Ernest C. Hammond, Jr.

Updated Sept. 28th There will be a public viewing at March Funeral Home-West on Sept. 29 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. 4300 Wabash Ave., Baltimore, Maryland 21215. The wake and celebration of life service starting at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 30 at the same location.

Ernest C. Hammond, Jr., 76 of Baltimore passed away September 13, 2015 at home. He was born August 22, 1939 in Baltimore to the late Ernest C. Hammond Sr. and Arnetta Williams Hammond. He earned his high school diploma from Baltimore City College in February of 1958. He earned a B.S. in physics in 1962 from Morgan State University and a M.S. in physics in 1965 from Howard University.

Professor Hammond was a tenured faculty member with over forty years of service in the science department at Morgan State University. He worked as a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Physics at Howard University from 1962 to 1964. In 1964, he started his career at Morgan State University as an instructor of physical science where he taught courses in physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy and mathematics.

Professor Hammond became an assistant professor of physical science in 1970. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor in the Physics department in 1990 and worked as a principal investigator of a NASA research project at Morgan State University until his retirement in 2012.

Affectionately known as “Ernie” by friends and family, he was an accomplished violinist and avid supporter of the performing arts. He will be fondly remembered as a photography enthusiast who was well versed in astrology and astronomy. His late wife, Dr. Roselyn Brown Hammond, joined the Morgan faculty as a biology professor in 1970 and the couple married in 1973. They had mutual interests in the sciences, classical music and gathering with friends that made for thirty-eight years of companionship, intellectual compatibility and love until her passing in 2011.

He strived to get more minorities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Besides the scientific rigor of the work, Professor Hammond struggled against the stereotypes that Blacks cannot do cutting edge science and that scholars at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) cannot meet the high standards expected by federal agencies such as NASA. Under his leadership, Morgan State University entered into a partnership with Johns Hopkins University as part of the Space Grant Consortium. Additionally, Professor Hammond conducted various experiments for NASA involving spectroscopic film, electron microscopy, and image processing with research teams of faculty and students. Through his NASA grants he supported over fifty (50) students through graduate school at Morgan and many of whom went on to complete advanced degrees in: Engineering (D.Eng.) Higher Education (Ph.D.), Podiatry (DPM), and Dentistry (DDS).

In 1991, in recognition of the strength of its science programs, Goddard Space Flight Center donated a supercomputer to Morgan State to support a Minority University Space Infrastructure Network. Professor Hammond conducted various experiments with research teams at NASA. He received the Alan Berman Research Publication Award from the Naval Research Laboratory, worked with the IBM research team that discovered the organic dye laser and received grants from NASA for the purpose of conducting research.

As a member of the Visiting Research Staff at Thomas J. Watson Research Center for IBM in Yorktown Heights, New York during the summers of 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971 & 1972, Professor Hammond worked on problems in organic dye lasers and spectroscopy. In the summers of 1973 and 1974, he was a Visiting Summer Scientist at the MIT Lincoln Laboratories in Lexington, Massachusetts where he participated in the planning and development of the Spin Flip Laser and associated Infrared Detection Apparatus. In the summer of 1975, he was a member of the Visiting Research Staff at General Electric Research and Development in Schenectady, New York.

During his accomplished career, Professor Hammond worked on organic dye lasers, absorption spectroscopy of EU 2 o3, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, photographic film studies in space and lunar sample analysis using SEM & TEM from Apollo 11.  He jointly developed a method and device to calibrate spectroscopic film according to certain spectral-photometric characteristics used in ground-based and rocket launched instruments by the Laboratory for Optical Astronomy.

At Morgan State University, he was Chairman of the Committee on Admissions, Member of the Faculty Executive Committee, Chairman of the Morgan State University Advisory Committee on Recruitment, Chairman of the University Parking Committee and Alternate to the Morgan State University Senate.

He served as Captain in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps from February 1968 to January 1970, where he engaged in research in laser-induced plasmas at the Aberdeen Research and Development Center, the Ballistic Research Laboratory, the Terminal Ballistic Laboratory, Laser Branch and the Aberdeen Proving Ground. He also served as a Public Information Officer for the 4th Psychological Operations Group in Saigon, Vietnam. Additionally, he served with the Propaganda Development Section, 8th Psychological Operation Battalion in Pleiku, Vietnam.

In 1970, he was appointed by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird to serve as a Consultant for the Joint Inter-service Task Force on Education in Race Relations.  This task force was assigned responsibility for developing an effective race relations education program that would be applicable across services.

Professor Hammond published many works and received numerous awards, certificates of appreciation and accolades. In 1985, he was recognized by the City of Baltimore as an outstanding educator in the field of space science and technology. Additionally, his expertise and leadership skills propelled him into positions of responsibility in various professional and social organizations of which he was a member. He held memberships in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated and Sigma Pi Sigma, the National Honor Physics Society. He was recognized as an ASI Fellow by the African Scientific Institute (ASI); was a member of the American Physical Society of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; past executive committee member of the Forum of Physics and Society; member of the History of Science Society; member of the History of Science Club of Washington; member of the Chesapeake Section of the American Association for Physics; Vice Chairman of Board of Directors, Afro-American Total Theatre; past treasurer of the Board of Directors, Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., and member of the Public Affairs Committee of the American Lung Association of Maryland, Inc.

He is preceded in death by his parents and wife, Roselyn Brown Hammond.  He is survived by cousins John Williams (Takisha), Gilbert, Arizona; Terry Williams, Baltimore, Maryland; caregiver, Peggy Bailey, Baltimore, Maryland and Joanne Williams, Baltimore, Maryland, who was like a daughter. Also surviving are extended family, many friends and former students.