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List of African-American inventors and scientists

This list of African-American inventors and scientists documents many of the African Americans who have invented a multitude of items or made discoveries in the course of their lives. These have ranged from practical everyday devices to applications and scientific discoveries in diverse fields, including physics, biology, mathematics, plus the medical, nuclear and space sciences.

Among the earliest was

  • The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences
  • The Black Inventor Online Museum
  • website

External links

  1. ^ Carver, George Washington. 1916. "How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption", Tuskegee Institute Experimental Station Bulletin 31.
  2. ^ Interview wp'ith CNBC's "How I Made my Millions"
  3. ^ Roche, Timothy. Soaking In Success, Time magazine, December 4, 2000.
  4. ^ a b Products Created by Independent Inventors, April 2, 2009, Inventors Digest.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^ .
  9. ^ [1], "Folding Bed" 
  10. ^
  11. ^ The ninth and tenth paragraphs of the "His Story" page in official website of the Washington Interdependence Council: Administrators of the Benjamin Banneker Memorial (Retrieved 2008-08-06), the fourth paragraph in the webpage entitled "Who was Benjamin Banneker?" in official website of the Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, 800 Euclid Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001 (Retrieved 2009-11-12), the fourth paragraph in the section entitled "BENJAMIN BANNEKER (1731–1806)" in "Benjamin Banneker" page in website of "ChickenBones: A Journal for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes" (Retrieved 2008-08-06), the third paragraph in Newbold, K., "Benjamin Banneker: A Brief Biography" in official website of The James Madison Center, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia (Retrieved 2008-10-23), the first paragraph in the webpage entitled "Benjamin Banneker (1731–1806)" in official website of the Brookhaven National Laboratory (Retrieved 2008-08-08), the fifth and sixth paragraphs in "Benjamin Banneker in website of "The Black Inventor Online Museum" by Adscape International, LLC (Retrieved 2009-02-02), An Early American Hero: Benjamin Banneker in website of SuccessMaker Enterprise by Pearson Education, Inc. (Retrieved 2009-02-09), and the 1970 book by Claude Lewis entitled Benjamin Banneker: the man who saved Washington, New York, McGraw-Hill, relate part or all of this urban legend.
  12. ^ Institute for Advanced Study: A Community of Scholars
  13. ^ Janet Emerson Bashen, Retrieved from website March 14, 2011.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Earl S. Bell, Retrieved from website June 06, 2011.
  19. ^ Earl S. Bell, Retrieved from website June 06, 2011.
  20. ^ Earl S. Bell, Retrieved from website June 06, 2011.
  21. ^ Bellis, Mary. Inventors: Miriam Benjamin, Retrieved from website, February 17, 2011.
  22. ^ University of Chicago
  23. ^ Williams, Scott W. (2008). "Mathematicians of the African Diaspora: Albert Turner Bharucha-Reid". The Mathematics Department of the State University of New York at Buffalo. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  24. ^
  25. ^ Michael D. Lemonick, "The Tumor War", TIME, Heroes of Medicine special edition, Fall 1997 (retrieved May 15, 2009).
  26. ^
  27. ^ Maryland's African American Heritage: Henry Blair, ThinkQuest.
  28. ^ About Inventors: Henry Blair
  29. ^ Kwabena Boahen, PhD, Associate Professor of Bioengineering, Stanford Bioengineering, Stanford School of Medicine, 2013.
  30. ^ IBM Seeks to Build the Computer of the Future Based on Insights from the Brain: IBM Awarded DARPA Funding for Cognitive Computing Collaboration, IBM Alden, November 20, 2008.
  31. ^ Sarah Boone, The Black Inventor On-Line Museum, Accessed December 6, 2012.
  32. ^ Patent US473653 – IRONING-BOARD – Google Patents
  33. ^ The History Woman
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ U.S. Department Of Energy. Black Contributors to Science and Energy Technology (Biographical sketch: Otis Boykin), U.S. Department Of Energy, Office of Public Affairs, U.S.Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1979, pp. 8–9, DOE/OPA-0035(79)
  37. ^ Mary Bellis, "Otis Boykin", Guide.
  38. ^ "Inventor of Heart Stimulator Honored At Memorial Service." Dallas Morning News, March 18, 1982, p. 88.
  39. ^ University of Illinois biography, University of Illinois.
