Thomas O. Mensah (born around 1950) is a Ghanaian born chemical engineer and inventor.
Dr. Thomas Mensah is an internationally recognized authority in Fiber Optics and Nanotechnology and also a renowned scientist and inventor with 7 USA and worldwide patents in Fiber Optics over a period of six years. He has at least 14 patents to his name in general He is the first black person to receive such number of patents in a short number of years, and was elected to the rank of Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in the USA.
One of his patents based on boundary layer theory led to the replacement of Nitrogen inert gas with the more soluble carbon dioxide gas permitting optical fibers to be coated at ultra-high speed beyond 50 meters per second producing high strength fibers used for submarine and undersea cables that connect continents and countries, leading to a a robust seamless global infrastructure for the modern day high speed internet.
In one of his patents he used his understanding of boundary layer theory to design a high speed draw and coating manufacturing system that eliminated bubbles and defects in optical fibers. His Innovations allow any person with a cell phone or tablet to access the Internet easily from any place to receive Emails, Google Search information, YouTube videos, etc on the World Wide Web.
Fiber Optics is one of the greatest innovations in this century, since the internet depends on it. Over one billion people today are connected to the Internet because of fiber optics. All emails, YouTube videos, Tweets and Facebook pictures are transmitted by lasers on fiber optics networks; both terrestrial and submarine platforms to cell phones, tablets and personal computers worldwide.
As a leading Fiber Optics innovator, Dr. Mensah worked at both Corning Glass Works Inc, and AT&T Bell Laboratories
Thomas is currently the President and CEO of the Georgia Aerospace Systems, an Advanced Aerospace Composite manufacturing company which has supplied Nano composite materials structures for unmanned aerial vehicle systems for the US Department of Defense. He is also the Chairman of Lightwave Systems a Fiber Optics Cable Company that builds Broadband networks and Energy Platforms in the United States and Sub Saharan Africa.
The father of Thomas O. Mensah; J.K. Mensah, was a businessman who shipped cocoa products to chocolate manufacturers in France.
Thomas was a bright child and begun learning to read newspapers at an early age and becoming fluent in French language by listening to French Radio. As a child, he often conversed in French with his father’s business Clients from France.
The first practical demonstration of the Optical Fiber in the world was initially conducted in the Laboratory at Sullivan Park Research center at Corning Glass works by three scientists, namely Dr. Bob Maurer, Dr. Don Keck and Dr. Peter Schultz. The speed of manufacturing remained at 2 meters per second for almost 15 years, until Thomas Mensah solved the manufacturing problem through a series of inventions at Sullivan Park Research Center leading to the worldwide replacement of copper media with Fiber Optics. Thomas’ pioneering patents in relation to Fiber Optics reduced its cost to the same level as the copper media, leading to the spread of Fiber Optics in the US and the world. He received the Individual Outstanding Contributor Award, $10,000 IOC Prize at Corning Glass works in 1985. This innovation by Dr. Mensah and researchers at Corning and AT&T, led to the expansion of the Internet to many countries to support the modern day high-speed Internet platform.
Thomas holds a Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from Montpellier University, France in 1978, and a Certificate in Modeling of Chemical Processes from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1977). He has held high level engineering positions in US industry first at Air Products and Chemicals (from 1980–83), then Corning Glass Works, in Fiber Optics research Sullivan Park, New York (from 1983–86), where he built the fastest Fiber Optics draw and coating process at 50 meters per second. He holds 4 patents for this effort in this regard.
He joined AT&T Bell laboratories in 1986 and led the program to develop fiber optic reels used in the guided missile program. This effort led to the development of a system that was successfully deployed at missile speeds up to Mach (speed) |Mach 1 (that is, the speed of sound). He received 3 US patents on this technology. FOG-M is the first demonstration of Non-Line of Sight smart weapon in the United States. In this system a small camera at the nosecone of the missile gathers wide angle pictures of targets and transmit them over the fiber to the cockpit display system for target acquisition.
Dr. Mensah Thomas is currently the President and CEO of the Georgia Aerospace Systems. Advanced Aerospace Composite manufacturing company, which has supplied. Nanocomposites structures for unmanned aerial vehicle systems for the US Department of Defense. Dr. Mensah also founded the high-tech firm Supercond Technology in Norcross Georgia which is now the research division of Georgia Aerospace in the USA. The firm specializes in Aerospace and Communication products. His firm focuses on advanced structural materials development for Supersonic US Fighter Aircraft like the F-22, and its newer version F-35, the fastest jets in the world. He is Chairman of Lightwave Systems a Fiber Optic Cable Company that connects Cell Phone Towers with Fiber Optic Cable for Broadband applications and installs Energy Generating Systems in the US and Abroad. Dr. Mensah was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors USA in December 2014. He has received the Percy Julian Award in 2010, the Trumpet Award in 2007, (Promenade of Distinction), The Diamond Award in 2011, the NSBE Golden Torch (Highest) Award in 2006, AIChE 100 in 2008, Williams Grimes Award in 2007 and the Eminent Engineer Award in 2008. He has been profiled in Ebony Magazine and Chemical Engineering Progress Magazine. Dr. Mensah has published the following books, Fiber Optics Engineering Book, 1987, Superconductor Engineering Book 1992, Autobiography, The Right Stuff Comes in Black Too 2013, and is the Editor in Chief for the Frontiers of Nanotechnology Book in press by Wiley and AIChE this year. Dr. Mensah has also conceived and is developing the Success Amusement Parks for African Americans, Latinos and other races that focuses on Culture and Achievement.
Ebony Magazine calls him a Genius, and he was the focus of 2015 Black History Month article by a group that focused on two great Inventors Grandville Woods and George Washington Carver last year.