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Condoleezza Rice, American Political Scientist   Leave a comment


Condoleezza Rice (play /ˌkɒndəˈlzə/; born November 14, 1954) is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush. Rice was the first female African-American secretary of state, as well as the second African American (after Colin Powell), and the second woman (after Madeleine Albright). Rice was President Bush’s National Security Advisor during his first term, making her the first woman to serve in that position. Before joining the Bush administration, she was a professor of political science at Stanford University where she served as Provost from 1993 to 1999. Rice also served on the National Security Council as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor to President George H.W. Bush during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification.

Following her confirmation as Secretary of State, Rice pioneered the policy of Transformational Diplomacy, with a focus on democracy in the Greater Middle East. Her emphasis on supporting democratically elected governments faced challenges as Hamas captured a popular majority in Palestinian elections, and influential countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt maintained authoritarian systems with U.S. support. While Secretary of State, she chaired the Millennium Challenge Corporation‘s board of directors.[1]

In March 2009, Rice returned to Stanford University as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.[2][3] In September 2010, Rice became a faculty member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a director of its Global Center for Business and the Economy.[4]

Early life

Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama the only child of Angelena Ray Rice, a high school science, music and oratory teacher, and John Wesley Rice, Jr., a high school guidance counselor and Presbyterian minister.[5] Her name, Condoleezza, derives from the music-related term, con dolcezza, which in Italian means, “with sweetness”. The family had roots in the American South going back to the pre-Civil War era, and worked as sharecroppers for a time after emancipation. Rice grew up in the Titusville[citation needed] neighborhood at a time when the South was racially segregated.

Early education

Condoleezza Rice as an undergraduate student at the University of Denver

Rice began to learn French, music, figure skating and ballet at the age of three.[6] At the age of fifteen, she began piano classes with the goal of becoming a concert pianist.[7] While Rice ultimately did not become a professional pianist, she still practices often and plays with a chamber music group. She accompanied cellist Yo-Yo Ma playing Brahms’s Violin Sonata in D Minor at Constitution Hall in April 2002 for the National Medal of Arts Awards.[8]

High school and university education

In 1967, the family moved to Denver, Colorado. She attended St. Mary’s Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, graduating in 1971. After studying piano at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Rice enrolled at the University of Denver, where her father was then serving as an assistant dean.

Rice’s initial college major was piano, but after realizing she did not have the talent to play professionally, she began to consider an alternative major.[7][9] She attended an international politics course taught by Josef Korbel, which sparked her interest in the Soviet Union and international relations. Rice later described Korbel (who was the father of Madeleine Albright, a future U.S. Secretary of State), as a central figure in her life.[10]

In 1974, at age 19, Rice was inducted into the honor society Phi Beta Kappa, and was awarded a B.A., cum laude, in political science by the University of Denver. While at the University of Denver she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Gamma Delta chapter.[11] She obtained a master’s degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1975. She first worked in the State Department in 1977, during the Carter administration, as an intern in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In 1981, at the age of 26, she received her Ph.D. in political science from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Her dissertation centered on military policy and politics in what was then the communist state of Czechoslovakia.[12]

Early political views

Rice was a Democrat until 1982, when she changed her political affiliation to Republican, in part because she disagreed with the foreign policy of Democratic President Jimmy Carter,[13][14] and because of the influence of her father, who was Republican. As she told the 2000 Republican National Convention, “My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did.”[15]

Academic career

Condoleezza Rice during a 2005 interview on ITV in London

Rice was hired by Stanford University as an assistant professor of political science (1981–1987). She was promoted to associate professor in 1987, a post she held until 1993. She was a specialist on the Soviet Union and gave lectures on the subject for the Berkeley-Stanford joint program led by UC Berkeley Professor George Breslauer in the mid-1980s.

At a 1985 meeting of arms control experts at Stanford, Rice’s performance drew the attention of Brent Scowcroft, who had served as National Security Advisor under Gerald Ford.[16] With the election of George H. W. Bush, Scowcroft returned to the White House as National Security Adviser in 1989, and he asked Rice to become his Soviet expert on the United States National Security Council. According to R. Nicholas Burns, President Bush was “captivated” by Rice, and relied heavily on her advice in his dealings with Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin.[16]

Because she would have been ineligible for tenure at Stanford if she had been absent for more than two years, she returned there in 1991. She was taken under the wing of George P. Shultz (Ronald Reagan‘s Secretary of State from 1982–1989), who was a fellow at the Hoover Institution. Shultz included Rice in a “luncheon club” of intellectuals who met every few weeks to discuss foreign affairs.[16] In 1992, Shultz, who was a board member of Chevron Corporation, recommended Rice for a spot on the Chevron board. Chevron was pursuing a $10 billion development project in Kazakhstan and, as a Soviet specialist, Rice knew the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. She traveled to Kazakhstan on Chevron’s behalf and, in honor of her work, in 1993, Chevron named a 129,000-ton supertanker SS Condoleezza Rice.[16] During this period, Rice was also appointed to the boards of Transamerica Corporation (1991) and Hewlett-Packard (1992).

At Stanford, in 1992, Rice volunteered to serve on the search committee to replace outgoing president Donald Kennedy. The committee ultimately recommended Gerhard Casper, the Provost of the University of Chicago. Casper met Rice during this search, and was so impressed that in 1993, he appointed her as Stanford’s Provost, the chief budget and academic officer of the university in 1993[16] and she also was granted tenure and became full professor.[17] Rice was the first female, first minority, and youngest Provost in Stanford history.[18] She was also named a senior fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a senior fellow (by courtesy) of the Hoover Institution.

Provost promotion

Former Stanford President Gerhard Casper said the university was “most fortunate in persuading someone of Professor Rice’s exceptional talents and proven ability in critical situations to take on this task. Everything she has done, she has done well; I have every confidence that she will continue that record as provost.”[19] Acknowledging Rice’s unique character, Casper told the New Yorker in 2002 that it “would be disingenuous for me to say that the fact that she was a woman, the fact that she was black and the fact that she was young weren’t in my mind.”[20]

Balancing school budget

As Stanford’s Provost, Rice was responsible for managing the university’s multi-billion dollar budget. The school at that time was running a deficit of $20 million. When Rice took office, she promised that the budget deficit would be balanced within “two years.” Coit Blacker, Stanford’s deputy director of the Institute for International Studies, said there “was a sort of conventional wisdom that said it couldn’t be done… that [the deficit] was structural, that we just had to live with it.” Two years later, Rice announced that the deficit had been eliminated and the university was holding a record surplus of over $14.5 million.[21]

Special interest issues

Rice drew protests when, as provost, she departed from the practice of applying affirmative action to tenure decisions and unsuccessfully sought to consolidate the university’s ethnic community centers.[22]

Return to Stanford

During a farewell interview in early December 2008, Rice indicated she would return to Stanford and the Hoover Institution, “back west of the Mississippi where I belong,” but beyond writing and teaching did not specify what her role would be.[23] Rice’s plans for a return to campus were elaborated in an interview with the Stanford Report in January 2009.[24] She returned to Stanford as a political science professor and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution on March 1, 2009.[25]

Music

Yo-Yo Ma with Rice after performing together at the 2001 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal Awards, April 22, 2002.

