Samuel Elmer Imes
Birthplace: Memphis, Tenn.
In 1918, Samuel Elmer Imes became only the second African American to earn a doctorate in physics. His dissertation broke new scientific ground, presenting a new form of research, that fundamentally changed quantum theory. In discovering how to determine molecular structure through high-resolution infrared spectroscopy, particularly, measuring the distance between atoms, Imes proved that quantum theory could be applied to all things at the molecular level. He served as head of the Physics department at his alma mater, Fisk University, from 1930 to his death in 1941.Died: 9/11/1941