Meet Shirley Ann Jackson black woman who invented caller ID, call waiting and touch-tone phone

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Shirley Ann Jackson

If there were ever a question about who and what changed the world at any point, then the name of 73-year-old Dr. Ann Jackson would come up, even more than once.

In her early years, she developed an interest in science and mathematics and grew a liking to researching the eating habits of honeybees. Her passion and ambition led her to study in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she gained a bachelor’s degree and a doctoral degree in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics, she then became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from MIT.

Furthermore, Dr. Jackson has conducted breakthrough basic scientific research that enabled the invention of the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fiber optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting.

She is currently the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the oldest technological research university in the United States and has the position since 1999. This has also made her the only American woman to lead a top-ranked research university.

In 2014, United States ex-president Barack Obama appointed Dr. Jackson as co-chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. She also served on the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board, the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, and the U.S. Comptroller-General’s Advisory Committee for the Government Accountability Office (GAO).