Henry T. Thomas Sampson, Jr. (born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1934) is an African-American inventor who graduated in 1951 from Lanier High School in Jackson, Mississippi. He then attended Morehouse College for a couple of years before transferring to Purdue University where he became a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He received a Bachelor’s degree in science from Purdue University in 1956. He graduated with an MS degree in engineering from the University of California in 1961. Sampson also received his MS in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1965, and his PhD in 1967.
He is the first African American to earn a Ph.D.in Nuclear Engineering in the United States. Some of his accomplishments include being a member of the United States Navy between the years 1962 and 1964 and earning an Atomic Energy Commission honor between 1964 and 1967. Later he was awarded the Black Image Award from Aerospace Corporation in 1982. He was awarded the Blacks in Engineering, Applied Science Award, and prize for education, by the Los Angeles Council of Black Professional Engineers in 1983. In June 2007, Sampson was married to Laura Howzell Young in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Young-Sampson is a professor in the College of Education at California State University San Bernardino.