Willie Hobbs Moore

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Willie Hobbs Moore
Willie Hobbs

(1934-05-23)23 May 1934
Died14 March 1994(1994-03-14) (aged 59)
EducationUniversity of Michigan (Ph.D., 1972)
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, engineering
InstitutionsFord Motor Company, Datamax
ThesisA Vibrational Analysis of Secondary Chlorides
Doctoral advisorSamuel Krimm

Willie Hobbs Moore (1934–1994) was an American physicist and engineer. She was the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Willie Hobbs was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on 23 May 1934.[2] Moore moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1952 to attend the University of Michigan. She earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1958 and her master's degree in 1961.[3] While working toward her doctoral degree, she also held positions at technology firms in Ann Arbor including KMS Industries and Datamax Corporation.[4] She also held engineering positions at Bendix Aerospace Systems, Barnes Engineering, and Sensor Dynamics, where she was responsible for the theoretical analysis.[5] Moore completed her thesis, A Vibrational Analysis of Secondary Chlorides, under the supervision of Samuel Krimm at the University of Michigan in 1972.[6] This work was applicable to important questions in the vibrational study of macromolecules.[1]

After receiving her doctorate, Moore worked at the University of Michigan as a research scientist until 1977, continuing spectroscopic work on proteins. In the five years following her dissertation, she published more than thirty papers with Krimm and collaborators.[6] She was hired by Ford Motor Company in 1977 as an assembly engineer.[7] Moore expanded Ford's use of Japanese engineering and manufacturing methods in the 1980s.[8][9] In 1991, Ebony magazine named Moore as one of their 100 "most promising black women in corporate America".[4] The University of Michigan established the Willie Hobbs Moore Award for mentoring in her honor.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Moore was a tutor, a member of Links Inc., a member of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the chairwoman of the Juanita D. Woods Scholarship Fund. She married Sidney L. Moore, who taught at the University of Michigan's Neuropsychiatric Institute, for thirty years. They had two children Dr. Dorian Moore, MD. and Christopher Hobbs Moore, RN. Willie has three grandchildren, Sydney Padgett, William Hobbs Moore, and Christopher Jackson Moore. [4]

Moore died at home, of cancer, on 14 March 1994.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Professor Christine Aidala Receives Willie Hobbs Moore Award". News, Physics, University of Michigan. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b Mickens, Ronald E. (2007). Edward Bouchet : the first African-American doctorate. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific. pp. 97–98. ISBN 978-9810249090. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Women in Science". The Star Garden. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Grantham, Russell (15 March 1994). "Scholar, tutor, pioneering black woman dies". Ann Arbor News. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  5. ^ Willie Hobbs Moore, first African American Woman Physicist
  6. ^ a b Mickens, Ronald. "Abstract: V24.00004 : Willie Hobbs Moore (1934–1994): The First Female African American Physicist". APS March Meeting 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Engineering Their Way to the Top". Ebony. XL (2): 33. December 1984.
  8. ^ "Deaths". Toledo Blade. March 16, 1994. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  9. ^ "Pair of pioneers lauded". University of Michigan, The University Record Online. Retrieved 17 February 2015.