(November 27, 1923 – May 1, 2011)
Jesse Ernest Wilkins (Jr.) was a child prodigy who matured into one of 20th century’s most remarkable geniuses. The circumstances of his birth left him with insurmountable challenges. He was black in the 1920s U.S.A.: one of the most gruesome decades of color-bar. Yet, as a kid, he awed the Yankees with his superlative intelligence: just like his dad did a generation earlier. This ability enabled him become the youngest student ever admitted by the University of Chicago: aged 13 years old. There, he chewed mathematics as easily as children of that age chewed biscuits. No wonder he earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D by the age of 19. He later obtained B.Eng. and M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering. During the Manhattan Project, the then 20-year-old Wilkins became the youngest researcher employed on this grandest scientific project of the 20th century. He went on to become eminent Maths Professor, distinguished Physics Professor, and President of the American Nuclear Society. Although not very famous, Wilkins was one of the best minds of the 20th century. His mental ability dwarfed those of Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, and many prominent geniuses of that century. That is why experts agree that without restrictive racism, he would have achieved a lot more. His research publications encompassed Multivariable Calculus, Algebraic Geometry, Topology, Optics, Statistics, Biophysics, Metallurgy, Engineering and Nuclear Technologies. Later on, he mathematically developed the gamma-and-neutron-shielding-models: used for determining the amount of these radiations a given material can absorb; and thereby, help in safeguarding nuclear reactors.