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Like many other famous African American inventors, theoretical physicist Dr. Shirley Jackson first developed an interest in science and math during her childhood. Her interest led her to MIT, where she received bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees, all in the field of physics. In doing so, she became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. from MIT.
Jackson's knowledge made many advances in telecommunications while working for Bell Laboratories. These advances include developments in the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cell and the fiber optic cables used to provide clarity in overseas phone calls. In addition, this black inventor also contributed to the invention of Caller ID and Call Waiting.