Rice is an accomplished pianist and has performed in public since she was a young girl. At the age of 15, she played Mozart with the Denver Symphony, and while Secretary of State she played regularly with a chamber music group in Washington.[8] She does not play professionally, but has performed at diplomatic events at embassies, including a performance for Queen Elizabeth II,[26][27] and she has performed in public with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and singer Aretha Franklin.[28] In 2005, Rice accompanied Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick, a 21 year-old soprano, for a benefit concert for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association at the Kennedy Center in Washington.[29][30] She has stated that her favorite composer is Johannes Brahms, because she thinks Brahms’s music is “passionate but not sentimental.” On a complementary note, on Friday, April 10, 2009 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, she stated that her favorite band is Led Zeppelin.

Private sector

Rice headed Chevron’s committee on public policy until she resigned on January 15, 2001, to become National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. Chevron, for unspecified reasons, honored Rice by naming an oil tanker Condoleezza Rice after her, but controversy led to its being renamed Altair Voyager.[31]

She also served on the board of directors for the Carnegie Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the Chevron Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Rand Corporation, the Transamerica Corporation, and other organizations.

In 1992, Rice founded the Center for New Generation, an after-school program created to raise the high school graduation numbers of East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park, California.[32] After her tenure as secretary of state, Rice was approached in February 2009 to fill an open position as a Pac-10 Commissioner,[33] but chose instead to return to Stanford University as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.

Early political career

In 1986, while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rice served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

From 1989 through March 1991 (the period of the fall of Berlin Wall and the final days of the Soviet Union), she served in President George H.W. Bush’s administration as Director, and then Senior Director, of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council, and a Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In this position, Rice helped develop Bush’s and Secretary of State James Baker‘s policies in favor of German reunification. She impressed Bush, who later introduced her to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, as the one who “tells me everything I know about the Soviet Union.”[34]

In 1991, Rice returned to her teaching position at Stanford, although she continued to serve as a consultant on the former Soviet Bloc for numerous clients in both the public and private sectors. Late that year, California Governor Pete Wilson appointed her to a bipartisan committee that had been formed to draw new state legislative and congressional districts in the state.

In 1997, she sat on the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training in the Military.

During George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential election campaign, Rice took a one-year leave of absence from Stanford University to help work as his foreign policy advisor. The group of advisors she led called itself The Vulcans in honor of the monumental Vulcan statue, which sits on a hill overlooking her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Rice would later go on to give a noteworthy speech at the 2000 Republican National Convention. The speech asserted that “…America’s armed forces are not a global police force. They are not the world’s 911.”[15][35]

National Security Advisor (2001–2005)

Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld listen to President George W. Bush speak about the Middle East on June 24, 2002

On December 17, 2000, Rice was named as National Security Advisor and stepped down from her position at Stanford.[36] She was the first woman to occupy the post. Rice earned the nickname of “Warrior Princess,” reflecting strong nerve and delicate manners.[37]

On January 18, 2003, the Washington Post reported that Rice was involved in crafting Bush’s position on race-based preferences. Rice has stated that “while race-neutral means are preferable,” race can be taken into account as “one factor among others” in university admissions policies.[38]

Terrorism

During the summer of 2001, Rice met with CIA Director George Tenet to discuss the possibilities and prevention of terrorist attacks on American targets. On July 10, 2001, Rice met with Tenet in what he referred to as an “emergency meeting”[39] held at the White House at Tenet’s request to brief Rice and the NSC staff about the potential threat of an impending al Qaeda attack. Rice responded by asking Tenet to give a presentation on the matter to Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft.[40]

When asked about the meeting in 2006, Rice asserted she did not recall the specific meeting, commenting that she had met repeatedly with Tenet that summer about terrorist threats. Moreover, she stated that it was “incomprehensible” to her that she had ignored terrorist threats two months before the September 11 attacks.[39]

In August, 2010, Rice received the U.S. Air Force Academy’s 2009 Thomas D. White National Defense Award for contributions to the defense and security of the United States.[41]

Subpoenas

In March 2004, Rice declined to testify before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission). The White House claimed executive privilege under constitutional separation of powers and cited past tradition. Under pressure, Bush agreed to allow her to testify[42] so long as it did not create a precedent of presidential staff being required to appear before United States Congress when so requested. Her appearance before the commission on April 8, 2004, was accepted by the Bush administration in part because she was not appearing directly before Congress. She thus became the first sitting National Security Advisor to testify on matters of policy.

In April 2007, Rice rejected, on grounds of executive privilege, a House subpoena regarding the prewar claim that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger.[43]

Iraq

Rice was a proponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. After Iraq delivered its declaration of weapons of mass destruction to the United Nations on December 8, 2002, Rice wrote an editorial for The New York Times entitled “Why We Know Iraq Is Lying”.[44]

In October 2003, Rice was named to run the Iraq Stabilization Group, to “quell violence in Iraq and Afghanistan and to speed the reconstruction of both countries.”[45] By May 2004, the Washington Post reported that the council had become virtually nonexistent.[46]

Leading up to the 2004 presidential election, Rice became the first National Security Advisor to campaign for an incumbent president. She stated that while: “Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the actual attacks on America, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a part of the Middle East that was festering and unstable, [and] was part of the circumstances that created the problem on September 11.”[47]

Weapons of mass destruction

In a January 10, 2003 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Rice made headlines by stating regarding Iraqi WMD: “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”[48]

After the invasion, when it became clear that Iraq did not have nuclear WMD capability, critics called Rice’s claims a “hoax,” “deception” and “demagogic scare tactic.”[49][50] “Either she missed or overlooked numerous warnings from intelligence agencies seeking to put caveats on claims about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, or she made public claims that she knew to be false,” wrote Dana Milbank and Mike Allen in the Washington Post.[51]

Rice characterized the August 6, 2001 President’s Daily Brief Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US as historical information. Rice indicated “It was information based on old reporting.”[52] Sean Wilentz of Salon magazine suggested that the PDB contained current information based on continuing investigations, including that Bin Laden wanted to “bring the fighting to America.”[53]

Role in authorizing use of torture techniques

A Senate Intelligence Committee reported that on July 17, 2002, Rice met with CIA director George Tenet to personally convey the Bush administration’s approval of the proposed waterboarding of alleged Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah. “Days after Dr Rice gave Mr Tenet her approval, the Justice Department approved the use of waterboarding in a top secret August 1 memo.”[54] Waterboarding is considered to be torture by a wide range of authorities, including legal experts,[55][56][57][58] war veterans,[59][60] intelligence officials,[61] military judges,[62] human rights organizations,[63][64][65][66][67][68][69][70] the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder,[71] and many senior politicians, including U.S. President Barack Obama.[72]

In 2003 Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General John Ashcroft met with the CIA again and were briefed on the use of waterboarding and other methods including week-long sleep deprivation, forced nudity and the use of stress positions. The Senate report says that the Bush administration officials “reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy”.[54]

The Senate report also “suggests Miss Rice played a more significant role than she acknowledged in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee submitted in the autumn.”[54] At that time, she had acknowledged attending meetings to discuss the CIA interrogations, but she claimed that she could not recall the details, and she “omitted her direct role in approving the programme in her written statement to the committee.”[73]

In a conversation with a student at Stanford University in April 2009, Rice stated that she did not authorize the CIA to use the enhanced interrogation techniques. Said Rice, “I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency that they had policy authorization, subject to the Justice Department’s clearance. That’s what I did.”[74] She added, “We were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture. And so, by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture.”[74]

Secretary of State (2005–2009)

Main article: Condoleezza Rice’s tenure as Secretary of State

Rice signs official papers after receiving the oath of office during her ceremonial swearing in at the Department of State. Watching on are, from left, Laura Bush, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President George W. Bush.

