Julian Earls

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Julian Manly Earls
Alma materNorfolk State University
University of Michigan
Harvard University
AwardsNASA Exceptional Achievement Medal
Scientific career
ThesisRadiation protection guides for long range space missions ; Radiological health aspects of fabricating operations with thoriated metals. (1975)

Julian Manly Earls (born November 22, 1942) is an American physicist who worked for NASA for over forty years. He has been awarded two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals and was inducted into the Presidential Rank Award of the Senior Executive Service by both Bill Clinton and George Bush.

Early life and education[edit]

Earls was born in Portsmouth, Virginia to Ida and James Deberry Earls.[1][2] His mother was a seamstress and his father worked on the railroads.[3] His parents and first grade teacher encouraged him to work hard at school.[4][5] He attended Crestwood High School in Chesapeake, Virginia.[1] He took part in mathematics and science fairs whilst at high school, and was the first in his family to attend college.[3][4] Earls studied physics at Norfolk State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1964.[5][6] He was initiated into Kappa Alpha Psi in 1963.[7] He was encouraged to attend graduate school and applied to the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and completed a master's degree in 1965.[1]

Earls at NASA in 1976.

After graduating he spent a summer at the Brookhaven National Laboratory.[8] He was appointed as a medical physicist at the Lewis Research Center, who supported Earls in earning a doctoral degree in radiation physics at the University of Michigan.[5][9] He was made Head of the section on Health Physics and Licensing, and served as the Radiological Safety Officer.[10] In 1983 Earls founded the Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology, an endowment that provides financial support to black students at historically black colleges and universities.[10][11][2]

Research and career[edit]

After earning his doctorate Earls returned to NASA, where he worked in Health Physics whilst simultaneously working toward a business degree at Harvard University.[1][10] He was made Chief of the Health, Safety, and Security Division in 1983 and promoted to Director of the Office of Health and Services in 1988. He was made the Director of the Glenn Research Center in 2003, where he was responsible for technology, research and development, and systems development.[1][10][12] This role involved Earls managing a budget of over a billion dollars and a work force of 4,500.[4] He was part of the launch team for Apollo 13 lunar program.[13]

During his career at NASA Earls held many 'firsts', which included being the first African-American man to be appointed section head, office chief, division chief and deputy director.[1] Earls wrote the two first NASA health physics and environmental resource guides.[13] He also taught mathematics, physics and radiation biology at Capital University.[13]

In 2005, after a career spanning forty years, Earls retired from NASA.[1][14] After his retirement Earls joined Cleveland State University as Executive in Residence.[10][15][16] The Alabama A&M University appointed Earls to the Board of Trustees in 2005.[17] He also serves on the Board of Directors of ANSER.

Awards and honours[edit]

His awards and honours include:

Earls holds several honorary degrees, including a doctorate of science from the Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, a degree in pedagogy from Nova Southeastern University and an honorary degree in humane letters from North Carolina A&T State University.[22] The Dr. Julian M. Earls College Scholarship is awarded annually by the National Technical Association.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Earls is married to Zenobia, a Cleveland public school teacher, with whom he has two sons. Julian Earls, Jr, who is a neurologist, and Gregory Earls, a filmmaker who lives in Inglewood, California. Dr. Earls has two granddaughters.[1][15] Earls is an athlete who has completed 27 marathons.[19][22] In 2002 he was a torch bearer for the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Julian Manly Earls". The History Makers. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  2. ^ a b c Administration, United States National Aeronautics and Space (1987). NASA Activities. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  3. ^ a b "Biography Page for Julian Earls". www.idvl.org. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  4. ^ a b c "Let's Talk About: Dr. Julian M. Earls". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  5. ^ a b c "Dr. Julian M. Earls". The MY HERO Project. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  6. ^ US Black Engineer & IT. Career Communications Group. 2003.
  7. ^ a b "Former NASA Director Dr. Julian Earls Awarded Kappa Alpha Psi's Laurel Wreath". Watch The Yard. 2017-07-22. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  8. ^ Zudell, Doreen. "NASA - Dr. Earls Empowered People to Do Their Best". www.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  9. ^ "New chief set at NASA Glenn". Crain's Cleveland Business. 2003-08-08. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Glenn Research Centre Hall of Fame". Glenn Research Center. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  11. ^ "Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology - Scholarships". www.dfbsstscholarship.org. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  12. ^ "Julian Earls Selected to Lead NASA Glenn Research Center". www.spaceref.com. 8 August 2003. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  13. ^ a b c African American Contributions to Science and Engineering. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Lewis Research Center. 1992.
  14. ^ Congress, United States (2009). Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the ... Congress. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  15. ^ a b Shore, University of Maryland Eastern. "NASA physicist is UMES guest speaker". University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  16. ^ "Julian Earls - Executive in Residence | Cleveland State University". business.csuohio.edu. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  17. ^ "A&M Board Selects Julian Earls as 10th President". Space Ref. 2005-09-16. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  18. ^ "Inductees". National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  19. ^ a b c d e "Commencement 2007 Honorary Degree Recipients - Howard University". www.howard.edu. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  20. ^ "NASA - Dutreix Awarded NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal". www.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  21. ^ "Cleveland State University • Dr. Julian Earls discusses CSU's 50th anniversary..." Cleveland State University. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  22. ^ a b Wittry, Jan. "NASA - Biography of Julian Earls". www.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2020-02-19.
  23. ^ "Dr. Julian Earls | Cleveland State University". business.csuohio.edu. Retrieved 2020-02-19.