Department of Physics
This document is a compilation of materials related to both the National Society of Black Physicists' (NSBP) exhibit and the general themes of the American Physical Society (APS) Centennial Celebration. The three essays in Part I are based on presentations given at the XXIV Day of Scientific Lectures and 22nd Annual Meeting of the NSBP held March 19-22, 1999, in Atlanta, Georgia. The first essay, "Can History Predict the Future?" is written by Professor Kenneth R. Manning, an eminent historian of science, who is at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the second essay, "The National Society of Black Physicists : Reflections on Its Beginning," James C. Davenport, Professor of physics at Virginia State University, reviews the reasons for the creation of the NSBP, the people significantly involved in its formation and early leadership, and discusses the impact the organization has had on the perception of African Americans within the general physics community. In the last essay, "Where There's a Way There's a Will," Harry Morrison, Professor of physics at the University of California-Berkeley, gives personal reminisces of his graduate experience at the Catholic University of America.
Part II consists of two articles by Ronald E. Mickens, Professor of Physics at Clark Atlanta University. The first discusses the professional careers of Edward A. Bouchet, the first African American to obtain the doctorate in any subject from an American university, and Elmer S. Imes, a physicist who made fundamental experimental contributions to the spectroscopy of diatomic molecules. The second article is on the scientific and professional activities of Hubert Mack Thaxton. While a fascinating personality and a contributor of important work to several areas of both engineering and scientific research/development, he is unknown to essentially all of the African American scientific community.
Part III gives summaries and photographs of all the individuals featured on the NSBP's display. The final item is a brief listing of books and articles that give historical and recent sources on the lives, contributions and careers of African Americans to science.
Mickens, Ronald E., "The African American Presence in Physics" (1999). Clark Atlanta University Faculty Publications. 10.