Henry Thomas Sampson

born: 1934; place: Jackson, Mississippi

BS (1956) Purdue University, MS Engineerng (1961) UCLA, an MS Nucluar Engineering (1965) University of Illinois-Urbana

Ph.D. Nuclear Physics (1967) Univerity of Illinois-Urbana


Henry Sampson is more and engineer than physicist, but his stature demands I include him here.

Sampson graduated from Lanier High School in Jackson, Mississippi in 1951. He attended Morehouse College for two years, transferred to Purdue University and graduated with a B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering. He worked as a research chemical engineer at the U.S. Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, California, in the area of high energy solid propellants and case bonding materials for solid rocket motors. He earned a M.S. Degree in engineering from UCLA in 1961 and pursued another MS Degree in nuclear engineering in 1967 earning a Ph.D. in the same field of study.

Henry T. Sampson worked as a research Chemical Engineer at the US Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, California. 1956-61. Henry T. Sampson then moved on to the Aerospace Corp, El Segundo, California. His titles include: Project Engineer, 1967-81, director of Planning and Operations Directorate of Space Test Program, 1981-, and Co-inventor of gamma-electric cell. He holds patents related to solid rocket motors and conversion of nuclear energy into electricity. He also pioneered a study of internal ballistics of solid rocket motors using high-speed photography.

Dr. Sampson co-invented the Gamma-Electric cell which received the patent # 3,591,860 (abstract) on july 6, 1971. According to the book"Black futurists in the information age"(1997) PP.90-91, KMT Publications (submitted to copyright), "His Gamma-Electric cell device converts nuclear radiation from reactors or isotopes, directly into electricity without going through a heat cycle. In the nuclear fusion process, which involves the splitting of atom, radioactive materials emit ionizing radiation that can cause serious damage to living tissues. Constructive methods to convert these powerfull radiating energies into practical and safe energy sources, is the fundamental philosophy behind the developpment of Sampson's Gamma-Electric Cell".

For many years Sampson was the Director of Mission Development and Operations, Space Test Program at the Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, where a great deal of his pioneering work was developed. He has written papers in rocket propulsion, direct conversion of nuclear energy to electricity and computer simulation of electrical systems.

Surprisingly, Dr. Henry T. Sampson is best known as one of the most important black writers of this century. Sampson's area of concentration in this field has been the black presence in the film and entertainment industries. His extensive writings in this area are widely recognized as important source material for anyone researching this long neglected area of American history. In his now classic book entitled Blacks in Black and White: A SourceBook on Black Films (now in a newly revised and expanded 2nd Ed., 749 pp.), Sampson traces the history of the black film industry from its beginnings around 1910 to its demise in 1950, chronicling the activities of pioneer black filmmakers and performers who have been virtually ignored by film historians.

    Sampson's Awards and Honors:

  1. Fellow of US Navy, 1962-1964
  2. Atomic Energy Commission, 1964-1967
  3. Black Image Award from Aerospace Corp, 1982
  4. Blacks in Engineering, Applied Science, and Education Award, Los Angeles Council of Black Professional Engineers, 1983

Note that Henry T. Sampson is mistakenly considered the inventor of the cellular phone.


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