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Shirley Jackson is the president of RPI (Troy, New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) whose experiments with theoretical physics paved the way for the touch-tone telephone, portable fax, caller ID, call waiting and the fiber-optic cable.

  • Jackson earned a doctorate in nuclear physics at MIT, graduating with her Ph.D. in 1973 as the first African-American woman awarded a doctorate from the university in any field.
  • From 2009 to 2014, Jackson served on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and was co-chair of the President's Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee.