Day: February 14, 2022

Celebrating Black History Month, Week 3

Lonnie G. Johnson: A mechanical and nuclear engineer, he worked for NASA and the Air Force. He worked on the Galileo mission to Jupiter as well as the early stages of the Cassini project. Perhaps most noted as the inventor of the Super Soaker, he holds over 100 patents with more pending.

Alma Levant Hayden: A chemist and expert in spectrophotometry, the measurement of how substances absorb light. She was one of the first (if not the first) Black scientists at the FDA where she exposed the anti-cancer drug Krebiozen as a fraud.

Dr. Charles Henry Turner: A behavioral scientist and early pioneer in the field of insect behavior. He was the first to prove that insects have the capacity to hear and that they learn by trial and error. He also discovered that honeybees can see visual patterns. Quite possibly the first to show that bees can also see color.

Dr. Willie Hobbs Moore: The first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Physics in 1972. Her research focused on infrared spectroscopy. She also advocated for better STEM education for minority populations.

Benjamin Banneker: Largely self-educated mathematician, astronomer, & writer. Best known for his almanacs (1792-1797) that included his own astronomical calculations, literature, medical and tidal information. Banneker wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson “respectfully chiding” him and his fellow patriots for their hypocrisy – enslaving Black people while fighting the British for their own independence.

Carolyn Parker: She earned two Masters, one in Mathematics from University of Michigan & one in Physics from MIT. She was a research physicist on the Dayton Project, part of the Manhattan Project. She helped research using polonium as the initiator for atomic explosions.

Dr. Herman Branson: A biophysicist, he made significant contributions to how proteins work and how they contribute to diseases like sickle cell anemia. He is best known for his research on the alpha helix protein structure.