February 10, 2018
The National Society of Black Physicists honors Dr. Sekazi Mtingwa.
Research physicist and physics professor Sekazi K. Mtingwa was born on October 20, 1949 in Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving his B.S. degrees in physics and pure mathematics (Phi Beta Kappa) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1971, Mtingwa enrolled at Princeton University and graduated from there with his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in theoretical high energy physics in 1976.
In 1981, Mtingwa joined Fermilab as a research physicist where he, along with James Bjorken, developed a theory of particle beam dynamics, “intrabeam scattering,” which standardized the performance limitations on a wide class of modern accelerators. He and Mark Strikman, Ph.D. were the first to elucidate high precision fixed-target physics phenomena at the next electron-positron collider. Dr. Mtingwa played an important role in the design and construction of accelerator systems used in the discovery of the top quark. At Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill. in 1988 through 1991, Dr. Mtingwa provided the theoretical proof for plasma wakefield acceleration.
Dr. Mtingwa is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the NSBP. The American Nuclear Society awarded Dr. Mtingwa its 2015 Distinguished Service Award for leading a 2008 study for the American Physical Society that helped persuade the DOE to allocate 20% of its nuclear fuel cycle R&D budget to university programs. Dr. Mtingwa shared the 2017 Robert R. Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators given by the America Physical Society for groundbreaking theoretical work that helped researchers understand and cope with an important constraint on the intensity and focus of particle beams in accelerators.
In addition to his research activities, Mtingwa is involved in a number of national and international initiatives. He is a founder of the African Laser Centre (ALC) and was the principal author of the Strategy and Business Plan upon which the ALC is based. In 1977, Mtingwa was a co-founder of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) and served as NSBP President from 1992 to 1994. He is also a co-founder of the National Society of Hispanic Physicists, the African Laser Centre, the African Physical Society, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (Ghana), the African Light Source Steering Committee, and the The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Medal for Outstanding Contributions to the Enhancement of Physics in Developing Countries.
Dr. Mtingwa is now retired from North Carolina A&T and from MIT. He is married to W. Estella Johnson; they have two daughters.