Connect with us

Black History

George Robert Carruthers: Revealing the Mysteries of Space

During a 1992 oral history interview with the American Institute of Physics, George Robert Carruthers (1939–2020) shared: “When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I got a Buck Rogers comic book from my grandmother, and that was, of course, long before there was any such thing as a space program. Since it was science fiction, nobody took space flight seriously in those days, back in the late ’40s, early ’50s.”

Published

on

The Cincinnati-born George Carruthers (center) constructed his first telescope using cardboard tubing and mail-order lenses he bought with money he earned as a delivery boy.
The Cincinnati-born George Carruthers (center) constructed his first telescope using cardboard tubing and mail-order lenses he bought with money he earned as a delivery boy.

By Tamara Shiloh

At a time when only a few Black high school students were entering projects in Chicago science fairs, George Robert Carruthers (1939–2020) presented the telescope he’d designed and built. He won three awards, including first prize.

He later graduated (1957) from Chicago’s Englewood High School and earned his Ph.D. in aeronautical and astronautical engineering at the University of Illinois (1964). But his deep interest in space started much earlier.

The Cincinnati-born Carruthers constructed his first telescope using cardboard tubing and mail-order lenses he bought with money he earned as a delivery boy. He was 10 at the time and found everything about space fascinating. Although the first human journey around Earth did not take place until 1961, George’s dream was to become a part of the “unknown” being explored.

During a 1992 oral history interview with the American Institute of Physics, Carruthers shared: “When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I got a Buck Rogers comic book from my grandmother, and that was, of course, long before there was any such thing as a space program. Since it was science fiction, nobody took space flight seriously in those days, back in the late ’40s, early ’50s.”

What was then considered an interest in so-called science fiction would lead Carruthers to a successful career as an astrophysicist and engineer and his 1970 telescopic design that had been sent into space on an unmanned rocket from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, proving the existence of molecular hydrogen between stars and galaxies.

He also created an advanced telescopic device used during the 1972 Apollo 16 mission to produce ultraviolet photographs of Earth’s outermost atmosphere, stars, nebulae, and galaxies. This discovery enabled scientists to examine Earth’s atmosphere for concentrations of pollutants. For his work on the project, Carruthers was awarded NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal.

Throughout his career, Carruthers would design several telescopes that flew aboard NASA spacecraft. In the 1980s, one of his inventions captured an ultraviolet image of Halley’s Comet. In 1991, he invented a camera used in the Space Shuttle Mission.

A supporter of education, Carruthers was instrumental in creating the Science & Engineers Apprentice Program that offered high school students an opportunity to work at the Naval Research Laboratory. In 1996 and 1997, he taught a course in Earth and Space Science for Wash., D.C., Public Schools science teachers. In 2002, he taught an Earth and Space Science course at Howard University.

In 2003, Carruthers was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame for his work in science and engineering.

Charles F. Bolden Jr., a NASA administrator, said about Carruthers: “He has helped us look at our universe in a new way by his scientific work and has helped us as a nation see ourselves anew as well.”

Carruthers, described as “a slight, reserved man who often rode his bicycle to work,” died in 2020. He was 81.

Learn more about Carruthers and other Black inventors in Susan K. Henderson’s “African-American Inventors II.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activism

Call to Protect Geoffrey’s Inner Circle from Threatened High-Rise Development

Geoffrey’s, located at 410 14th St., is part of the city’s Black Arts Movement and Business District which was formed in 2016 by reso-lution of the Oakland City Council to protect Black-owned businesses and enhance a downtown district that would encourage the historic African American legacy and cul-ture of Oakland.

Published

on

By Ken Epstein

Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, a downtown Oakland Cultural Center that has featured live jazz and served music lovers and the Black community for decades, is now under threat from a proposed real estate development that could undermine the stability and future of the facility.

Geoffrey’s, located at 410 14th St., is part of the city’s Black Arts Movement and Business District which was formed in 2016 by resolution of the Oakland City Council to protect Black-owned businesses and enhance a downtown district that would encourage the historic African American legacy and culture of Oakland.

Now, the Oakland Planning Commission is considering a high-rise building proposed by out-of-town developers next to Geoffrey’s, which would jeopardize both the survival of the venue and the Black business district as a whole.

In addition to running a business that has been a crucial institution in the local community and the regional arts scene, Geoffrey Pete, founder, has utilized his business to offer meals for thousands of unsheltered individuals and hosted countless community events.

The following petition is being circulated in defense of Geoffrey’s and the Black Arts district (To add your name to the petition, email info@geoffreyslive.com):

“The African-American community in Oakland has been seriously damaged by developers and public offcials who are willing and sometimes eager to see African Americans disappear from the city. Black people comprised 47% of the population in 1980; now they make up only 20% of said population. In response to this crisis the 14th Street Corridor from Oak to the 880 Frontage Road was established as the Black Arts Movement and Business District by the City Council on Jan. 7, 2016, in Resolution 85958.

Tidewater, an out-of-town developer, is proposing to build a high-rise building at 1431 Franklin, which will damage the Black business district and the businesses in the area including the iconic business of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle at 410 – 14th St.

We demand that the Planning Commission and the City Council reject this predatory building proposal and proceed with plans to fund and enhance the Black Business District.”

