Louis W. Roberts

born: September 1, 1913, November 3, 1995

place: Jamestown, NY

Louis W. Roberts was educated at Fisk University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1935, and a Master of Science from the University of Michigan in 1937. Roberts served as a Research Assistant for Standard Oil of New Jersey from 1935 to 1936. He was a graduate assistant from 1936-37 while at the University of Michigan. He served as Instructor of Physics at St. Augustine's College from 1937-39. Louis W. Roberts was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Physics at St. Augustine's College from 1941 to 1943 and Associate Professor of Physics at Howard University, 1943-44. Roberts holds eleven patents for electronic devices and is the author of papers on electromagnetism. optics, and microwaves. Louis Roberts served as Director of Research for Microwave Associates from 1950 to the present. He is also the Director of Energy and Environment at the Transportation System Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1977 to the present. The Transportation System Center, as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, develops energy conservation practices for the transportation industries. Currently, transportation accounts for over half of the United State's consumption of petroleum. However, the Energy Conservation Policy Act requires the transportation sector to reduce fuel consumption in all types of vehicles.

During Robert's career he has served as chief of the Optics and Microwave Laboratory in the Electronics Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Louis Roberts founded and was president of a microwave company. His research interests focus on microwave and optical techniques and components, plasma research, solid state component and circuit development.

"Dr. Roberts became manager of the tube division of Sylvania Electric and was the founder and president of Microwave Associates, now known as M-A Com. He was instrumental in the founding and developing of three other microwave companies in the 1950s and 1960s, Bomac Labs in Beverly, Metcom in Salem and Elcon Labs in Peabody. An accomplished author of numerous technical papers and journals on microwave theory, he held patents and rights on several technological innovations. [Louis] Roberts became chief of the microwave lab of NASA's electronics research center in Cambridge in the 1960s and was a pivotal member of the Apollo program as head of optics, photography and microwave electronics. From 1970 to his retirement in 1989, he held various senior positions with the Department of Transportation System Center in Cambridge, becoming its director in 1985. Among his many accomplishments at DOT were his work on the national airspace system plan and air traffic system controls worldwide."

Source: "Dr. Louis W. Roberts, microwave physicist, 82" The Boston Herald (Obituaries) (November 7, 1995), p. 53.

Memberships and Awards

* Member, American Physical Society.
* Member, American Mathematical Society.


American Men and Women and Science. 14th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill), p.4237.

Black Contributors to Science and Energy Technology. U.S. Department of Energy (Washington, D.C..: Office of Public Affairs), 1979, p. 21. DOE/OPA-0035(79)

Blacks in Science and Medicine. Vivian O. Sammons. (New York, NY: Hemisphere Publishing Corp.), 1990. p.202.

The Negro in Science. Julius Taylor, eds. (Baltimore, MD: Morgan State College Press), 1955. p. 190-191.



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