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Mon, 08.05.1946

Dr. Shirley Jackson, a progressive scientist

Shirley A. Jackson

*Shirley Jackson was born on this date in 1946. She is an African American physicist specializing in Theory.

Shirley Ann Jackson was born in Washington, D. C. where she learned many of her father's principles for life success. At the age of 8, Jackson developed a passion for science, knowledge, and accomplishment. She graduated as valedictorian from Theodore Roosevelt High School and then joined the first African American students to be accepted at MIT.  She received her B. S. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 and her Ph.D. (Physics) in 1973, the first Black female to receive a doctorate in Theoretical Solid State physics from MIT. During that time (1964-68), Jackson became a scholar at Martin Marietta Aircraft Corporation.

Dr. Jackson became a Research Associate in Theoretical Physics at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory from 1973-1974 and served as a Visiting Science Associate at the European Organization for Nuclear Research from 1974 to 1975. Dr. Jackson then returned to Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory as a Research Associate in Theoretical Physics.  She spent 1976-77 at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Aspen Center for Physics. Dr. Jackson also served on the Technical Staff of Bell Telephone Laboratories in theoretical physics from 1976 until 1978.  In 1978, she began working with the Technical Staff of the Scattering and Low Energy Physics Research Laboratory of Bell Telephone Laboratories.

From 1976 to 1991 Dr. Jackson was appointed as Professor of Physics at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.  From 1991 to 1995, she served concurrently as a consultant in semiconductor theory to AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J. Dr. Jackson was appointed as Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as Chair in 1995. Her many awards include: Memberships Candace Award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women MIT Educational Council, 1976 to present. The Board of Trustees for Lincoln University, 1980 to present. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the National Academy of Sciences from 1977-1980. Sigma Xi; Delta Sigma Theta, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and the New York Academy of Sciences.  On July 1, 1999, the Honorable Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson became the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Dr. Jackson is married to Dr. Morris A. Washington, also a physicist. The family has one son, Alan, a graduate of Dartmouth College.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
110 8th St.
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-6000

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