Princeton University Joint Physics and Astrophysics Seminar Series on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Black Lives, Energy & Matter
My goal is to present a brief chronology for a near century historical interplay of the Black experience in the Princeton area with Princeton Physics. This will be followed by a question and answer session. As a mathematics major, William A. Massey ’77 took physics classes every semester as a Princeton undergraduate. Starting his freshman year in a course on mechanics taught by the late Aaron Lemonick, he finished his senior year with two semesters of functional analysis taught by Elliot Lieb. He received his AB degree in 1977 in mathematics, magna cum laude, with numerous awards such as Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and the Bell Laboratories Cooperative Research Fellowship for minorities from AT&T. This last award funded his PhD in mathematics from Stanford University in 1981. He then became a member of technical staff for the Mathematical Sciences Research Center at Bell Laboratories. Twenty years later, he was the first Black Princeton undergraduate alumnus to become a full professor at Princeton. His research interests, inspired by applications ranging from communication systems to resource sharing services, include queueing theory, stochastic networks, and dynamical systems. He is both an inaugural fellow of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). His work on STEM diversity and outreach has earned him many awards including the Princeton University Martin Luther King Journey Award. He is a founder and 25 year organizer of the annual Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS). On campus, he is also a founder and faculty adviser for the 15 year old minority STEM student organization, the Wesley L. Harris Scientific Society (WLHSS).