Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Henry T. Sampson received a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in 1956. He went on to the University of California, Los Angeles where he graduated with an MS degree in engineering in 1961; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, MS in Nuclear Engineering in 1965, and a PHD in 1967.
On 6 July 1971, Dr. Sampson invented the “gamma-electric cell”, which pertains to Nuclear Reactor use. This invention produces stable high-voltage output and current to detect radiation in the ground. The gamma-electric cell made it possible to send and receive audio signals via radio waves without wires; therefore, Henry Sampson has also been credited as the inventor of a cell phone, which became available in 1983.
Henry T. Sampson worked as a research Chemical Engineer at the US Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, California, from 1956 to 1961. He then moved on to the Aerospace Corp, El Segundo, California. His titles include: Project Engineer, 1967-81, director of Planning and Operations Directorate of Space Test Program, 1981-, and Co-inventor of gamma-electric cell. He holds patents related to solid rocket motors and conversion of nuclear energy into electricity. He also pioneered a study of internal ballistics of solid rocket motors using high-speed photography.
In addition, Henry Sampson was a producer of documentary films on early black filmmakers and films and a technical consultant to Historical Black Colleges and Universities Program.