Thomas Mensah

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Thomas O. Mensah
Thomas O. Mensah
Dr Thomas Mensah
Occupation President and CEO of the Georgia Aerospace Systems
Known for Pioneer in fiber optic technology

Thomas O. Mensah (born around 1950) is a Ghanaian-American chemical engineer and inventor. His works are in fields relating to the development of fiber optics and nanotechnology. He has 14 patents, 7 of which awarded within a period of six years, and was inducted into the US National Academy of Inventors in 2015.[1][2] In 2017 Dr. Mensah served as Editor-in-Chief of the international textbook Nanotechnology Commercialization published by AIChE and John Wiley & Sons.[3]

Early life[edit]

Thomas Mensah was born in Kumasi, Ghana. His father, J.K. Mensah, was a business merchant who shipped cocoa products to chocolate manufacturers in France.[4]

As a child, Mensah began learning to read newspapers and attained fluency in the French language early,[ambiguous] as he would often engage in conversations in French with his father's clients.[citation needed]


After completing his undergraduate studies in Ghana at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Chemical Engineering, Mensah received a French government fellowship to study at Montpellier University in France. Prior to that, he attended Adisadel College in Cape Coast Ghana. As a result of his fluency in French, he won the National French competition in Ghana, both at the Ordinary Levels (1968) and Advanced Levels 1970 in Accra Ghana.[1]

While at Montpellier University in France, he took part in a program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received a certificate in Modeling and Simulation of Chemical Processes from MIT in 1977. A year later, he graduated with his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Montpelier University.[5]


Mensah worked at Air Products and Chemicals from 1980 to 1983.

In 1983, Mensah joined Corning Glass Works, working in fiber optics research at Sullivan Park, New York. Researchers at Corning had previously developed optical fiber with loss below the crucial attenuation limit of 20 dB/km, but the fibers could not be manufactured at rates higher than 2 meters per second.[6] Mensah improved the manufacturing process through a series of innovations, raising the speed of manufacture to 20 meters per second by 1985.[6] This made the cost of optical fiber comparable to traditional copper cables. Mensah received the Corning Glass Works Individual Outstanding Contributor Award for this work in 1985.[6] His work ultimately raised speed of manufacture above 50 m/s.[6] He is also Chairman of Entertainment Arts Research Inc, a Virtual Reality and Video Game Design Company.[7]

Mensah moved to Bell laboratories in 1986, where he led a program to develop the first laser guided weapons for the US Department of Defense guided missile program which enabled the development of missiles that travel at the speed of sound (Mach 1). This technology developed by Mensah earned him three patents.[6]

Mensah is President and CEO of Georgia Aerospace Systems[8] that manufactures nano composite structures used in missiles and aircraft for the US Department of Defense.[9] On February 24, 2017 CBS Television News devoted a segment featuring Dr. Mensah for Black History Month titled - The Engineer who revolutionized the Internet.[10]

Mensah also serves on the board of a number of organizations including the AIChE National Board of Directors (1987–1990) and is a current Trustee of the Board of AIChE Foundation, and member of the board for the NASA Space Grant Consortium at Georgia Institute of Technology.[11] Mensah was elected a Fellow US National Academy of Inventors in 2014.[12]

Since early 2016, Mensah has been working to create a "Silicon Valley of the South" in the US State of Texas.[13]


Mensah is a recipient of several awards including Turner’s Trumpet Award for Fiber Optics Innovation, Percy Julian Award, Golden Torch Award; the highest award by NSBE, William Grimes Award and Eminent Engineers award by AIChE. He is also a member of the AIChE 100.[14] In December 2017 he received the Kwame Nkrumah African Genius Award in Science/Technology and Innovation in Ghana.[15] Dr Mensah delivered the 10th R. P. Baffour Lecture at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology on 23 November 2017 where he was awarded a Honorary degree in Doctor of Science; D. Sc. Honoraris Causa after the lecture.[16] In November 2015, he received the International Business Leadership Award from the African Leadership Magazine in Atlanta Georgia, USA.[17] He has been profiled in Ebony Magazine’s edition of October 2006 and Chemical Engineering Progress Magazine’s edition of October 2008, March 2009 and March 2015.[18] He served on the visiting committee in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1988–1992. He has also published four books: Fiber Optics Engineering in 1987, Superconductor Engineering in 1992 his autobiography The Right Stuff Comes in Black, Too in 2013 and Nanotechnology Commercialization in 2017. In the first quarter of 2015, the government of the State of Georgia in the USA passed a House Resolution to commend Mensah and his works.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Mensah Thomas". JRank. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "NAI Fellows". 
  3. ^ "Nanotechnology Commercialization". Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  4. ^ "Thomas Mensah". Black Inventor. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Education". Ghana web. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "About the Author – Thomas Mensah". The Right Stuff Comes in Black. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Chairman, Entertainment Arts Research Inc". Newsweek. Retrieved 26 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Georgia Aerospace Systems". Bloomberg. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Work for US Army". freepatentsonline. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Thomas Mensah on CBS News for 2017 Black History Month". Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  11. ^ "Thomas Mensah". Official Website/ Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Academy of Inventors". Academy of Inventors. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Silicon Valley of the South, Texas". 
  14. ^ "100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era". CEP Magazine. October 2008. p. 78. Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "Nkrumah Genius Award". Retrieved 18 December 2017. 
  16. ^ "KNUST Honorary D. Sc. degree". Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  17. ^ "African Leadership Magazine's International Business Leadership award". Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  18. ^ "Thomas Mensah". Official Website. Retrieved 29 Nov 2015. 
  19. ^ "Georgia Resolution 646, USA" (PDF). Retrieved 2 April 2015.