Herman White, Jr.

by / Wednesday, 22 February 2017 / Published in BHM 2017

February 22, 2017

The National Society of Black Physicists honors Dr. Herman White, Jr.


Dr. Herman White, Jr.

Dr. Herman White, Jr.

Dr. Herman Brenner White, Jr. was born on September 28, 1948, in Tuskegee, Alabama.  He is an African American physicist, scientist, and community leader.

As a youth, White was raised in a segregated but intellectually self-sufficient Tuskegee community.  White attended the Tuskegee Institute High School, where he was the class president, chair of the photography club, editor of the year book, member of the choir, in the science club, a member of the honor society, participated in some dramatic arts, and played football.  During high school, White had the opportunity to participate with the first group of black students to integrate Tuskegee High School, but his parents wanted him to finish school on time and go to college.  White also felt his role in the Civil Rights Movement was being an exceptional student and proving through excellent academic achievement that blacks deserved equal rights and equal access to education.

After high school, White decided to attend Earlham College and completed his A.B. physics degree in 1970.  He attended Michigan State University and completed a M.S. degree in nuclear and accelerator physics in 1974 and later attended Florida State University to complete his Ph.D. in Elementary Particle Physics in 1991.  He was a Resident Research Associate in Nuclear Physics at Argonne Laboratory in 1971, and Alfred P. Sloan Travel Fellow at CERN Laboratory in 1972, and a University Fellow at Yale from 1976 to 1978.

Dr. Herman B. White Jr. has been a scientist at Fermilab, in Batavia, Illinois for over 41 years.  His research has covered a range of topics in particle and nuclear physics, and work with accelerators and particle beams.  During his early career, he contributed to the development of an empirical formula (Stefanski and White) widely used at the time in the calculation of neutrino flux in high-energy interactions.  His work in HEP has included studies in prompt muon production, hadronic pair production, neutrino and kaon physics, including the discovery of direct CP violation in neutral K-meson interactions with the KTeV collaboration.  His most current research focuses on neutrino cross-section measurements and muon conversion experiments.  For his contributions to KTeV experiments and the establishment of a new kind of interaction distinguishing matter from antimatter, as well as his outstanding public service and mentorship roles, Dr. Herman White Jr. was a recipient of the APS 2010 Edward A. Bouchet Award.

As a community leader, Dr. White has served a ten-year term on the Edward Health Services Corporation’s Board of Directors, including 15 tears on the Quality Committee of the Board.  During his tenure, he was involved in the Board’s work with the community and local governments to provide better access to healthcare resulting in the establishment of new surgical centers.  As an education leader, Dr. White has served as an Illinois Research Corridor Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Physics at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where he is also the vice chairman of the Board of Trustees.  He has led numerous communication efforts to bring awareness to physics and physical science research to the U.S. Congress and other government agencies in Washington and around the world, including the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the U.S. National Academies.  He has served on numerous American Physical Society (APS) committees and forums, he is a member of advisory boards for the QuarkNet Project, and the Illinois Institute of Technology Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Physical Sciences.  He is a long time active member and board advisor of the National Society of Black Physicists.  In 2016, Dr. Herman White was nominated to be on the political ticket as a democratic representative for Illinois’ 11th Congressional District.

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