Aakhut Em Bak is a native of Chicago, IL. Under the name Fuad Uthman Muhammad, he received the B.A. degree in Physics from the University of Chicago in 1982. As a National Science Foundation Fellow, Dr. Bak began his graduate studies in the fall of 1982 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1987, he received the Ph.D. degree in Theoretical Particle Physics for his thesis entitled World-Sheet Supersymmetry and Strings.

Dr. Bak began his professional career in the fall of 1987 as an instructor at the University of Maryland (College Park). In 1989, he briefly departed from academia to work for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) as a member of its technical staff. That particular CSC facility supported NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in nearby Greenbelt, MD. While at CSC, Dr. Bak was a key person in conducting a feasibility study of the performance of sequential orbit determination algorithms vs. batch least-squares estimation, in support of NASA future missions. In January 1990, Dr. Bak returned to academia as an Assistant Professor of Physics at Clark Atlanta University. He joined the faculty at Morehouse College in the fall of 1991, where he is currently an Associate Professor of Physics. His research interest lies in the realm of polarization optics. Using his knowledge of the Lorentz group (from particle physics) and his CSC experience with algorithms, Dr. Bak has collaborated with Dr. Charles S. Brown to create the unified polarization calculus, a Lorentz-group based formalism used to develop models and algorithms for describing polarization effects in single-mode fibers as well as other optical media.

Dr. Bak began his professional service as a co-founder of the National Conference of Black Physics Students (NCBPS) in 1987. NCBPS, still alive and kicking, has been responsible for increasing the number of African American students attending graduate school in Physics. From 1988 to 1990, Dr. Bak was a member of the MIT Corporation, the Institute’s board of trustees. He continued his association with the Corporation as a member of the MIT Physics Visiting Committee until 1997. Later that year, Dr. Bak became involved with the Edward Bouchet – Abdus Salam Institute (EBASI), an international organization that promotes science and technology for the sustainable development of African countries. Dr. Bak has been a co-organizer of EBASI’s 1998 and 2001 conferences, held respectively in the African countries of Botswana and Benin. As a result of his continuing efforts, Dr. Bak has become both EBASI’s first Administrative Officer and Regular Member.

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