On November 16, 2004, Bush nominated Rice to be Secretary of State. On January 26, 2005, the Senate confirmed her nomination by a vote of 85–13. The negative votes, the most cast against any nomination for Secretary of State since 1825, came from Senators who, according to Senator Barbara Boxer, wanted “to hold Dr. Rice and the Bush administration accountable for their failures in Iraq and in the war on terrorism.” Their reasoning was that Rice had acted irresponsibly in equating Saddam’s regime with Islamist terrorism and some could not accept her previous record. Senator Robert Byrd voted against Rice’s appointment, indicating that she “has asserted that the President holds far more of the war power than the Constitution grants him.”[75]

As Secretary of State, Rice championed the expansion of democratic governments. Rice stated that the September 11 attacks in 2001 were rooted in “oppression and despair” and so, the US must advance democratic reform and support basic rights throughout the greater Middle East.[76] Rice also reformed and restructured the department, as well as US diplomacy as a whole. “Transformational Diplomacy” is the goal that Rice describes as “work[ing] with our many partners around the world… [and] build[ing] and sustain[ing] democratic, well-governed states that will respond to the needs of their people and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system.”[77]

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Condoleezza Rice (2007)

As Secretary of State, Rice traveled widely and initiated many diplomatic efforts on behalf of the Bush administration. Her diplomacy relied on strong presidential support and is considered to be the continuation of style defined by former Republican secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and James Baker.[78]

Speculation on 2008 presidential campaign, views on successor

There had been previous speculation that Rice would run for the Republican nomination in the 2008 primaries, which she ruled out on Meet the Press. On February 22, 2008, Rice played down any suggestion that she may be on the Republican vice presidential ticket, saying, “I have always said that the one thing that I have not seen myself doing is running for elected office in the United States.”[79] During an interview with the editorial board of the Washington Times on March 27, 2008, Rice said she was “not interested” in running for vice president.[80] In a Gallup poll from March 24 to 27, 2008, Rice was mentioned by eight percent of Republican respondents to be their first choice to be Senator John McCain’s Republican Vice-Presidential running mate, slightly behind Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.[81]

Republican strategist Dan Senor said on ABC’s This Week on April 6, 2008, that “Condi Rice has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning for” the vice presidential nomination. He based this assessment on her attendance of Grover Norquist‘s Americans for Tax Reform conservative leader’s meeting on March 26, 2008.[82] In response to Senor’s comments, Rice’s spokesperson denied that Rice is seeking the vice presidential nomination, saying, “If she is actively seeking the vice presidency, then she’s the last one to know about it.”[83]

In August 2008, the speculation about a potential McCain-Rice ticket finally ended when then-Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska was selected as McCain’s running-mate.

In early December 2008, Rice praised President-elect Barack Obama‘s selection of New York Senator Hillary Clinton to succeed her as Secretary of State, saying “she’s terrific”. Rice, who has spoken to Clinton since her selection, said Clinton “is someone of intelligence and she’ll do a great job”.[84]

Political positions

Terrorist activity

Rice’s policy as Secretary of State viewed counter-terrorism as a matter of being preventative, and not merely punitive. In an interview on December 18, 2005, Rice stated: “We have to remember that in this war on terrorism, we’re not talking about criminal activity where you can allow somebody to commit the crime and then you go back and you arrest them and you question them. If they succeed in committing their crime, then hundreds or indeed thousands of people die. That’s why you have to prevent, and intelligence is the long pole in the tent in preventing attacks.”[85]

Rice meets with Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta to discuss anti-terrorism efforts

Rice has also been a frequent critic of the intelligence community’s inability to cooperate and share information, which she believes is an integral part of preventing terrorism. In 2000, one year after Osama bin Laden told Time “[h]ostility toward America is a religious duty,”[35] and a year before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Rice warned on WJR Detroit: “You really have to get the intelligence agencies better organized to deal with the terrorist threat to the United States itself. One of the problems that we have is a kind of split responsibility, of course, between the CIA and foreign intelligence and the FBI and domestic intelligence.” She then added: “There needs to be better cooperation because we don’t want to wake up one day and find out that Osama bin Laden has been successful on our own territory.”[86]

Rice also has promoted the idea that counterterrorism involves not only confronting the governments and organizations that promote and condone terrorism, but also the ideologies that fuel terrorism. In a speech given on July 29, 2005, Rice asserted that “[s]ecuring America from terrorist attack is more than a matter of law enforcement. We must also confront the ideology of hatred in foreign societies by supporting the universal hope of liberty and the inherent appeal of democracy.”[87]

In January 2005, during Bush’s second inaugural ceremonies, Rice first used the term “outposts of tyranny” to refer to countries felt to threaten world peace and human rights. This term has been called a descendant of Bush’s phrase, “Axis of Evil“, used to describe Iraq, Iran and North Korea. She identified six such “outposts” in which she said the United States has a duty to foster freedom: Cuba, Zimbabwe, Burma and Belarus, as well as Iran and North Korea.

Abortion

Rice said “If you go back to 2000 when I helped the president in the campaign. I said that I was, in effect, kind of libertarian on this issue. And meaning by that, that I have been concerned about a government role in this issue. I am a strong proponent of parental choice—of parental notification. I am a strong proponent of a ban on late-term abortion. These are all things that I think unite people and I think that that’s where we should be. I’ve called myself at times mildly pro-choice.”[88] She would not want the federal government “forcing its views on one side or the other.”[89]

Rice said she believes President Bush “has been in exactly the right place” on abortion, “which is we have to respect the culture of life and we have to try and bring people to have respect for it and make this as rare a circumstance as possible” However, she added that she has been “concerned about a government role” but has “tended to agree with those who do not favor federal funding for abortion, because I believe that those who hold a strong moral view on the other side should not be forced to fund” the procedure.[89]

Discrimination

Rice experienced firsthand the injustices of Birmingham’s discriminatory laws and attitudes. She was instructed to walk proudly in public and to use the facilities at home rather than subject herself to the indignity of “colored” facilities in town. As Rice recalls of her parents and their peers, “they refused to allow the limits and injustices of their time to limit our horizons.”[90]

However, Rice recalls various times in which she suffered discrimination on account of her race, which included being relegated to a storage room at a department store instead of a regular dressing room, being barred from going to the circus or the local amusement park, being denied hotel rooms, and even being given bad food at restaurants.[91] Also, while Rice was mostly kept by her parents from areas where she might face discrimination, she was very aware of the civil rights struggle and the problems of Jim Crow laws in Birmingham. A neighbor, Juliemma Smith, described how “[Condi] used to call me and say things like, ‘Did you see what Bull Connor did today?’ She was just a little girl and she did that all the time. I would have to read the newspaper thoroughly because I wouldn’t know what she was going to talk about.”[91] Rice herself said of the segregation era: “Those terrible events burned into my consciousness. I missed many days at my segregated school because of the frequent bomb threats.”[91]

