Friday, April 15, 2005

Prof Samuel Massie Dies

Broke Naval Academy Race Barrier

By Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 15, 2005; Page B06

Samuel P. Massie Jr., a chemistry professor who was the first African American to teach at the U.S. Naval Academy, died April 10 at Mariner Healthcare Center in Laurel. He was 85 and had dementia.

Dr. Massie considered himself first and foremost a teacher, though he also gained widespread recognition for his work in chemistry. He was named one of the 75 premier chemists of the 20th century, along with Marie Curie, George Washington Carver, Kodak founder George Eastman and DNA researchers James Watson and Francis Crick.

As a young man studying for his doctoral degree, Dr. Massie worked on the Manhattan Project with scientists making liquid compounds of uranium for the atomic bomb. He conducted pioneering silicon chemistry research and investigated antibacterial agents. With two midshipmen and colleagues from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, he was awarded a patent for chemical agents effective in battling gonorrhea.

He received awards for research in combating malaria and meningitis, worked on drugs to fight herpes and cancer and developed protective foams against nerve gases.

Dr. Massie, a former professor at several historically black colleges who lectured on campuses nationwide, also received recognition for encouraging African American and other minority students to pursue science careers.



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