Date of Birth: 15th June 1957
LASER: an intense, narrow beam of light used for very precise scientific purposes
NANOTECHNOLOGY: “nano” means very small; a measurement of one thousand-millionth; nanotechnology deals with extremely small things
HUBBLE TELESCOPE: a high-powered telescope for investigating outer space. It is named after astronomer Edwin P. Hubble.
Caribbean Icons in STI Volume 1
Robert Rashford is an internationally known aerospace engineer who makes tools for use in outer space. He worked closely with a team of scientists to repair the first Hubble Space Telescope and restore its 20/20 vision. This telescope has been useful to out study of outer space and has taken pictures of never before seen stars, planets, and galaxies.
Rashford also developed a method of testing equipment used on space shuttles and by astronauts during space missions. He manages his own company, Genesis Engineering Solutions Inc and is currently working on the development of an instrument that will fly on board the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) spacecraft. The JWST is designed to observe the first stars and galaxies in the universe and is a replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope.
For his extensive work, he received many awards, including four awards from NASA for his work on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite and the Hubble Space Telescope. He also received an award for Excellence in Science and Technology from the Institute of Caribbean Studies.
Rashford was born in Kingston, Jamaica on June 15th 1957. His family was not well off and his creativity led him to make his own toys using simple things like cotton reels and cardboard. He enjoyed science and mathematics while at Waulgrove High School.
In 1978, he went to live in the United States of America. He obtained a degree in engineering at Temple University and secured a master’s degree at the University of Maryland in engineering and management.
Rashford’s research led to the invention of a dry laser cleaning tool for flat panel displays in 2001. This tool replaces the use of “wet” cleaning methods with harmful chemicals. Together with another scientist, Charles Rivera, Rashford invented to world’s first portable “Non-destructive Evaluation System”, which enables the detection of flaws in materials used in aircraft, pipelines, and other structures without having to take these materials apart.
Rashford is now working in the field of nanotechnology developing very small circuits for use in computers. He believes the day will come when a computer can be rolled up and put in your pocket. He has many more visions of the future.
Today, he says to young people,”Expect challenges in your life; if you have no challenges, you do not live- use each one to motivate you to achieve great things.”