from time to time to refer, but notes he didn't bring. And he had boards that you--you could write on the board and then you could push it up in the air and then pull the other board down and write on it, and then over the other side it had--so we were trying to keep up with him with his writing. But he was a fantastic and inspiring teacher, and he is perhaps the greatest teacher that I have ever had; he inspired me to want to do science and to want to do it well, and I say if I ever taught, I wanted to be like Henry C. McBay.$Now, you did some work with the National Center for Atmospheric Research [NCAR], Boulder [Colorado] right?$$Yes. The idea was and this is one of the things I can never forget my grandmother [Ruth Houston] and mother [Catherine Houston Vinson] for this, they say you learn as much as you can and so what--I talked to some of the professionals--again NAM [National Association of Mathematicians] helped me on this. We were closed out. When I say we, African American mathematicians and scholars were closed out from a lot of the big research labs, a lot of things. But in the '70s [1970s] they start opening up and start letting blacks come out there for internships, or activities during the summer. And so we said, hey we got to take advantage of these things to learn. And they saw that as a forerunner for being able to hire them as full-time employees and also for us to start introducing the students to what they were doing. So, I went out there to Boulder, Colorado and there is something called NOOA, N-O-O-A. It was the National Center for Atmospheric Research, it's on the side of a mountain and it's fantastic. Every morning, five days a week, I had to get up that mountain to that and I had a window in my office and I could look over the mountains. And it was beautiful. In fact, sometime during the lunch hour we would climb some of the smaller cliffs out there--we called them flat irons--just for the heck of it. But that was a fantastic experience because that's when I really got into computer science. They had the first super computer I ever ran into. A large computer was the forerunner to the big super computer and they allowed us to work on it. And you talking about really crunching numbers and we were looking at data they were getting from the atmosphere. And one of the problems they wanted me to work on was unequally spaced data. It was easy to work on data that end up at exact spaces apart, but they found out then in the atmosphere it wasn't like you draw it on the board in the classroom. You had data that was unequally spaced and so the question is--to give an example, if you had one piece of data right here, another piece here, another piece there that was the same distance, well you always knew what was in the middle; it was half the distance between. But what if you got data where one was here then the next piece was there then the next jumped here, how did you handle that data because we needed to know the previous data in order to make predictions about the one up front. And so that was a big problem, how did you handle unequally spaced data. And that was a good computational science problem that I started working on there.$$Okay. Now, also this is at the National Center for Atmospheric Research? And so they had a super computer--this is your first experience with one, what was--can you describe what a super computer was like in '76 [1976]?$$What a super computer was like in '76, I hate to say, but it was like the desktop computers today.$$In terms of the power?$$Yeah. I mean, see in '76 [1976], the only thing that could give--if you had a five hundred and eighty megabytes or if you had one billion gigabytes, only super computers do that. Now you can get a gigabyte on your laptop but back then that was big news; I mean, that was speed. People talk, well wow, you were getting--I don't know whether you ever saw it but the computers back at that time people were talking about thirty-two, thirty-two megabytes or sixty-four, you were on the low computers they had. But you got five hundred and the gigabyte you are the super computer thing.$$Okay.