Who are the Black Physicists?

"Performance on the athletic field is easy to assess. A basketball goes in a hoop or it doesn't. In areas where performance is not based on the subjective interpretation of observers, African-Americans excel."
--Sylvester Gates, University of Maryland Toll Professor of physics, in a Chemical and Engineering News feature story (July 21, 1998) about the challenges of fairly assessing academic talent in a not-yet-colorblind world.

(L-R) Harry L. Morrison, Julius Taylor, and Ron Mickens
at CAARMS 1997

Physicists (below)

Astronomers & Astrophysicists (click)

The first
African American Physicists

 back to the
main Physics page


Imes and Morehouse
Physics Prizes

Posters and Exihibiton:
African Americans in Space Science

The Physicists - 100
(click on links below for more)

Sylvester J. Gates

Shirley A. Jackson

Arthur B. C. Walker

Olusegun A. Adeyemi -

Ilesanmi Adesida Computer Scientist(?) Physicist(?) at the Beckman Institute of University of Illinois

George E. Alcorn - NASA physicist and inventor

Stephon Alexander - young and very good

Francis K. A. Allotey - received the Prince Philip Gold Medal Award for his Soft X-Ray Spectroscopy known as "Allotey Formalism"

Oluseguna Adeyemi -

Alexander Animalu - early Nigerian Ph.D.

Rutherford H. Atkins -

Aakhut E. Bak -

Oliver Keith Baker - Hampton professor gets 2002 Bouchet awatd

Clayton W. Bates -

Valerie Bennett -

Solomon Bililign -

Edward Alexander Bouchet - first Black Ph.D. in Science (Physics, Yale University, 1876)

Robert Bragg - developed methods of quantitative x-ray diffraction and small angle x-ray scattering

Albert Bridgewater -

Herman Branson - cheated out of a piece of the Nobel Prize?

Charles S. Brown - Lucent Technologies Physicist also promotes development of Physics in Africa

Warren Wesley Buck, III -

Rooselvelt Calbert - NSF

George Campbell - National Academy of Sciences, President of NACME & Cooper Union university

Ernest Coleman -

John W. Coleman -

Edward Colón -

Thierry d'Almeida -

James Davenport - Chair of the Department of Physics at Virginia State University

Peter J. Delfyett - in 2004, one of the 50 most important Blacks in Research science

Darnell Diggs -

Robert M. Dixon -

Halson V. Eagleson - fourth AA Ph.D. in Physics

Donald Edwards -

G. O. S. Ekhaguere - Mathematical Physics in Nigeria

Robert A. Ellis - early pioneer in plasma physics

Sylvester James Gates - first winner of the Americal Physical Society's Bouchet Award.

Roscoe Giles - physicist turned computer scientist- in 2004, one of 50 most important Blacks in Research Science

Larry Gladney - University of Pennsylvania Particle Physicist

Meredith Gourdine - averaging a patent a year since 1971 including the Focus Flow Heat Sink, used for computer chip cooling.

Girma Hailu -

Carlos Handy - Columbia U's first Black Ph.D. is at Clark-Atlanta U

Charlie Harper -

Warren E. Henry - has been called the greatest African American Physicist

Stacy Hill - Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Labs

Wendell T. Hill III - University of Maryland Director of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Sciences and Engineering Atomic Physics

Calvin Howell -

John McNeile Hunter - pioneer in bringing Physics to African Americans

Samuel Elmer Imes - 2nd African American to receive a PhD in Physics (University of Michigan 1918) did fundamental research important to Quantum Theory

Deborah Jackson -

Keith Jackson - Lawrence Berkeley lab Physicist is new Presidenst of NSBP

Shirley Ann Jackson - first Black woman MIT Ph.D., now President of RPI

Floyd James -

Anthony M. Johnson - chair and distinguished professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology

Clifford Johnson - extremely research active mathematical physicist on leave to USC

Joseph Johnson - Bouchet award winner and researcher in fluid and plasma physics

Everette Joseph - at Howard

Abede Kebede - At NCAT works to provide long distance learning to the African Continent

Elaine N. Lalanne -

James R. Lawson -

William A. Lester -

Lonzy Lewis -

Calvin W. Lowe -

Walter P. Lowe -

Walter E. Massey - From Physics to President of Morehouse

Walter S. McAfee -

Stephen C. McGuire -.Southern University strong researcher

Cynthia R. McIntyre - co-founder of the organization National Conference of Black Physics Students

Ronald E. McNair - the physicist/astronaut who died in the Challenger accident

Francis Mensah - Ph.d. from University of Benin will get a second from Howard U.

