Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Edward Alexander Bouchet, 1st black physicist (1852 - 1918)

I mentioned that I would be making a couple of posts dealing specifically with black history month. Yes, the month is already halfway over but I don't recall any rule saying I can't start late or make these posts in November for that matter. Anyway we will be starting with something near and dear to my heart, physics.

The man pictured above is Dr. Edward Alexander Bouchet. Ph.D Physics, 1877, Yale University and member of Phi Beta Kappa. He spent most of the rest of his life teaching chemistry and physics at an all black school in Philadelphia. All this at a time in when most black people were lucky to get any kind of rudimentary education at all.

People like him inspire me greatly. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be a black graduate student in the 1870's. He probably faced obstacles I can barely imagine on a fairly regular basis and yet he stayed true to his goal and excelled. That kind of strength of character gives me something to strive for and helps make me a better person.

Dr. Bouchet, wherever you are, I'm probably not worthy to walk in your footsteps. But I'm going to try anyway.

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