William Jackson, a distinguished researcher and emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of California, Davis, has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Public Service Award from the National Science Board.
The award is given to individuals and groups in recognition of contributing substantially to increasing public understanding of science and engineering. The National Science Board recognized Dr. Jackson as both a leader in the field of chemistry and a mentor and advocate for increasing minority participation in science.
Professor Jackson has made critical scientific contributions to the field of laser chemistry by developing cutting-edge laser technology to study in the laboratory the atoms and the reactive free radicals that he and others observe with ground and satellite telescopes in astronomy. He has also had an exceptionally active career in mentorship, through his publications, his service on committees for equal opportunity, and his personal interactions with hundreds of chemists and chemical engineers.
“I am deeply honored by this award,” Dr. Jackson said. “Throughout my career I have worked to increase diversity in science because I truly believe that creativity and hard work in science — and, in fact, in all human endeavor — are the keys to success. These traits are not limited to any particular race, sex, or country and it is imperative that we let all of the talent we have flourish for the benefit of our country and the world.”
Professor Jackson grew up in a segregated society in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta. He did graduate work at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he studied chemistry, physics, and mathematics, and completed his doctoral research at the National Bureau of Standards.