Shirley Ann Jackson (b. 1946) is an American physicist. She is the first woman and African-American president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the oldest technological university in the English-speaking world. In 1973, she became the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate at MIT and the second in the United States to earn a doctorate in physics. She has held research positions at the world’s top physics labs including Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois and CERN in Switzerland. She serves on the boards of directors of many organizations including IBM, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Smithsonian Institution.

"We need to go back to the discovery, to posing a question, to having a hypothesis and having kids know that they can discover the answers and can peel away a layer."

Source: Charlie Rose Science Series: The Imperative of Science with Paul Nurse, President of Rockefeller University, Harold Varmus, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Bruce Alberts, Editor-In-Chief of Science and Lisa Randall of Harvard University.