Special Presentation: Michael Williams

    Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
    Meinel 307

    Continuing the Search for Equity: Advancing the Need for More Representation of Black Scientists in Optics and Photonics

    Michael J. Williams, Ph.D.
    OPTICA Ambassador 2021
    Applications Specialist, Boston Electronics

    The events of 2020 have forced us all to confront the dark truths of racial injustice and police brutality that so many black people have endured for decades. The scientific community especially had its own awakening to the bias, indifference, and discrimination that black scientists have seen and experienced, including the fact that as a whole, the many contributions that black scientists have given to science have not been embraced nor celebrated by their colleagues mainly because of their skin color. In this presentation, I share my story on how I was able to earn the Ph.D. in optics through my matriculation of entirely all historically black colleges and universities, how the black scientific community responded to the cry for racial equality, and why it is so important to advocate on their behalf for racial equity in the sciences.

    Email: mjw@boselec.com

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Michael J. Williams is from Philadelphia, PA, USA. He received a Bachelor of Science in Physics in 2009 from Morehouse College and a Master in Science in Materials Science in 2012 from Fisk University. He received a PhD in Optics from Delaware State University in 2018. His research was the investigation of the linear, nonlinear, and fluorescent characterization of various nanodiamond suspensions using well-established characterization methods and techniques. The purpose was to determine a deeper understanding on how to engineer nanodiamonds to enhance their optical properties for lasers, biophotonics, and quantum optical applications. He has served on several committees promoting new leadership in optics and photonics and racial diversity and inclusion. He has also presented ground-breaking science policy to the US Congress. Currently, he is an Applications Specialist for Boston Electronics, a photonics distribution company that enables its customers to develop and manufacture superior products and perform leading edge research by providing them with a broad range of advanced electro-optical solutions and knowledgeable application support.