Ron Mickens - Clark-Atlanta U Professor has published more than 100 papers

Carlyle Moore -

Willie Hobbs Moore - first African American Woman Physicist

Windsor A. Morgan -

Harry L. Morrison - Berkeley professor and researcher

Alfred Msezane - Cark-Atlanta U. winner of 1999 Bouchet award

Sekazi Mtingwa -

Homer A Neal - High Energy Physicist and University President. Winner of 2003 Bouchet Award

Zolili Ndlela -

Christopher Njeh - medical physicist, co-author a co-author of two books, 10 book chapters and 45 papers

Bisi E. Oleyemi -

Robert Johnson Omohundro - 40 papers, 2 patents no Ph.D.

Oyekale Oyedeji -

Percival Perry - Antiguan born laser physicist

Arlie Petters - against gravity in 8 years, from MIT Ph.D. to Princeton professor to a named chair at Duke U.

Phillip Phillips - winner of 2000 Bouchet award

Lloyd A. Quarterman -

Bill Quivers -

Abdul Rahman - PhDs in both physics 1999) and math (2001)

Kennedy Reed - Lawrence Livermore researcher also involved in minority physics education

Louis W. Roberts -

Vincent G. J. Rodgers - Theoretical High Energy Physics at Iowa

Willie Rockward -

Carl A. Rouse -

Muchere C. Russ -

Henry Sampson -

Mesgun Sebhatu - from Eritrea now in the U.S.

Dereje Seifu - from Ethiopia now in the U.S.

Allen Lee Sessoms - currently President Delaware State

Jumi Shabani -

Earl R. Shaw - laser expert -

Milton Dean Slaughter -

Augustine Smith -

Carl Spight - 1971 Princeton Ph.D. is Chief Scientist at Jackson & Tull

James Stith - director of Physics programs in the American Institute of Physics

Julius Henry Taylor - author of The Negro in Science, (Baltimore, MD: Morgan State College Press), 1955

JLawnie Taylor -

Hubert Mack Thaxton - early researcher

Edward Thomas, Jr. -

Robert A. Thornton - early pioneer

Robert L. Thornton - in industry

Arthur N. Thorpe -

Frank Underdown, Jr. - nanoscientist

Demetrius D. Venable - Chair of Physics at Howard U.

Arthur BC Walker - famed solar physicist and x-ray astronomer. Chaired the presidential commission that investigated the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster.

Cardinal Warde - MIT world leading expert on materials, devices and systems for optical information processing

Donnell Walton -

Warren M. Washington - one of the first developers of atmospheric computer models

James E. West - Acoustic Sciences inventor of the pnone chip

Eric M. Wilcots -

Herbert Winful: Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan

J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr. - mathematician & nuclear physicist & engineer; member the National Acdemy of Engineering

James E. Young - Professor Emeritus of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; thesis advisor of Sylvester James Gates and Shirley Ann Jackson!

Also see: Jami M. Valentine's web site on Black Women in Physics and Astronomy

.I dedicate this web site to two of my Physics teachers, Dr. Herman Branson and Dr. Julius Taylor.


I wish to thank three major contributors of information to this web site, Robert Fikes, Jr. of San Diego University and Dr. Hakeem M. Oluseyi of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Dr. Ronald E. Mickens of Atlanta University, and since 2000, Roger Guibinga.

Further references:

Carwell., Blacks in Science: Astrophysicist to Zoologist. (Hicksville, N.Y.: Exposition Press), 1977

Diop, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality, Lawrence Hill and Co., Westport. Presence Africaine, Paris, 1967.

Mickens, The African American Presence in Physics,.

Van Sertima, Blacks in Science, Transactions Books, 1983. p. 258-262.


Web pages under Construction

Katherine G. Johnson -

Alfred Phillips

George W. Reed - worked on atomic bomb

Louis W. Roberts: http://www.lib.lsu.edu/lib/chem/display/roberts.html

Bennett Robinson (maybe Ph.D. Stanford U. 1976?)

Edwin R. Russell - worked on atomic bomb

Herman Thomas: http://denali.gsfc.nasa.gov/personal_pages/thomas/thomas.html

Posters on African Americans in Math and Science

Faces of African Americans in Physics

Black Physics & Astornomy Links





VISITORS since opening 5/27/1997





This website was created by and is maintained by
Dr. Scott Williams, Professor of Mathematics
State University of New York at Buffalo

SEARCH the site

CONTACT Dr. Williams