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Jeffrey R. Yost

physicist and engineer, was born in Newark, New Jersey. He was one of four children. His father worked at various maintenance and painting jobs and his mother was a teletype operator. After classes at Brooklyn Technical High School, Gourdine often worked long hours with his father on cleaning and painting jobs. This experience led him to focus on his studies as well as athletics in hopes of an easier life.

His talent in swimming earned him a scholarship offer from the University of Michigan but he instead chose to attend Cornell University He paid his own tuition early in his college career working for a radio and telegraph firm prior to receiving a scholarship for track and field Gourdine competed in sprints low hurdles and the long jump The six foot tall 175 pound Gourdine earned the nickname Flash as a result of both his speed and his favorite ...

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Jeffrey R. Yost

physicist, was born in Evergreen, Alabama. His father, Nelson Henry, and his mother, Mattye McDaniel Henry, were public school teachers who had graduated from Tuskegee Institute. Education was deeply valued in the Henry household, and Warren's parents brought him along to the classroom and encouraged him to study long hours during his adolescent and teenage years. He became interested in science early in life, though he did not have the opportunity to take any science courses until his senior year, when he transferred to Alabama State Normal, a school in Montgomery that concentrated on preparing future elementary school teachers. Following in his parents' footsteps, Henry worked his way through Tuskegee Institute as a night watchman and at a pharmacy, receiving a bachelor of science degree in 1931 majoring in mathematics English and French He also completed course work in chemistry and physics and worked summers on ...

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Audra J. Wolfe

physicist, was born in Woodville, Texas, the oldest son of John Alexander Hunter and Mary Evelyn Virginia (Edwards) Hunter His father a former school principal had moved to Texas from Louisiana soon after his marriage to Edwards who had been one of his students His mother was a teacher home demonstration agent and administrator The young family only stayed in Woodville for about a year before moving again first to La Porte and later to Jennings Island Texas where Hunter s father secured a ninety nine year lease on a property and began developing a ranch Hunter s father taught Hunter and his brother at home for the first five grades Once he was officially enrolled in classes at La Porte Texas Hunter had to cross two and a half miles of open water to reach the classroom He completed his secondary education at Prairie View State Normal ...

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Ronald E. Mickens

physicist, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Benjamin A. Imes, a minister, and Elizabeth Wallace. Imes attended school in Oberlin, Ohio, and the Agricultural and Mechanical High School in Normal, Alabama. Imes then enrolled at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he received his BA in Science in 1903. Upon graduating, Imes accepted a position at Albany Normal Institute in Albany, Georgia, where he taught mathematics and physics. He returned to Fisk in 1910 and for the next five years worked toward an MS in Science while serving as an instructor in science and mathematics. After receiving his master's degree in 1915, Imes entered the University of Michigan's doctoral physics program, where he worked closely with Harrison M. Randall, who had recently returned from Germany. Randall had studied the infrared region of the spectrum in Friedrich Paschen's spectroscopy laboratory at Tübingen ...

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Pamela C. Edwards

physicist, space scientist, and mathematician, was born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Johnson started attending the local elementary school, but in the 1920s and 1930s, the public school system in White Sulphur Springs did not provide educational opportunities for black children beyond the eighth grade. In a 1997 interview with the Richmond Post-Dispatch, Johnson recalled that her parents were determined to give their children every educational opportunity and moved to Institute, West Virginia—120 miles away—in September of every year so that Johnson and her siblings could attend school. Johnson attended West Virginia State College, where she earned a BS in French and Mathematics and explored her interests in physics. Graduating summa cum laude in 1937, she taught high school and elementary school in southwest Virginia before going to work for NASA.

In 1953 Johnson joined NASA s Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia ...

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Charles W. Jr. Carey

physicist, was born in Mount Olive, North Carolina, to Gilbert and Estelle Kornegay, farmers. By the time he reached age six, both of his parents had died and he had gone to live with his maternal grandmother. An excellent student, he was encouraged by his teachers to go to college despite his rather impoverished upbringing, and he managed to obtain a partial scholarship to attend North Carolina Central College (later University), a historically black college in nearby Durham. After receiving a BS in Chemistry in 1956, he studied chemistry and physics for a year at the Bonn University in Germany. In 1957 he married Bettie Hunter, with whom he had three children. That same year he entered the graduate program at the University of California at Berkeley. Upon receiving a PhD in Chemical Physics in 1961 he remained at Berkeley for an additional year as ...

