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Shirley Ann Jackson: Physicist (Theoretical)


Shirley Ann Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. in 1946. She received her B.S. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 and her Ph.D. (Physics) in 1973. Shirley Jackson became the first African American female to receive a doctorate in Theoretical Solid State physics from MIT. Dr. Jackson became a Research Associate in Theoretical Physics at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory from 1973-1974 and served as a Visiting Science Associate at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (1974-1975). In 1975-76, Dr. Jackson returned to Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory as a Research Associate in Theoretical Physics. She spent 1976-77 at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Aspen Center for Physics. Dr. Jackson then served on the Technical Staff of Bell Telephone Laboratories in theoretical physics from 1976 until 1978. In 1978 Shirley Jackson began working with the Technical Staff of the Scattering and Low Energy Physics Research Laboratory of Bell Telephone Laboratories. From 1976 to 1991 Dr. Jackson was appointed as Professor of Physics at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. From 1991 to 1995, Dr. Jackson serving concurrently with her professorship at Rutgers as a consultant in semiconductor theory to AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J. Dr. Jackson was appointed as Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and assumed the Chairmanship on May 2, 1995.

“Although Dr. Jackson took her doctorate in theoretical high energy physics, and later switched fields to theoretical condensed matter physics.” Comment from Claude Poux, Dartmouth College. email communication (February 7, 1997)

Her research has focused on Landau theories of charge density waves in one- and two-dimensions. Dr. Jackson’s research also touched on two-dimensional Yang-Mills gauge theories and neutrino reactions.

    “I am interested in the electronic, optical, magnetic, and transport properties of novel semiconductor systems. Of special interest are the behavior of magnetic polarons in semimagnetic and dilute magnetic semiconductors, and the optical response properties of semiconductor quantum-wells and superlattices. My interests also include quantum dots, mesoscopic systems, and the role of antiferromagnetic fluctuations in correlated 2D electron systems.”

Professor Shirley Jackson

Shirley Ann Jackson Named President Of Rensselaer
Trustees Select Head Of Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Honorable Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has been named the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, effective July 1, 1999, Samuel F. Heffner Jr. ’56, chair of Rensselaer’s Board of Trustees has announced.


  • Candace Award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women
  • MIT Educational Council, 1976 to present.
  • Board of Trustees for Lincoln University, 1980 to present.
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Academy of Sciences, 1977-1980.
  • Sigma Xi; Delta Sigma Theta;
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS)
  • New York Academy of Sciences
  • Scholar, Martin Marietta Aircraft Corporation (1964-68)
  • National Science Foundation Traineeship (1968-71)
  • Outstanding Young Women of America Award (1976 AND 1981)

Dissertation Title: The Study of a Multiperipheral Model with Continued Cross-Channel Unitarity.

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