What do Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Henry T. Sampson all have in common? They are all geniuses who pushed technology into the next century. We all know that Bill Gates founded Microsoft, which became the world’s largest PC software company, and Steve Jobs as an information technology entrepreneur and inventor and co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. But who is Henry T. Sampson?
Although many people are not aware of it, Henry T. Sampson is an African American inventor, best known for creating the world’s very first cell phone. Information about him on Wikipedia states: “On July 6, 1971, he was awarded a patent, with George H. Miley, for a gamma-electrical cell, a device that produces a high voltage from radiation sources, primarily gamma radiation, with proposed goals of generating auxiliary power from the shielding of a nuclear reactor.”
On April 3, 1973, using the patented technology they created, Motorola engineer Marty Cooper placed the first public call from a cell phone, a real handheld portable cell phone.
Sampson, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, who received a Bachelor’s degree in science from Purdue University in 1956, also graduated with a MS degree in engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1961.
He was also the first African American student to earn a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering in the United States, from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1967.
He made cell phones possible
Because of Sampson’s invention and patent of the gamma-electrical cell, portable cell phones were possible, using radio waves to transmit and receive audio signals. It literally changed the world, and the way in which we communicate in our professional and personal lives.
So, when you think of communication technology giants, make sure you also mention Dr. Henry T. Sampson!