During the violent days of the Civil Rights Movement, Reverend Rice armed himself and kept guard over the house while Condoleezza practiced the piano inside. According to J.L. Chestnut, Reverend Rice called local civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth and his followers “uneducated, misguided Negroes.”[92][93] Also, Reverend Rice instilled in his daughter and students that black people would have to prove themselves worthy of advancement, and would simply have to be “twice as good” to overcome injustices built into the system.[94] Rice said “My parents were very strategic, I was going to be so well prepared, and I was going to do all of these things that were revered in white society so well, that I would be armored somehow from racism. I would be able to confront white society on its own terms.”[95] While the Rices supported the goals of the civil rights movement, they did not agree with the idea of putting their child in harm’s way.[91]

Rice was eight when her schoolmate Denise McNair, aged 11, was killed in the bombing of the primarily black Sixteenth Street Baptist Church by white supremacists on September 15, 1963. Rice has commented upon that moment in her life:

I remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father’s church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise McNair. The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations. But those fears were not propelled forward, those terrorists failed.[96]

Condoleezza Rice, Commencement 2004, Vanderbilt University, May 13, 2004

Rice states that growing up during racial segregation taught her determination against adversity, and the need to be “twice as good” as non-minorities.[97] Segregation also hardened her stance on the right to bear arms; Rice has said in interviews that if gun registration had been mandatory, her father’s weapons would have been confiscated, leaving them defenseless against Ku Klux Klan nightriders.[91]

Public perception and criticism

Rice makes an appearance at Boston College, where she is greeted by Father William Leahy.

Rice has been criticized both in the U.S. and abroad for her involvement in the George W. Bush administration. Protesters have sought to exclude her from appearing at schools such as Princeton University[98] and Boston College,[99] which prompted the resignation of an adjunct professor at Boston College. There has also been an effort to protest her public speeches abroad.[100]

Time and Forbes magazines

Rice has appeared four times on the Time 100, Time magazine‘s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Rice is one of only nine people in the world whose influence has been considered enduring enough to have made the list—first compiled in 1999 as a retrospective of the 20th century and made an annual feature in 2004—so frequently. However, the list contains people who have the influence to change for better or for worse, and Time has also accused her of squandering her influence, stating on February 1, 2007, that her “accomplishments as Secretary of State have been modest, and even those have begun to fade” and that she “has been slow to recognize the extent to which the U.S.’s prestige has declined.”[101] In its March 19, 2007 issue it followed up stating that Rice was “executing an unmistakable course correction in U.S. foreign policy.”[102]

In 2004 and 2005, she was ranked as the most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine and number two in 2006 (following the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel).[103]

Criticism from Senator Barbara Boxer

California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer has also criticized Rice in relation to the war in Iraq: “I personally believe—this is my personal view—that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth.”[104]

On January 11, 2007, Boxer, in a debate over the war in Iraq, said, “Now, the issue is who pays the price, who pays the price? I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, within immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families, and I just want to bring us back to that fact.”

The New York Post and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow called Boxer’s statement an attack on Rice’s status as a single, childless female and referred to Boxer’s comments as “a great leap backward for feminism.”[105] Rice later echoed Snow’s remarks, saying “I thought it was okay to not have children, and I thought you could still make good decisions on behalf of the country if you were single and didn’t have children.” Boxer responded to the controversy by saying “They’re getting this off on a non-existent thing that I didn’t say. I’m saying, she’s like me, we do not have families who are in the military.”[106]

Conservative criticism

According to the Washington Post in late July 2008, former Undersecretary of State and U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton was referring to Rice and her allies in the Bush Administration whom he believes have abandoned earlier hard-line principles when he said: “Once the collapse begins, adversaries have a real opportunity to gain advantage. In terms of the Bush presidency, this many reversals this close to the end destroys credibility… It appears there is no depth to which this administration will not sink in its last days.”[107]

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly criticized Rice after their terms in office ended.[clarification needed] In 2011 she finally responded, saying that Rumsfeld “Doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”[108]

Former Vice President Dick Cheney‘s new book, In My Time suggested that Rice had misled the president about nuclear diplomacy with North Korea, saying she was naïve. He called her advice on the issue “utterly misleading.” He also chided Rice for clashing with White House advisors on the tone of the president’s speeches on Iraq. And says the secretary of state “tearfully admitted” that the Bush administration should not have apologized for a claim the president made in his 2003 State of the Union address on the supposed search for uranium. She “came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk, and tearfully admitted I had been right,” Cheney wrote. Rice responded: “It certainly doesn’t sound like me, now, does it?”, saying that she viewed the book as an “attack on my integrity.”[109]

Rice has also been criticized by other conservatives. Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard accused her of jettisoning the Bush Doctrine.[110] Other conservatives criticized her for her approach to Russia policy and other issues.[111] Many criticize Rice in particular for her opposition to the change of strategy in Iraq and surge in U.S. forces that began in 2007.[112]

Views within the black community

Rice’s approval ratings from January 2005 to September 2006

Rice’s ratings decreased following a heated battle for her confirmation as Secretary of State and following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Rice’s rise within the George W. Bush administration initially drew a largely positive response from many in the black community. In a 2002 survey, then National Security Advisor Rice was viewed favorably by 41% of black respondents, but another 40% did not know Rice well enough to rate her and her profile remained comparatively obscure.[113] As her role increased, some black commentators began to express doubts concerning Rice’s stances and statements on various issues. In 2005, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson asked, “How did [Rice] come to a worldview so radically different from that of most black Americans?”[114]

Rice and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer participate in a news conference at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, May 23, 2007.

Other writers have also noted what they perceive to be a distance between Rice and the black community. The Black Commentator magazine described sentiments given in a speech by Rice at a black gathering as “more than strange—they were evidence of profound personal disorientation. A black woman who doesn’t know how to talk to black people is of limited political use to an administration that has few black allies.”[115] When Rice invoked the civil rights movement to clarify her position on the invasion of Iraq, Margaret Kimberley, another writer for The Black Commentator, felt that her use of the rhetoric was “offensive.” Stan Correy, an interviewer from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, characterized many blacks involved with civil rights and politics as viewing this rhetoric as “cynical.”[116] Rice was also described by Bill Fletcher, Jr., the former leader of the TransAfrica Forum, a foreign policy lobbying organization in Washington, D.C., as “very cold and distant and only black by accident.”[113] In August 2005, American musician, actor, and social activist Harry Belafonte, who serves on the Board of TransAfrica, referred to blacks in the Bush administration as “black tyrants.”[117] Belafonte’s comments received mixed reactions.[113]

Rice has defended herself from such criticism on several occasions. During a September 14, 2005 interview, she said, “Why would I worry about something like that? … The fact of the matter is I’ve been black all my life. Nobody needs to tell me how to be black.”[118]

Notable black commentators have defended Rice, including Mike Espy,[119] Andrew Young, C. Delores Tucker (chair of the National Congress of Black Women),[120] Clarence Page,[121] Colbert King,[122] Dorothy Height (chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women)[122] and Kweisi Mfume (former Congressman and former CEO of the NAACP).[123]

Family and personal life

In the 1970s, Condoleezza Rice dated and was briefly engaged to American football player Rick Upchurch. She left him because, according to her biographer Marcus Mabry, “She knew the relationship wasn’t going to work.”[124] Her mother, Angelena Rice, died of breast cancer in August 1985, aged 61. In July 1989, Condoleezza’s father, John Wesley Rice, married Clara Bailey,[125] to whom he remained married until his death, in December 2000, aged 77.[126] He was a football and basketball coach throughout his life.[127]

Rice has never married and has no children

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Dr. Benjamin Solomon, “Ben” Carson, Presidential Medal of Freedom   2 comments


Benjamin Solomon “Ben” Carson, Sr., M.D., (born September 18, 1951) is an American neurosurgeon and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States by President George W. Bush in 2008.

Early lifeCarson was born in Detroit, Michigan and was raised by his single mother, Sonya Carson. He struggled academically throughout elementary school, but started to excel in middle school and throughout high school. After graduating with honors from his high school, he attended Yale University, where he earned a degree in Psychology. He chose to go to Yale because in College Bowl, an old TV channel, he saw Yale compete against and defeat many other colleges in knowledge, including Harvard. Ben wanted to participate in College Bowl, but the channel was stopped. From Yale, he attended University of Michigan Medical School, where his interest shifted fervently encouraged him to read books so that he could gradually gain knowledge.

CareerCarson’s excellent eye-hand coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills made him a gifted surgeon [1]. After medical school he became a neurosurgery resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. After starting off as an adult neurosurgeon Carson became more interested in pediatrics; the investment of operating on children satisfied him more than the investment on operating on adults. With children he believed that “what you see is what you get,”[2] when they’re in pain they clearly show it with a frown on their face or when they are happy they show it by smiling brightly. He realized that the investment from spending enormous amount of time on operating on children resulted in adding fifty to sixty years to their life compared to the investment from spending the same amount of time on operating on adults and those patients dying less than ten years due to other complications. Realizing this, he switched into the pediatric department and since then has been the head of pediatric neurosurgeon department and successfully completed many operations [3]. At age 33, he became the hospital’s youngest major division director, as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery. Carson’s other surgical innovations have included the first intrauterine procedure to relieve pressure on the brain of a hydrocephalic fetal twin, and a hemispherectomy, in which a young girl suffering from uncontrollable seizures had one half of her brain removed.

In 1987, Carson made medical history by being the first surgeon in the world to successfully separate siamese twins (the Binder twins) conjoined at the back of the head (craniopagus twins). Operations to separate twins joined in this way had always failed, resulting in the death of one or both of the infants. Carson agreed to undertake the operation. The 70-member surgical team, led by Carson, worked for 22 hours. At the end, the twins were successfully separated and can now survive independently. Carson recalls:

“ “I looked at that situation. I said, ‘Why is it that this is such a disaster?’ and it was because they would always exsanguinate. They would bleed to death, and I said, ‘There’s got to be a way around that. These are modern times.’ This was back in 1987. I was talking to a friend of mine, who was a cardiothoracic surgeon, who was the chief of the division, and I said, ‘You guys operate on the heart in babies, how do you keep them from exsanguinating’ and he says, ‘Well, we put them in hypothermic arrest.’ I said, ‘Is there any reason that — if we were doing a set of Siamese twins that were joined at the head — that we couldn’t put them into hypothermic arrest, at the appropriate time, when we’re likely to lose a lot of blood?’ and he said, ‘No way .’ I said, ‘Wow, this is great.’ Then I said, ‘Why am I putting my time into this? I’m not going to see any Siamese twins.’ So I kind of forgot about it, and lo and behold, two months later, along came these doctors from Germany, presenting this case of Siamese twins. And, I was asked for my opinion, and I then began to explain the techniques that should be used, and how we would incorporate hypothermic arrest, and everybody said ‘Wow! That sounds like it might work.’ And, my colleagues and I, a few of us went over to Germany. We looked at the twins. We actually put in scalp expanders, and five months later we brought them over and did the operation, and lo and behold, it worked.”[4] ”

Awards and honorsBen Carson has received numerous honors and many awards over the years, including over 61 honorary doctorate degrees. He was also a member of the American Academy of Achievement, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, the Yale Corporation (the governing body of Yale University), and many other prestigious organizations. He sits on many boards including the Board of Directors of Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, and America’s Promise. He was also the president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. In 2007, Carson was inducted into the Indiana Wesleyan University Society of World Changers and received an honorary doctorate while speaking at the university. He returned to IWU the following year when his friend, Tony Dungy, was also inducted into the society.[5] On June 19, 2008, Carson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. He is a recipient of the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal and the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, and was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the United States National Academy of Sciences

Publications and appearancesCarson has written four bestselling books published by Zondervan, an international Christian media and publishing company: Gifted Hands, The Big Picture, Take the Risk, and Think Big. The first book is an autobiography and two are about his personal philosophies of success that incorporate hard work and a faith in God; Carson is a Seventh-day Adventist. In a debate with Richard Dawkins, Francis Collins, and Daniel Dennett, Carson stated he doesn’t believe in evolution: “I don’t believe in evolution…He says that because there are these similarities, even though we can’t specifically connect them, it proves that this is what happened.”[6]

A video documentary about Carson’s life titled Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story was released by Zondervan in 1992. Subsequently in 2009, a separate television movie with the identical title premiered on TNT on February 7, 2009, with Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. in the lead role and Kimberly Elise portraying his mother.[7]

Personal lifeIn June 2002 Carson was forced to cut back on his public appearances when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the cancer was caught in time. Since then Carson has cut back on his schedule. He still operates on more than 300 children a year but has been trying to shorten his days: prior to his cancer he used to work from 7:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night. Now, he tries to leave the hospital at 6:15 P.M. This gives him more time to spend with his wife and three children.[8]

Carson married Candy Rustin—whom he met at Yale—in 1975 She is an accomplished musician, and both are members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a Christian denomination. They have three sons, Murray, Benjamin Jr., and Rhoeyce.[9]

Posted February 25, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Educator, Scientists / Innovator

Dr. Charles R. Drew, African American Researcher   1 comment


Charles Richard Drew (3 June 1904 – 1 April 1950) was an American physician, surgeon and medical researcher. He researched in the field of blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage, and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II. This allowed medics to save thousands of lives of the Allied forces.[1] The research and development aspect of his blood storage work is disputed.[2] Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation, an action which cost him his job. In 1943, Drew’s distinction in his profession was recognized when he became the first black surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.

Early years

Drew’s athletic achievements helped win him a scholarship to Amherst College in Massachusetts and he graduated in 1926.[3] An outstanding athlete at Amherst, Drew also joined Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, receiving his M.D. in 1933 as well as a Master of Surgery degree,[3] and ranked 2nd in his class of 127 students.[3] A few years later, Drew did graduate work at Columbia University, where he earned his Doctor of Medical Science degree, becoming the first African American to do so.[3]

Academic career

Soon after he began his career due to his excellence, Dr. Drew was selected in 1943 as the first black surgeon to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery. Drew had a lengthy research and teaching career, and became a chief surgeon.

