James H. Stith is Vice President Emeritus for the American Institute of Physics (AIP). An officer of the Institute, he has oversight responsibilities for AIP’s Magazine Division, the Media and Government Relations Division, the Education Division, the Center for the History of Physics, the Statistical Research Center and the Careers Division. Throughout his career, James has been an advocate for programs that ensure ethnic and gender diversity in the sciences.
Earning his doctorate in Physics from Pennsylvania State University, he received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in physics from Virginia State University. An internationally known physics education researcher, his primary interests are in Program Evaluation and Teacher Preparation and Enhancement. He was a Professor of Physics at The Ohio State University and Professor of Physics at the United States Military Academy. A retired Colonel, Stith was the first African American to earn tenure at West Point.
Stith is a past President of the American Association of Physics Teachers (first African American), past President of the National Society of Black Physicists, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the American Association of Physics Teachers, and a Chartered Fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists. Stith was named a Distinguished Alumni of The Pennsylvania State University, an Honorary Member of Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society (its highest award) and a National Academies Education Mentor in the Life Sciences. He was recognized by Science Spectrum Magazine as one of the 50 Most Important Blacks in Research Science and was named a ScienceMaker, a MilitaryMaker and an EducationMaker by HistoryMakers. In 2018, Stith was presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis’s “Who’s Who”. Additionally, he serves on several national and international advisory boards and has been awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters by his alma mater, Virginia State University. His military awards include the Legion of Merit Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal W/Oak Leaf Cluster and the Air Force Commendation Medal.