Light & Verity

Hometown hero

A mural honors physicist Edward Bouchet.

Mark Alden Branch ’86

Mark Alden Branch ’86

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Yale has honored alumnus Edward Bouchet, the first African American to earn a PhD from an American university, with a research program for undergraduates and with portraits in Saybrook College and Sterling Memorial Library. Bouchet, who graduated from Yale College in 1874 and finished his doctorate in physics in 1876, was also a New Haven native—and artist Kwadwo Adae thought he deserved a major tribute in the community. This past summer, Adae and his son Kwasi Adae painted this mural at the corner of Dixwell Avenue and Henry Street, a few blocks from the Yale campus. Adae says the renditions of Bouchet in different colors are a nod to Bouchet’s dissertation, which focused on measuring the refraction of light.

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