J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr.

Physicist, Academic

1923 – 2011

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Who was J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr.?

Jesse Ernest Wilkins, Jr. was an African American nuclear scientist, engineer, mathematician, who gained first fame on entering the University of Chicago at age 13, becoming its youngest ever student. His intelligence led to him being referred to as a "negro genius" in the media.

As part of a widely varied and notable career, Wilkins contributed to the Manhattan Project during the Second World War. He also gained fame working in and conducting nuclear physics research in both academia and industry. He wrote numerous scientific papers, served in various important posts, earned several significant awards and helped recruit minority students into the sciences. His career spanned seven decades and included significant contributions to pure and applied mathematics, civil and nuclear engineering, and optics.

During his studies and various careers he was affected by the prevalent racism that existed for much of his life.

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Born
Nov 27, 1923
Chicago
Parents
Ethnicity
  • African American
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • University of Chicago
  • New York University
Died
May 1, 2011
Fountain Hills

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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