Blood Plasma for Great Britain Project

In late 1940, during World War II before the US entered the war, and just after earning his doctorate, Drew was recruited by John Scudder to help set up and administer an early prototype program for blood storage and preservation. He was to collect, test, and transport large quantities of blood plasma for distribution in Great Britain.[4] Drew went to New York to direct the United States’ Blood for Britain project. The Blood for Britain project was a project to aid British soldiers and civilians by giving US blood to Great Britain.

Drew created a central location for the blood collection process where donors could go to give blood. He made sure all blood plasma was tested before it was shipped out. He ensured that only skilled personnel handled blood plasma to avoid the possibility of contamination. The Blood for Britain program operated successfully for five months, with total collections of almost 15,000 people donating blood, and with over 5,500 vials of blood plasma.[4] As a result, the Blood Transfusion Betterment Association applauded Drew for his work. Out of his work came the American Red Cross Blood Bank.

Death

Illustration of Drew by Charles Alston in the collection of the National Archives

From 1939, Drew attended the annual free clinic at the John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama. For the 1950 Tuskegee clinic, Drew and three other black physicians decided to drive rather than fly. Drew was driving around 8 a.m. on April 1. Still fatigued from spending the night before in the operating theater, Drew lost control of the vehicle. After careening into a field, the car somersaulted three times. The three other physicians suffered minor injuries. Drew was trapped with serious wounds; his foot had become wedged beneath the brake pedal. When reached by emergency technicians, Drew was in shock and barely alive due to severe leg injuries. Drew was taken to Alamance General Hospital in Burlington, North Carolina. He was pronounced dead a half hour after he first received medical attention. Drew’s funeral was held on April 5, 1950, at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC.

A persistent urban legend (even recounted in an episode of the TV show M*A*S*H and Philip Roth‘s The Human Stain) holds that Drew was denied care — ironically, a blood transfusion — at a nearby hospital because of his race and bled to death. In fact, Drew was well treated by the hospital. Claims that he was not treated because of his skin color are unfounded.[5] As Dr. John Ford, one of the doctors traveling with Drew, later explained, “We all received the very best of care. The doctors started treating us immediately. […] He had a superior vena caval syndrome—blood was blocked getting back to his heart from his brain and upper extremities. To give him a transfusion would have killed him sooner. Even the most heroic efforts couldn’t have saved him. I can truthfully say that no efforts were spared in the treatment of Drew, and, contrary to popular myth, the fact that he was a Negro did not in any way limit the care that was given to him.”[6]

Numerous schools and health-related facilities, as well as other institutions, have been named in honor of Dr. Drew.

 

Posted February 17, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Scientists / Innovator

Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr., African American Inventor   Leave a comment


Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. (March 4 1877 – August 27, 1963) was an inventor who invented a type of respiratory protective hood (conceptually similar to modern gas masks), a type of traffic signal, and a hair-straightening preparation. He is renowned for a heroic rescue in which he used his hood to save workers trapped in a tunnel system filled with fumes. He is credited as the first African-American in Cleveland to own an automobile.[1]

  Safety hood

Newspaper photograph of Morgan’s rescue in 1916

Garrett Morgan patented a safety hood and smoke protector after seeing firefighters struggling from the smoke they encountered in the line of duty[2] and hearing about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.[citation needed] His device used a wet sponge to filter out smoke and cool the air.[3] He was able to sell his invention around the country, sometimes using the tactic of having a hired white actor take credit rather than revealing himself as its inventor.[2] For demonstrations of the device, he sometimes adopted the disguise of “Big Chief Mason”, a purported full-blooded Indian from the Walpole Island Indian Reservation in Canada.”[4] His invention became known nationally when he and three other men used it to save several men after a 1916 tunnel explosion under Lake Erie.[5] Cleveland’s newspapers and city officials initially ignored Morgan’s personal acts of heroism as the first to rush into the tunnel for the rescue, and it took years for the city to recognize his contributions.[2] Eventually, Morgan was awarded a gold Medal of Bravery by prominent citizens of Cleveland and a gold medal for bravery from the International Association of Fire Chiefs.[5]

Morgan’s invention of the safety hood was featured on the television show “Inventions that Shook the World”.[6]

[edit] Traffic signal

See also: Traffic signal#History

Patent drawing of Morgan’s signal

The first American-made automobiles were introduced to consumers just before the turn of the 20th Century, and pedestrians, bicycles, animal-drawn wagons and motor vehicles all had to share the same roads. Between 1913 and 1921, a number of versions of traffic signaling devices, both mechanical and automated, were patented by various inventors. Of these, only a few saw production or implementation on public roads. Morgan’s device, first patented in 1923, was a hand-cranked, manually operated mechanical semaphore signal.[5] His device had two key safety features: having an intermediate “all stop” signal state to give moving traffic time to stop before signaling cross traffic to proceed, and having a “half mast” position to indicate general caution at times when the device operator was not present.[5]

There is no evidence to support the claim that Morgan’s traffic signal was ever put into service[7][not in citation given]; Despite claims on various websites[8][9][10][11][12] as well as in print[13][14] that Morgan’s invention was used “throughout North America,” the absence of his signal in 1920’s photographs and news articles suggests that it was not installed in large numbers, if at all. Notably, it did not merit a single mention in the book-length historical study by Gordon M. Sessions[15], which covers a wide variety of devices in tracing the development of traffic control devices throughout history.

Many of these sources also claim that the patent rights for Morgan’s designs were sold at about that time to General Electric(GE) for $40,000. However, no record of this transaction appears either in the U.S. patent assignment records at the National Archives, the GE historical business records at the Schenectady Museum in New York, or in Morgan’s own legal and business papers at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. Advertisements and photos from the 1920s indicate that GE’s early traffic signal products were of the more modern electric variety, not manually operated semaphores. Several GE patent acquisitions from the early-to-mid 1920s[16][17][18][19]show that the company was investing heavily in solid-state electronic circuitry and automated traffic signaling devices during that time. By the end of 1926, GE had begun experimenting with traffic-controlled systems[20] (as opposed to timer-controlled devices); It is highly implausible that GE would consider investing $40,000 (over $500,000 USD inflation-adjusted to 2011) in a manual, crank-driven signaling device during an era when the company was researching, developing and producing solid-state analog circuitry and actively implementing these technologies into their signals.

Posted February 16, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Scientists / Innovator

George Edward Alcorn, Scientist and Innovator   Leave a comment


 

George Edward Alcorn, Jr. was born on March 22, 1940, to George and Arletta Dixon Alcorn. His father was an auto mechanic who sacrificed so Alcorn and his brother could get an education. Alcorn attended Occidental College in Pasadena, California, where he maintained an excellent academic record while earning eight letters in baseball and football. Alcorn graduated with a B.A. in physics in 1962, and in 1963 he completed a master’s degree in nuclear physics from Howard University. During the summers of 1962 and 1963, Alcorn worked as a research engineer for the Space Division of North American Rockwell, computing trajectories and orbital mechanics for missiles. A NASA grant supported Alcorn’s research on negative ion formation during the summers of 1965 and 1966. In 1967 he earned his doctorate from Howard University in atomic and molecular physics.

