Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, No. 16, October 25, 2013

President Jackson


President Jackson Inducted Into New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame

President Shirley Ann Jackson has been inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame (NJHoF), honored for a lifetime of leadership and achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) policy and research.

She received the NJIHoF’s highest honor, its Trustees Award, bestowed for being “an exemplary model for inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs throughout a successful career as a theoretical physicist at Bell Laboratories, a physics professor at Rutgers University, the Chairwoman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and as the President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.”

She was honored, along with Nobel Laureate physicist Philip Anderson, Ph.D., four other Hall of Fame inductees, and others, at a ceremony in Hoboken Oct. 17.

Though a native of Washington, D.C., she has deep roots in New Jersey. She worked on theoretical condensed matter physics at AT&T Bell Laboratories in N.J., for 15 years (1976-1991), and was a professor of physics at Rutgers University (1991-1995).

While at Bell Labs, President Jackson developed models for predicting the effect of surface excitations and strain in the layering of materials such as silicon germanium, magnetic semiconductors, and liquid helium films. Her basic research helped enable the understanding of the electronic and opto-electronic materials used in semiconductor lasers that are now in many devices. In recognition of this breakthrough research, and of her work in the nuclear power arena, she was elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2001.

The roots of President Jackson’s public policy work are also in New Jersey. In 1985, then Governor Thomas Kean appointed her to the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology. She served on the Commission for 10 years, under three governors, which is where she says she “became keenly attuned to the economic value of translational pathways for promising scientific and technological ideas.”

In addition, Jackson served on the boards of New Jersey-based Liberty Science Center and Sealed Air Corp, and continues to serve on the board of the Public Service Enterprise Group.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, Number 16, October 25, 2013
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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