Famous as the first female and African American Chair of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, this prominent physicist also served as President of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Over the course of her distinguished career, she worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories and taught at Rutgers University.
After earning her bachelor's degree in theoretical physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she became the first African American, female doctoral graduate of the same institution. Early in her career, she was a researcher at Illinois' Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
She sat on the Board of Directors of the Smithsonian Institution, the New York Stock Exchange, the Brookings Institution, and numerous other high-profile organizations.
The daughter of George and Beatrice Jackson, she spent her youth in Washington, D.C. Her marriage to university physics teacher Morris A. Washington produced a son named Alan.
She is a contemporary of fellow renowned African American physicist Jim Gates.