Joseph A. Johnson, III


born: 1940

place: Tennessee

Joseph Johnson earned his Ph.D. from Yale University

current employment:

Joseph Johnson graduated from Fisk University (B.A., 1960) Summa cum Laude (Phi Beta Kappa) in Physics. During his graduate studies a Yale University (M.S., 1961; Ph.D., 1965), he was a Danforth Fellow, a National Science Foundation Cooperative Fellow and was elected to Sigma Xi Honorary Scientific Society.

Dr. Johnson earned his doctorate in experimental high energy nuclear interactions. While in graduate school, he developed an interest in the physics of fluids and has been investigation a wide variety of fundamental fluid and plasma phenomena ever since. He has held research positions with Sikorsky Aircraft Co. and Bell Telephone Laboratories. He has held faculty appointments at: Yale University; Southern University; Rutgers University The City College, CUNY (where he was named Herbert Kayser Professor of Science and Engineering); and now at Florida A&M University where he is Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering, Professor of Physics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Prof. Johnson is also Director of the NASA/FAMU Research Center of Nonlinear and Nonequilibrium Aeroscience at Florida A&M University and the FAMU Laboratory for Modern Fluid Physics. Dr. Johnson was NSBP President, 1988-1990.

In November of 1989, Prof. Johnson was elected an Associate Fellow of he American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In October of 1990, Prof. Johnson was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society and, during the same month, a Member of the Third World Academy of Sciences. He was cited "for developing innovative experimental techniques used in the study of supersonic combustion and for the identification of the controlling dynamics in supersonic transport phenomena." In October of 1991 Prof. Johnson was awarded the D. Sci. honoris causa by Fisk University. He was recognized for his "..contributions to science and humanity and.. .aspirations for the youth of America." Last year (1995) Prof. Johnson received the Bouchet Award of the American Physical Society. This award is intended to identify and recognize a distinguished minority physicist who has made significant contributions to physics research. Prof. Johnson is cited "For outstanding research achievements I the investigation of turbulent and non-equilibrium fluids, and for contributions to the development of minority scientists and engineers.

Joseph Johnson's research in fluid and plasma physics is characterized by the development of new experimental techniques and by a sequence of scientific milestones. He published, with his collaborators, the first confirmation of nonequilibrium plasma fluorescence as a density diagnostic. He generalized the crossed beam diagnostic technique to include strongly absorbing media and developed a new phase coherence velocimetry. Prof. Johnson and his co-workers published the first theoretical and experimental proof of the previously unsuspected possibility of reaction rate distortion in turbulent flow, the first complete study of turbulence in a tangential discontinuity, the first clear evidence of turbulence ionizing shock waves, the first complete characterization of phase coherence in a collisional turbulent plasma and the first clear evidence of the connection between the highly controversial supersonic eddy shocklets and a local turbulent Reynolds number. Furthermore, his group has begun the first systematic isolation of the underlying physical mechanisms in high temperature shock-induced turbulent plasmas, publishing the first determination of low chaotic dimension in fully turbulent collisional plasmas and the first determination of chaotic dimension distortion in magnetized turbulent plasmas. Most recently, Prof. Johnson and his collaborators published the first determination of an explicit connection between turbulent chemical relaxation and second viscosity, the first determination of a critical role for turbulence in homogeneous nucleation, and the first evidence of natural closure in compressible turbulent flow. Generally stated, a research program has been developed which focuses on new approaches to the physics of turbulence.

Professor Johnson has played an important role, throughout his career, in the development of minority American scientist both as a science administrator and a science teacher. On the international scene, Prof. Johnson was a founding member and Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Edward Bouchet-ICTP Institute. This new entity is an international collaboration between African American physicists and African physicists and applied mathematicians aimed at advancing an d enhancing research opportunities in physics for the world-wide African community.

He is a member of the Naval Research Advisory Committee.


References: [African American Presence in Physics]

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