Dr. Augustus Prince

January 11, 1924January 5, 2018
Obituary of Dr. Augustus Prince
Dr. Augustus Prince was born on January 11, 1924 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. His mother stressed discipline in education and encouraged him to read the Bible after finishing his homework assignments. He attended public schools in Philadelphia and graduated from Central High School for Boys in 1942 where he developed a strong interest in math and science. During high school he also discovered running skills and was a member of the track team. Central High, now coed is one of the highest magnum schools for education and in spite of receiving good grades he was not able to attend college due to the lack of funds. He started working as an electrician at the Sun Shipyard and Dry Dock in Chester Pennsylvania to secure funds for his education. Since the Navy was finally opening up to African-Americans he signed up and attended radar school and passed at the top of his class. After several rejections he was finally given the opportunity to serve as the first black radar man on the USS Santee (a product of Sun Shipyard). His duty station was in the ships Combat Information Center where he monitor radar screens for activity. During his tour on board The Santee he taught algebra to other radar men and spent his spare time training as a middleweight boxer. Prince experienced a lot of prejudice which left a lifetime scar but was persistent to pursue the field he was qualified in. He survived the war and returned to Philadelphia to continue his education. Thanks to the G.I. Bill he was able to obtain a bachelors degree in science from the University of Pennsylvania and later went on to Drexel Institute of Technology earning his masters degree in physics and eventually specialized in nuclear physics. He began his coursework in engineering but soon found that engineering did not answer his question about what makes things go around so he went to the extreme and became a philosophy major. That field still did not answer his pragmatic questions so he turned to physics as the answer. It was in college majoring in science that he began to passionately follow the writings and research of Albert Einstein (his hero). He was also an active member Of Kappa Alpha Psi and mentored and encouraged young man from his local neighborhood to attend college. These men went on to become professionals in their field and to this day are grateful for his input. After a short marriage he relocated to Cincinnati Ohio in the early 1960s where he continued to advance in his education experiences as a teacher and professor. It was there that he met and married the late Dr. Willa L Prince. He received his doctorate degree from the University of Cincinnati. He was a laboratory instructor in general physics at the University from 1962 to 1964 and was faculty advisor to Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. In 1964 he was appointed to teach evening courses in atomic and nuclear physics at the University of Cincinnati while working as a senior physicist in for the nuclear material and propulsion operation at General Electric. In 1966 he was offered a position as a nuclear scientist with the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) located in Upton New York. In his words he stated “my big break came when I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime”. This was a leading government research and scientific facility which gave him the privilege to work and interact with many world renowned scientist. He worked with the Data Evaluation Management Group which worked on projects to create data evaluation model’s for nuclear reactors. This team would help nuclear power plants develop the discipline to react to various sequences of events concerning nuclear reactors should an emergency occur. During his tenure at BNL he traveled to several different countries in Europe for nuclear conferences and delivered several papers on his thoughts. One highlight of his career was his paper on Analysis of High-Energy Neutron Cross Sections for Fissil and Fertile Isotopes which she delivered in Helsinki in 1970. It has since become the excepted method for analyzing deformed nuclei. He served four months in France as a consultant on the nuclear physics program which carried out theoretical nuclear investigations for France’s Atomic Energy Commission. During that time he directed the research of a French student who’s paper on “The Numerical Treatment of Nuclear Reactions”, was considered one of the best ever presented at the school. (Ecole Technique Feminine) While in Europe he managed to compete in four marathons held outside of Paris France and placed second and third respectively in his class. The race that gave him the greatest satisfaction was crossing the finish line at the original Greek Olympic Stadium. He recalled he had tears in his eyes after this event. He remained at BNL for 27 years then retired to Palm Coast Florida in 1993 but continued as a consultant to recruit minority students in the science field from historically black colleges. He continued his love for running and became a very dedicated jogger which rendered him many first place trophies. Besides jogging he enjoyed tennis, swimming, and riding his bike for daily exercise. He made several return visits to Philadelphia to participate in the Broad Street Run which was one of the highlights of his jogging career. He competed in several races throughout the United States and Europe including the Boston and New York marathons and several marathons in Florida. His love for jazz music is evident by his collection of music. His favorite artist being Miles Davis is a strong figure in his home. Retirement did not stop his skills as a mentor and teacher. He became an Adjunct Instructor in mathematics at Daytona Beach Community College and tutored/mentor at the Deland and Flagler Palm Coast high school’s. His expertise as a teacher and tutor/mentor has been acknowledged in writing and verbally by several of his students who have exceeded academically due to his help. He is very active in his community serving on several Board of Directors one being on the executive board of the Friends of the Library of Flagler County. He was a very intense reader and owns several books which he has donated to the library. In 2005 he was inducted into the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. Authorized by legislation in 2000 the Veterans History Project of America Folklife Center is a nationwide volunteer effort to collect and preserve oral histories of America’s war veterans which are housed at the Library of Congress. Dr. Prince has a chapter in the second book titled “Forever a Soldier” and a video interview covering his experience in the Navy from 1944 to 1946. His legacy continued in 2011 when he went to an international conference to submit his paper on Ruggiero Boscovich, (An Analytical Form of the Boscovich Curve with Applications) at the Pavia University and Pavia Italy. His obsession with Boscovich led him to write a book with his theories and thoughts which continues to be active at the present time and is near completion. He devoted several years taking care of his wife of 53 years (Dr. Willa L Prince) during her extended illness until her death. Gus passed away quietly on January 5, 2018. He leaves to cherish his memories his devoted daughters Gloria Chapman of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and Marilyn Prince of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his grandson Darnell Isom Jr. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and his favorite nephew and niece Henry and Dr. Robbie Johnson of Palm Coast, Florida. He will be missed by a host of very special family members from Ohio and many devoted friends in Palm Coast, Florida. The family extends special thanks to the staff at Coquina Nursing Home in Ormond Beach, Florida for his care during his illness. Family and friends will be received on January 12, 2018 from 10:00 – 12:00 PM at the Palm Coast United Methodist Church, where funeral services will be held at 12:00 PM. Repast will follow immediately after service.

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