Continue Reading

Arts and Culture

IN MEMORIAM: Autris Paige

Paige performed regularly at Four Seasons’ Yachats Music Festival in Oregon from 1983-2017, with artists from around the world. Puerto Ricans Ilya and Raphael LeBron, soprano and baritone, remember him: “He leaves us with a warm memory of the simplicity that made him great: as a human being, as a friend and as a masterful artist!” Baritone Anthony Turner of New York says: “Autris was the embodiment of class and elegance. He delivered every song with a warm silken tone and economy of gestures. Autris gave of himself, his truth, his joy and love.”  Pianists Dennis Helmrich and Gerald Hecht often collaborated with Mr. Paige said: “Autris Paige was among the most intuitively refined musicians we have encountered: a pure pleasure and a cherished memory.” Pianist Jeongeun Yom, pianist, responds,”Autris will be remembered for his kindness, cheerfulness, and above all for his voice, with which he touched  the listeners’ heart.”

Published

on

AUTRIS T. PAIGE grew up in Oakland, California where he attended Star Bethel Church and graduated from McClymonds High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State before pursuing advanced studies in musical theatre at the University of Southern California.
AUTRIS T. PAIGE grew up in Oakland, California where he attended Star Bethel Church and graduated from McClymonds High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State before pursuing advanced studies in musical theatre at the University of Southern California.

August 17, 1938 – January 12, 2023

AUTRIS T. PAIGE was the youngest child born to Estella and Overton Paige in Sugar Land, Texas on Aug. 17, 1938.  He passed away on Jan. 12, 2023 in Oakland after a brief illness.  He was supported and comforted by his longtime companion Donna Vaughan.

Mr. Paige grew up in Oakland, California where he attended Star Bethel Church and graduated from McClymonds High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State before pursuing advanced studies in musical theatre at the University of Southern California.

He served in the U.S. Air Force.

In 1971, he made his debut with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, appearing in Candide at the Los Angeles Music Center and at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco. He appeared with Ray Charles and the American Ballet Theatre and performed in several musical theatre productions on Broadway including Lost in the Stars; Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope; as Walter Lee in Raisin; and in Timbuktu with Eartha Kitt.

Mr. Paige has also sung with the New York City Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and with the San Francisco Opera. Other opera companies in which he performed include the Seattle Opera and the Glyndebourne Opera in England. He was featured in the PBS film and award-winning EMI recording of Porgy and Bess as well as the recording of the opera X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X.

When he returned to Oakland to “retire” he met Dr. W. Hazaiah Williams, Founder and Director of Today’s Artists Concerts (now Four Seasons Arts), who auditioned Paige and invited him to perform on his series. Mr. Paige began a new phase of his musical career.

He appeared many times under the auspices of Today’s Artists Concerts/Four Seasons Arts in New York’s Alice Tully Hall and in venues around the Bay Area in their Art of the Spiritual programs. He was featured in his own Spiritual Journey in 2009. His recently released solo CD, Spiritual Journey, based on this program, has received critical acclaim.

Paige performed regularly at Four Seasons’ Yachats Music Festival in Oregon from 1983-2017, with artists from around the world. Puerto Ricans Ilya and Raphael LeBron, soprano and baritone, remember him: “He leaves us with a warm memory of the simplicity that made him great: as a human being, as a friend and as a masterful artist!” Baritone Anthony Turner of New York says: “Autris was the embodiment of class and elegance. He delivered every song with a warm silken tone and economy of gestures. Autris gave of himself, his truth, his joy and love.”  Pianists Dennis Helmrich and Gerald Hecht often collaborated with Mr. Paige said: “Autris Paige was among the most intuitively refined musicians we have encountered: a pure pleasure and a cherished memory.” Pianist Jeongeun Yom, pianist, responds,”Autris will be remembered for his kindness, cheerfulness, and above all for his voice, with which he touched  the listeners’ heart.”

In 2011, Mr. Paige was featured in Four Seasons Arts’ annual W. Hazaiah Williams Memorial Concert with the Lucy Kinchen Chorale and later with soprano Alison Buchanan. In 2013, he performed his Spiritual Journey II in Berkeley with pianist Othello Jefferson. A second CD entitled Classics and Spirituals was released in September 2013. Pianist Jerry Donaldson of Oakland was a frequent collaborator with Mr. Paige, performing throughout the Bay Area.

A Celebration of Life for Autris Paige will take place Friday, Feb. 3 at 11:00 a.m. at Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, 1399 McAllister Street, San Francisco.

A repast will follow the service.

Continue Reading

Activism

16th Annual MLK Day of Service on the Richmond Greenway

The 16th annual MLK Day of Service in Richmond honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  was held Jan. 16 with a day of service to the community and activities for families on the Richmond Greenway.

Published

on

“…Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 16th annual MLK Day of Service in Richmond honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  was held Jan. 16 with a day of service to the community and activities for families on the Richmond Greenway.

The event was hosted by Urban Tilth and the City of Richmond. Event partners were Groundwork Richmond, Rich City Rides, Moving Forward, Hope Worldwide, The Watershed Project, Contra Costa Resource Conservation District, Building Blocks for Kids, City of Richmond, Cal Cameron Institute, Friends of the Richmond Greenway; and Pogo Park.

The celebration made possible with the support of the Hellman Family Foundation, City of Richmond, and hundreds of individual donors.

The day’s schedule included volunteer projects along the Richmond Greenway and a Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial and community celebration at Unity Park.

Among the community service projects were opportunities to take part in projects to transform and beautify the Richmond Greenway Trail, like tending to the Greenway Gardens, trash pickup, and planting native plant and trees.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending