February 14, 2017
The National Society of Black Physicists honors Dr. Joseph Johnson, III
Joseph A. Johnson III was born in Tennessee and graduated from Fisk University with a BA in Physics Summa Cum laude in 1960 and from Yale University with a M.S. in 1961 and a Ph.D. in Physics in 1965. He was the second African American to receive a Ph.D. in physics from Yale University, Edward Bouchet being the first. He has held a research position with Bell Telephone Laboratories and faculty appointments at Yale University, Southern University, Rutgers University, The City College (where he was named Herbert Kayser Professor of Science and Engineering) and at Florida A & M University (where he was Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering and Professor of Physics) until he retired. Professor Johnson has investigated a wide variety of fundamental fluid and plasma phenomena publishing nearly 200 abstracts and research papers and producing 14 Ph.D.s in Physics and Mechanical Engineering. He received nearly $30M in research funding from NASA, NSF, and the Department of Energy providing new diagnostic tools for high speed flow, new insights in fundamental turbulent systems, and new approaches for hastening the evolution toward alternative sources for energy from high temperature turbulent plasmas. Professor Johnson also has played an important role, throughout his career, in the development of minority American Scientists both as a science administrator and a science teacher. His achievements as a scientist and educator have been recognized. In November of 1989, Professor Johnson was elected an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In October of 1990, Professor Johnson was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society and during the same month, a Member of the Third World Academy of Sciences. He was elected in March, 1992, as a Charter Fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists and was cited for “distinguished contributions to research in physics and the related physical and engineering sciences, distinguished contributions to physics education, and contributions of the most noteworthy sort to the general goals of NSBP.” He was also honored with the Bouchet Leadership Award Medal during the Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education held on Yale’s campus in early April 2016.