February 23, 2017
The National Society of Black Physicists honors Dr. Stephen McGuire.
Nuclear physicist and physics professor Stephen C. McGuire was born on September 17, 1948 in New Orleans, Louisiana. McGuire was the first generation of his family to attend high school and college. After graduating as valedictorian, McGuire went on to attend Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) College on a four-year academic scholarship. He received his B.S. degree in physics, magna cum laude, in 1970. McGuire then continued his education at the University of Rochester where he studied under Professor Harry W. Fulbright and graduated with his M.S. degree in nuclear physics in 1974. In 1979, McGuire obtained his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in nuclear science with a focus on low energy neutron physics under the guidance of Professor David D. Clark.
From 1982 to 1989, Dr. McGuire joined the faculty at Alabama A&M University in the department of physics and applied physics, and he began research with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). McGuire was honored by NASA in 1987 with its Office of Technology Utilization Research Citation Award. In 1989, he became the first African American faculty member at the endowed College of Engineering at Cornell University.
Since 1999, Dr. McGuire has served as professor and chair of the department of physics at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During his tenure at Southern University, Dr. McGuire has pursued his interest in optical materials as part of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). He serves as the Southern University principal investigator for the LSC and Director of the Southern University Advanced Optical Materials Laboratory located in James Hall on the Baton Rouge campus.
Throughout his career, he has been a dedicated advisor and mentor to undergraduate and graduate students of science and engineering from a broad range of educational and cultural backgrounds. Dr. McGuire served as NSBP President from 1986-1988. In 1992, Dr. Mcguire became a charter fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). Dr. McGuire was also elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2008 for his leadership in exploring new ways for research physicists, traditional educators and museum professionals to work together to engage students and the public, particularly under-represented groups, in the excitement of physics. In 2015, he was named a LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) fellow for his work with LIGO.