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Crystal A. deGregory

physicist and university president, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Daniel LaMont and Daisy Harris Lawson. Lawson's father, a dean of Louisville's Simmons College, had attended Fisk University where he was a member of the world-renown Fisk Jubilee Singers. Although little is known of his early childhood and education, the younger Lawson followed in his father's footsteps, enrolling at Fisk in 1931. As a mathematics and physics major, Lawson sought the mentorship of Elmer S. Imes. A distinguished physicist, Imes had become the second African American to earn a doctorate in physics when he graduated from the University of Michigan in 1918. Imes had returned to teach at Fisk, his alma mater, in 1930, where he continued to pioneer infrared spectroscopy. Lawson proved a promising student, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1935 with a degree in physics the first ever Fisk student to ...

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Ronald E. Mickens

physicist, engineer, and industrial manager, was born Willie Hobbs in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the daughter of William Hobbs, a plumber and small businessman, and Elizabeth Hobbs, a worker in a resort hotel. Because she was a straight-A high school student with a strong background in mathematics and science, a counselor suggested that she continue her education in engineering. Moore later credited her close-knit and supportive family with spurring her success, explaining that she and her sisters, Alice and Thelma, were “raised with the expectation that they would always do their best and they did” (Green, 4).

Hobbs attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, earning a BS in 1958 and an MS in Electrical Engineering in 1961, after which she worked as a junior engineer at the Bendix Aerospace Systems Division in Ann Arbor from 1961 to 1962 This was followed ...

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Robert Fikes

chemist, physicist, and educator, was born in Arlington, Virginia, the son of Charles Wilson Morrison, an automobile mechanic and inventor, and Ethel Elizabeth Moten. Gifted with the same high intelligence, technical curiosity, and drive that led his father to patent fourteen devices, Harry earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1955 and a doctorate in chemistry in 1960 at the Catholic University of America. His PhD dissertation was titled “Theoretical Investigation of the Excited States of Linear Triatomic Hydrogen.” Morrison's first job was as a research chemist for the National Institutes of Health, a post that he held from 1955 to 1956. From 1960 to 1961 he was a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the National Bureau of Standards, where he was introduced to theoretical statistical mechanics, the field in which he later achieved renown.

Morrison s civilian career was put on hold ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

a pioneer in experimental laser physics, professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers University, was born in his grandparents' house in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where he attended a three-room school at Hopson Plantation. His parents, both sharecroppers, married early, separated, and divorced. He was three years old when he last saw his father, who was later killed in a shootout with police in Chicago, at the age of twenty-six. Shaw's mother remarried in 1942.

Hopson Plantation, established in 1852, was a 3,500-acre operation, with four distinct “Places” where tenant farmers lived, each place having its own barns. Around 1935 just before Shaw was born the Hopson family began switching over from manual human labor and mules to a mechanized operation with tractors A crew of mechanical engineers from International Harvester in Chicago worked every fall at the Hopson Plantation perfecting the ...

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Robert Fikes

physicist and university administrator, was born in Houston, Texas, to Frank Thornton, a laborer, and Mary Jane Sullivan, a midwife. Thornton graduated from Houston Colored High School, which reached only the eleventh grade, and later attended Los Angeles Polytechnic High School to earn credits in language and mathematics to satisfy college entrance requirements. Rejected for military service in the Army Corps of Engineers because of his race, he enrolled in the Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, Ohio, but again was forced to change his plans when he was denied access to the school's racially segregated army training program. Upon entering Howard University in 1918, his perfect test scores in mathematics and science enabled him to attain a position as a student teacher. Thornton graduated from Howard with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Physics in 1922 and earned his master s degree in ...

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Ronald E. Mickens

mathematician and engineer, was born in Chicago, the son of J. Ernest Wilkins, a prominent lawyer, and Lucile Beatrice Robinson, a schoolteacher with a master's degree. Wilkins developed an intense interest in mathematics at an early age, and with the encouragement and support of his parents and a teacher at Parker High School in Chicago, he was able to accelerate his education and finish high school at the age of thirteen. After graduation, he was immediately accepted by the University of Chicago, where he was the youngest student ever admitted by that institution. Within five years, Wilkins received three degrees in Mathematics, a BA in 1940, an MS in 1941, and a PhD in 1942. He was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 1940 and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, in 1942 While at the university he was university table tennis champion ...