African-American Advancement Group (AAAG) Activity

"AAAG Lecture: Celebrating the Lives of Two Bold Afro-Russians"

Presented by Sekazi K. Mtingwa, Senior Lecturer, MIT; Senior Physicist Consultant to Brookhaven

Thursday, February 23, 2012, 12:00 pm — Berkner Hall Auditorium

In this presentation, we will celebrate two geniuses from the same family who contributed immensely to opposite ends of the academic spectrum: literature and civil engineering. They are Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799-1837) and Abram Petrovich Gannibal (1696?-1781). We will discuss the highs and lows of their immensely successful, but highly troubled, lives and explore their impacts on the history and soul of Russia. Finally, we will assess the impact that Pushkin had directly on African-American literary figures during the Harlem Renaissance and how Gannibal could play a similar role for African Americans in STEM fields.

Sekazi K. Mtingwa graduated Phi Beta Kappa with B.S. degrees in physics and mathematics from MIT in 1971 and a Ph.D. in theoretical high energy physics from Princeton University in 1976. He held postdoctoral positions at the University of Rochester, University of Maryland - College Park, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where he served one year as a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. Subsequently, he served in staff physicist positions at both Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory. At Fermilab, Mtingwa and James Bjorken developed a theory of particle beam dynamics called intrabeam scattering, which is used widely by accelerator physicists to understand the behavior of intense particle beams, such as those in Brookhaven’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. During 1991-2004, Mtingwa was Professor of Physics at North Carolina A&T State University, where he served as Department Chair during 1991-1994 and laid the foundation for the current graduate program in physics. During 2001-2005, he served two years as Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor of Physics at MIT and two years as Visiting Professor of Physics at Harvard University. Currently, he is a Senior Lecturer at MIT and Senior Physicist Consultant to Brookhaven National Laboratory.

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