After earning his Ph.D., Alcorn spent twelve years in industry. He was senior scientist at Philco-Ford, senior physicist at Perker-Elmer, and advisory engineer at IBM Corporation. In 1973, Alcorn was chosen to be IBM Visiting Professor in Electrical Engineering at Howard University, and he has held positions at that university ever since, rising to the rank of full professor. Alcorn is also a full professor in the department of electrical engineering at the University of the District of Columbia, where he has taught courses ranging from advanced engineering mathematics to microelectronics.

Alcorn left IBM, where he worked as a Second Plateau Inventor, to join NASA in 1978. While at NASA, Alcorn invented an imaging x-ray spectrometer using thermomigration of aluminum, for which he earned a patent in 1984, and two years later he devised an improved method of fabrication using laser drilling. His work on imaging x-ray spectrometers earned him the 1984 NASA/GSFC Inventor of the Year Award. During this period he also served as deputy project manager for advanced development, and in this position he was responsible for developing new technologies required for the space station Freedom. Alcorn served as manager for advanced programs at NASA/GSFC from 1990 to 1992, and his primary duties concerned the managing of technology programs and evaluating technologies which were required by GSFC. He also managed the GSFC Evolution Program, concerned with ensuring that over its 30-year mission the space station develops properly while incorporating new capabilities.

Since 1992, Alcorn has served as chief of Goddard’s Office of Commercial Programs supervising programs for technology transfer, small business innovation research, and the commercial use of space programs. He managed a shuttle flight experiment that involved Robot Operated Material Processing System, or ROMPs, in 1994. The experiment involved the manufacture of materials in the microgravity of space.

In 1999 Alcorn was awarded Government Executive Magazine’s prestigious— Government Technology Leadership Award (there were only two awards in all of NASA’s ten centers that year) for the development and commercialization of — THE AIRBORNE LIDAR TOPOGRAPHICAL MAPPING SYSTEM (ALTMS ) . In 2001 Dr Alcorn was awarded special congressional recognition by Congresswoman Donna M. Christian-Christensen (D-VI) for his efforts in helping Virgin Islands businesses through application of NASA technology and knowledge of technology programs ..

Until recently, Dr. alcorn was Chief of the Office of Commercial Programs for the Goddard Space Flight Center. In 2005 he became Assistant Director For Standards /Excellence –Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate

George Edward Alcorn, Jr. is responsible for a number of inventions now widely used in the semiconductor industry. He is perhaps best known for inventing an imaging x-ray spectrometer which uses the thermomigration of aluminum, an achievement which earned him the 1984 Inventor of the Year Award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

Alcorn has over 20 inventions. Some of these have been patented while others have been published. He is a recognized pioneer in the fabrication of plasma semiconductor devices, and his patent “Process for Controlling the Slope of a Via Hole” was an important contribution to the process of plasma etching. This procedure is now used by many semiconductor manufacturing companies. Alcorn was one of the first scientists to present a computer-modeling solution of wet etched and plasma etched structures, and he has received several cash prizes for his inventions of plasma-processing techniques.

Alcorn has been extensively involved in community service. In 1984, he was awarded a NASA-EEO medal for his contributions in recruiting minority and women scientists and engineers and his assistance to minority businesses in establishing research programs. He is a founder of Saturday Academy, which is a weekend honors program designed to supplement and extend math-science training for inner-city students in grades six to eight. Alcorn also works with the Meyerhoff Foundation, founded by Freeman Hrabowski, whose goal is to encourage and support African American males interested in pursuing doctorates in science and engineering. Alcorn was honored by his alma mater Howard University in 1994 in its Heritage of Greatness awards ceremony. Alcorn was celebrated as a Black Achiever in the Science and Technology category. Alcorn married Marie DaVillier in 1969; they have one son, born in 1979. Alcorn’s younger brother Charles is a research physicist at IBM.

Posted February 15, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Scientists / Innovator

Norbert Rillieux, Inventor   Leave a comment


Norbert Rillieux (March 17, 1806 – October 8, 1894), an American inventor and engineer, is most noted for his invention of the multiple-effect evaporator, an energy-efficient means of evaporating water. This invention was an important development in the growth of the sugar industry. Rillieux was a cousin of the painter Edgar Degas.

  Family

Norbert Rillieux was born into a prominent Creole family in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the son of Vincent Rillieux, a white plantation owner, engineer and inventor, and his placée, Constance Vivant, a free person of color. Norbert was the oldest of seven children. His siblings were: Barthelemy, Edmond, Marie Eugenie, Louis, Marie Eloise, and Cecile Virginie. Norbert’s aunt on his father’s side, Marie Celeste Rillieux, was the grandmother of painter Edgar Degas. His aunt on his mother’s side, Eulalie Vivant, was the mother of Bernard Soulie, one of the wealthiest Gens de Couleur Libre in Louisiana.

  Early life

As a Creole, Norbert Rillieux had access to education and privileges not available to lower-status blacks or slaves. Baptized Roman Catholic, Rillieux received his early education at private Catholic schools in Louisiana before travelling Paris, France in the early 1820s to attend the famous Parisian school, École Centrale. While at École Centrale, Norbert studied physics, mechanics, and engineering. He became an expert in steam engines and published several papers about the use of steam to work devices. These early explorations became the foundation of the technology he would later implement in his evaporator. At 24, Rillieux became the youngest teacher at École Centrale, instructing in applied mechanics. He was also a competent blacksmith, an expert machinist and fluent in French .

  Sugar refining

In the 1800s, the process for sugar refinement was slow, expensive, and inefficient. The most common method of converting sugarcane into sugar was called the “Jamaica Train” method. The sugarcane juice was pressed from the cane and then poured into a large kettle, where it was heated and left until most of the water evaporated. The workers, who were mostly slaves, poured the resultant thick liquid into smaller and smaller pots as the liquid continued to thicken. Each time the liquid was poured, some of the sugar was lost. A considerable amount of sugar was also burned because it was difficult to monitor and maintain appropriate heat levels for the pots. The process was also dangerous for the workers, who had routinely to transfer the hot liquid.

While in France, Norbert Rillieux started researching ways to improve the process of sugar refining. Meanwhile, back in Louisiana, Norbert’s brother, Edmond, a builder, along with their cousin, Norbert Soulie, an architect, began working with Edmund Forstall to build a new Louisiana Sugar Refinery. In 1833, Forstall, having heard about Rillieux’s research into sugar refining, offered him the position of Head Engineer at the not-yet-completed sugar refinery. Rillieux accepted the offer and returned to Louisiana to take up his new position. However, the sugar refinery was never completed due to disagreements between the principals, mainly Edmond Rillieux, his father, Vincent Rillieux, and Edmund Forstall. These disagreements created long-term resentments between the Rillieux family and Edmund Forstall.

