Dr. J. Ernest Wilkins

Dr. J. Ernest Wilkins was the 7th Black person to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics and the 2nd Black person to be named to the National Academy of Engineering.

Degree(s): Math, Mechanical Engineering

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Undergraduate Institution: University of Chicago, New York University

Graduate Institution: New York University, University of Chicago

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Photo Credit: Atomic Heritage Foundation

Dr. J. Ernest Wilkins was the 7th Black person to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics and the 2nd Black person to be named to the National Academy of Engineering. By age 19, he’d earned B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in math from the University of Chicago. He later earned his B.S. and M.S. from New York University. Dr. Wilkins worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II, which was a top secret project to develop the country’s first nuclear weapons. Dr. Wilkins also taught at HBCUs such as Howard University and Tuskegee Institute.

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