February 8, 2018
The National Society of Black Physicists honors Dr. John Hunter.
Dr. John McNeil Hunter was born on Woodville, Texas, on January 23, 1901. He received his S.B. in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T. in 1924 and an M.S. (1927) and Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University in 1937. His specialized area of research was thermionics. Hunter was the third African American to receive a Ph.D. in Physics.
Dr. Hunter did as much as any single individual in America to add physics to the curriculum of black students and to add black students to the professional rosters of physics. In 1925 he obtained a position at Virginia State College (now University) as teacher of electrical wiring and operator of the power plant. Later he became professor and Chair of the Physics Department. From 1925 to his retirement in 1967 there were 65 Physics majors at Virginia State, and by 1973 10 of these received a Ph.D. in Physics. Charles Townes, Herman Bronson, and James Herman Stith were three of Hunter's students.
Dr. John McNeil Hunter is a fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). He was one of the first honorees of the first Day of Scientific Lectures and Seminars (DOSLAS) held in December of 1972 at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.