In spite of the failure of the collaboration, Norbert Rillieux remained focused on improving the sugar refining process, developing his machine between 1834 and 1843, when he patented it. The multiple-effect evaporation system that he said addressed both the spillage that resulted from transfer and the uneven application of heat, as well as making the process safer for workers. The system utilizes a vacuum chamber or a container with reduced air to lower the boiling point of the liquids. Inside this several pans are stacked to contain the sugarcane juice. As the bottom pans heat, they release steam to transfer heat to the pans above. The heat is more easily controlled than in the Jamaican Train method, because one source is needed, at a lower temperature, for multiple pans of sugarcane juice. This prevents the sugar from being burned and discolored. As the workers do not have to transfer the liquid, sugarcane is not spilled and they are at a reduced risk for burns.

Several years after patenting the system, Norbert Rillieux successfully installed it at Theodore Packwood’s Myrtle Grove plantation. Not long after this, Rillieux’s new system was installed at Bellechasse, a plantation owned by Packwood’s business partner, Judah P Benjamin. Benjamin and Rillieux became quite good friends, possibly due to their similar social situation; they were both considered outsiders in Louisiana’s very class-conscious society.

After these successes, Norbert Rillieux managed to convince 13 Louisiana sugar factories to use his invention. By 1849, Merrick & Towne in Philadelphia were offering sugar makers a choice of three different multiple-effect evaporation systems. They were able to select machines capable of making 6000, 12000, or 18000 pounds of sugar per day. The evaporators were so efficient that the sugar makers were able to cover the costs of the new machine with the huge profits from the sugar produced with Norbert Rillieux’s system.

 Other work

Rillieux also turned his engineer skills to dealing with a Yellow Fever outbreak in New Orleans in the 1850s. Rillieux presented a plan to the city that would eliminate the moist breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that carried the disease by addressing problems in the city’s sewer system and drying swamplands in the area. The plan was blocked by Edmund Forstall, now a state legislator. Several years later, the ongoing Yellow Fever outbreak in New Orleans was addressed by white engineers using a method extremely similar to what Rillieux had proposed.

  Later life

Norbert Rillieux returned to France in the late 1850s. In Paris, Rillieux became interested in Egyptology and hieroglyphics, which he studied with the family of Jean-François Champollion. He spent the next decade working at the Bibliothèque Nationale.

In 1881, at the age of 75, Rillieux made one last foray into sugar evaporation when he adapted his multiple effect evaporation system to extract sugar from sugar beets. The process for which he filed patent was far more fuel-efficient than that currently in use in the beet sugar factories in France. Prior to Rillieux’s invention, two engineers developed a vacuum pan and electric coils to improve the process of making sugar, but this was unsuccessful due to the use of steam at wrong locations in the machine. Rillieux’s process fixed the errors in the previous process, but Rillieux lost the rights to the patent he had filed.

Norbert Rillieux died on October 8, 1894 at the age of 88. He is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. His wife, Emily Cuckow, died in 1912 and is buried beside him.

  References

This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (September 2008)
  • University of Michigan. (1993). Brodie, James M., Created Equal: The Lives and Ideas of Black American Innovators (pp 42–44)
  • MIT Press. (2005). Pursell, Carl W., A Hammer in Their Hands: A Documentary History of Technology and the African-American Experience (pp 59–70)
  • University of California (1999). Benfrey, Christopher., Degas in New Orleans: Encounters in the Creole World of Kate Chopin and George Washington Cable

Frederick McGinley Jones, Inventor, Entrepreneur   3 comments


Frederick McKinley Jones (May 17, 1893 – February 21, 1961) was an American inventor, entrepreneur, winner of the National Medal of Technology, and inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.[1] His innovations in refrigeration wrought great improvement in the long-haul transportation of perishable goods.[2]

Contents

 [show

[edit] Background

Jones was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 17, 1893.[2] He was orphaned at the age of nine. He was then raised by a priest in Kentucky. Jones left school after grade Eight and left the rectory to return to Cincinnati at age sixteen, where he got a job as an apprentice automobile mechanic. He boosted his natural mechanical ability and inventive mind with independent reading and study. In 1912, Jones moved to Hallock, Minnesota, where he worked as a mechanic on a 50,000-acre (200 km2) farm. After service with the U.S. Army in World War I, Jones returned to Hallock; while employed as a mechanic, Jones taught himself electronics and built a transmitter for the town’s new radio station. He also invented a device to combine sound with motion pictures. This attracted the attention of Joseph A. Numero of Minneapolis, Minnesota, who hired Jones in 1930 to improve the sound equipment made by his firm, Cinema Supplies Inc.

[edit] Refrigeration

Around 1935, Jones designed a portable air-cooling unit for trucks carrying perishable food, and received a patent for it on July 12, 1940. Numero sold his movie sound equipment business to RCA and formed a new company in partnership with Jones, the U.S.WORLD WAR II Thermo Control Company (later the Thermo King Corporation) which became a $3 million business by 1949. Jones’s air coolers for trains, ships, and aircraft made it possible for the first time to ship perishable food long distances during any time of the year. Portable cooling units designed by Jones were especially important during World War II, preserving blood, medicine, and food for use at army hospitals and on open battlefields.

[edit] Distinctions and honors

During his life, Jones was awarded 61 patents. 40 were for refrigeration equipment, while others went for portable X-ray machines, sound equipment, and gasoline engines. In 1944, Jones became the first African American to be elected into the American Society of Refrigeration Engineers, and during the 1950s he was a maco to the U.S. Department of Defense and the Bureau of Standards. In 1991, The National Medal of Technology was awarded to Joseph A. Numero and Frederick M. Jones. President George Bush presented the awards posthumously to their widows at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. Mr. Jones was the first African American to receive the award. Jones died of lung cancer in Minneapolis in 1961. He was inducted into the Minnesota Inventors 2011

[edit] Patents

  1. 2,163,754, 6/27/1939
  2. D 132,182, 4/28/1940 design for air conditioning unit
  3. 2,336,735, 12/14/1943, Removable cooling units for compartments
  4. 2,337,164, 12/21/1943, Means for automatically stopping and starting gas engines
  5. 2,376,968, 5/29/1945, Two-cycle gas engine
  6. 2,417,253, 3/11/1947, Two-cycle gas engine
  7. 2,475,841, 7/12/1949, Automatic refrigeration system for long-haul trucks
  8. 2,475,842, 7/12/1949, Starter generator
  9. 2,475,843, 7/12/1949, Means operated by a starter generator for cooling a gas engine
  10. 2,477,377, 7/26/1949, Means for thermostatically operating gas engines
  11. 2,504,841, 4/18/1950, Rotary compressor
  12. 2,509,099, 5/23/1950, System for controlling operation of refrigeration units
  13. D 159,209, 7/4/1950, Design for air conditioning unit
  14. 2,523,273, 9/26/1950, Engine actuated ventilating system
  15. 2,526,874, 10/24/1950, Apparatus for heating or cooling atmosphere within an enclosure
  16. 2,535,682, 12/26/1950, Prefabricated refrigerator construction
  17. 2,581,956, 1/8/1952, Refrigeration control device
  18. 2,666,298, 1/19/1954, Methods and means of defrosting a cold diffuser
  19. 2,696,086, 12/7/1954, Method and means for air conditioning
  20. 2,780,923, 2/12/1957, Method and means for preserving perishable foodstuffs in transit
  21. 2,850,001, 9/2/1958, Control device for internal combustion engine
  22. 2,926,005, 2/23/1960, Thermostat and temperature control system