Ronald E. Mickens graduated summa cum laude from Fisk University in 1964 with a BA degree in physics and mathematics. His graduation honors included election to Phi Beta Kappa in his senior year. Doctoral studies in theoretical physics were completed in 1968 at Vanderbilt University. As a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at M.I.T., Dr. Mickens carried out research on the properties of scattering amplitudes from strongly interacting particles at high energies. In 1970, he returned to Fisk University to teach and do research.
Dr. Mickens’ major research activities from 1966-71 were centered on the application of scattering theory to problems in particle physics and chemical reaction rate theory. During 1977-81, he began a study of nonlinear, ordinary differential equations. One of the results of this research, which included the investigation of the construction of uniformly valid, asymptotic solution to both second-order and coupled first-order equations, was the writing and publishing of a book on one-dimensional, nonlinear oscillator equations.
In 1981, while a Visiting Research Fellow at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (Colorado), Dr. Mickens began a study of difference equations and instabilities that can arise in the numerical integration of differential equations by finite-difference methods. This work continues today.
Throughout his career, Dr. Mickens has received numerous awards, fellowships and research grants, some of which are: Woodrow Wilson Fellowship (1964-65); Danforth Foundation Fellowship (1965-68); National Aeronautics and Space Research Grants (1974-present); Ford Foundation Fellowship (1980-81); United Negro College Fund Distinguished Faculty Fellowship (1984-85); selected as a Callaway Professor at Atlanta University (1985-present); and election to Fellowship in the American Physical Society (1999).
Dr. Mickens has made invited presentations at national and international scientific conferences and has been a Scholar-in-Residence at several colleges. Currently he is on the editorial board of several journals, including The Journal of Difference Equations and Applications. His publications include over 200 journal articles, six books, and various edited volumes. At the present time, he is writing a scientific biography of Elmer Imes.
Current research involves: a) construction of approximate and exact solutions to nonlinear difference and differential equations; b) investigation of properties of strongly nonlinear, oscillator systems; c) modeling of differential equations by difference equations and the elimination of numerical instabilities; d) the study of spurious solutions arising in high-order perturbation techniques; and e) the history and sociology of African Americans in science. Dr. Mickens’ research has been funded by ARO, DOE, NASA, NIH, and NSF.