- Ethnicity: African American
- Gender: M
- Ph.D. Institution: Lehigh University, 1969
- MS Institution: Lehigh University,1967
- BS Institution: Morgan State College, 1964
Scott Williams is an only grandchild. His grandparents strongly
valued Education. Thus, all of his aunts and uncles on both sides had
Master's degrees at least. His mother Beryl E. Williams was the
first Black to graduate from the University of Maine (1936), later earning
the M.S. in mathematics (1940).
His father, Roger K. Williams, was one of the first Blacks to earn a Ph.D.
in Psychology (Penn State U - 1946). When he was 12, Scott Williams' mother
took him to see the M.I.T. campus during a family trip to Boston. After
her description of the Institute as a great place of mathematical learning,
he said, "Mom, I will get a Ph.D. here in Mathematics."
Despite a nearly perfect College Board Exam (now the SAT) math score,
Williams failed to get a scholarship to MIT. So he attended Morgan State
College (now University), along with Earl Barnes and Arthur Grainger and
became involved as a student in Dr. Clarence Stephen's mathematics
learning program, now known as the Morgan-Potsdam Model. By the time
Scott Williams received a B.S. in Mathematics from Morgan State College
(1964), he had solved 4 advanced problems in The Mathematical Monthly and
had co-authored two papers on Non-Associative Algebra with his undergraduate
advisor, Dr. Bohun Volodymir-Chudyniv. That work and a 96% on the Advanced
Mathematics Graduate Record Exam assured him he would be accepted into
the Yale University Ph.D. program. However, for unknown reasons he was
not accepted into Yale. So after working in the Product Testing Division
of International Business Machines on the IBM 360, he entered Lehigh University's
graduate program and distinguished himself in his first year by producing
many new examples in Dr. Albert Wilansky's Ph.D. student topology seminar.
He earned an M. S. in Mathematics from Lehigh University (1967) and a Ph.D.
in Mathematics from Lehigh University (1969).
After a postdoctoral position at Pennsylvania State University (1969-71),
Williams joined the State University of New York at Buffalo in a two-year
Affirmative Action position. Because of his research, an appointment
to a normal position followed, and after a nasty and divisive battle, he
was appointed Associate Professor with tenure in 1977. He became
Full Professor in 1985.
Dr. Williams has published 33 papers in Topology and Set Theory. His
work in his fourth paper, "The G-delta -topology on compact spaces,"
Fundamental Mathematicae 83 (1974), pp. 143-149, established him as one of the
rising stars in General Topology. In 1975 he became the first to apply
the notion of scales from Logic to solve problems in Topology. His 1978
work on Boolean Algebras began the now popular technique of using trees
to study Stone-Cech Remainders. His 1987 work with Jan Pelant of the Czech Academy of Sciences solved
two 30-year-old problems in the field of Topological Dynamics.
has given nearly 90 invited conference lectures, colloquia, and seminar
lectures on his mathematics research at 56 institutions in seven countries and
is a columnist with the journal Topology
Atlas. Scott Williams has also a great interest in teaching. He has lectured
to high ability high school students many times over the past 20 years.
In 1983 he was awarded the State University of New York's Chancellor Award for Excellence
in Teaching. His interest in the history of blacks in mathematics led
to his world wide web book, "Mathematicians of the African
which has received numerous awards. He has also served as
an advisor to programs for the National Research Council and the National
Science Foundation. He is co-founder of the Council for African American
Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences.
Along with his interest in mathematics, Williams has also been a community
activist. At Lehigh University, he founded, along with the other three
Black students at the school, the Black Uhuru Society which later became
the Black Student Union. At the time, this was the only functioning civil
rights organization in the area. His work in the Buffalo community has
also been the source of awards. He is also talented in the written, visual,
and audio arts.
[Scott W. Williams]