Shirley Ann Jackson, born August 5, 1946, in Washington, D.C., is a renowned American physicist and the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Her career in science has included leadership positions in academe, business, and government, and she has received many awards in recognition for her work in these areas.

Jackson received her B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 in the field of theoretical physics. Although she was one of a small minority of African American students at the university, she continued her studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, eventually becoming the institute's first female African American doctoral graduate, in 1973. Her primary area of research has been in theoretical elementary particle physics, which uses theoretical concepts and mathematical ...

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