  40. ^ PNAS Classics – Protein Structure
  41. ^ Einseberg, David. "The discovery of the alpha-helix and beta-sheet, the principal structural features of proteins" PNAS 100(20):11207-11210 (2003) [2]
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ Health and Medical Biographies.Biography of Benjamin S. Carson.
  46. ^
  47. ^ Harlan, Volume 5, p. 481
  48. ^ Special History Study from the National Park Service website
  49. ^ The legacy of George Washington Carver-Friends & Colleagues (Henry Wallace)
  50. ^ “A Successful Negro Aviator. Charles Ward Chappelle Invents and Aeroplane Which Attacks Attention.” News/Opinion, Savannah Tribune, Page 1, February 11, 1911. Savannah, Georgia
  51. ^ “Mr. C.W. Chappelle: The Man, His Life, His Work And His Aspirations.” The Gold Coast Nation. Page 3. June 28, 1919. Ghana.
  52. ^ The Crises: A Record of the Darker Races, "Social Uplift" (page 7), published by the National Association of Colored People (NAACP), May 11, 1911 in New York City.
  53. ^ Bio. True Story, "Kenneth Bancroft Clark Biography." Accessed December 7, 2012.
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^ The Plain Dealer obituary
  59. ^ Interview code OHI0026830
  60. ^ Skip Ellis, Retrieved from Computer Scientists of the African Diaspora web site March 6, 2012.
  61. ^ Skip Ellis, Retrieved from howstuffworks Extraordinary People website, March 6, 2012.
  62. ^
  63. ^ .
  64. ^ .
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^
  69. ^ Dr. Joseph L. Graves, Jr.
  70. ^
  71. ^ Joseph L. Graves, Jr., Ph.D.
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^
  76. ^ McMurray, Emily, ed. Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists. Gale Research, Inc.: Detroit, 1995.
  77. ^ Singing In The Brain, Duke Magazine, November–December 2001.
  78. ^ Duke News.
  79. ^ Erich Jarvis Named Howard Hughes Investigator, Duke Medicine News & Communications. Retrieved from
  80. ^ Bicycle Frame, Patent number: 634823, Filing date: April 6, 1898, Issue date: October 10, 1899, United States Patent Office.
  81. ^ Soaking In Success, By Timothy Roche, December 4, 2000, TIME.
  82. ^ Shooting for the Sun, By Logan Ward, October 2010, The Atlantic
  83. ^ Lonni Johnson --- Thermo-Electric Generator -- articles, patent, The Rex Research Civilization Kit.
  84. ^
  85. ^
  86. ^ Julian, Marker, Djerassi
  87. ^
  88. ^
  89. ^
  90. ^
  91. ^
  92. ^
  93. ^ , PBS.African American Lives 2
  94. ^ – Stanford School of Medicine
  95. ^ – Journal of the National Medical Association – Sept. 1978
  96. ^ – Encyclopedia of Arkansas
  97. ^ – New York Times – Dec. 24, 1981
  98. ^
  99. ^
  100. ^
  101. ^ List of 2006 NIHF inductees
  102. ^
  103. ^
  104. ^
  105. ^
  106. ^ Brown, Mitchell, [ mcbay.html “Faces of Science: African-Americans in the Sciences,”] 1996.
  107. ^ Kessler, James H., J.S. Kidd, Renee A. Kidd, and Katherine A. Morin. Distinguished African-American Scientists of the 20th Century. Oryx Press: Phoenix, AZ, 1996.
  108. ^
  109. ^
  110. ^ Article outlining McLurkin's "Innovative Lives" presentation for the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center
  111. ^ [3]
  112. ^ NY Times article
  113. ^ manuscriptActing White
  114. ^ Bike, William S. "Essays on Earl Renfroe" [4]. UIC College of Dentistry Press, 2001.
  115. ^ Janega, James. Chicago Tribune. "Dr. Earl Renfroe Sr., 93, Pioneering Orthodontist." [5].
  116. ^ Norbert Rillieux, invention of the multiple-effect evaporator, Accessed December 4, 2012.
  117. ^
  118. ^
  119. ^
  120. ^ Larry D. Nachman, "A Conflict of Visions, by Thomas Sowell", Commentary, March 1987
  121. ^
  122. ^ NCTM past presidents, retrieved 2011-03-20.
  123. ^ Lewis Temple, Black Inventor Online Museum. Accessed December 6, 2012.
  124. ^ (1985) Pioneering Research in Surgical Shock and Cardiovascular Surgery: Vivien Thomas and His Work with Alfred Blalock, University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 9-13. ISBN 0-8122-7989-1.
  125. ^
  126. ^ OAH Award Winners, OAH Erik Barnouw Award Winners
  127. ^ *
  128. ^
  129. ^
  130. ^
  131. ^ James Glanz, Arthur Walker, 64, Scientist and Mentor, Dies, The New York Times (May 9, 2001).
  132. ^ Dawn Levy, Art Walker : 'favorite sun' of solar physics, Stanford Report (October 4, 2000).
  133. ^ Dawn Levy, Solar physicist Art Walker dies at 64; pioneer in X-ray optics, Stanford Report (May 2, 2001).
  134. ^ NCAR's Warren Washington elected chair of National Science Board May 10, 2002.
  135. ^ Warren M. Washington Collection, National Center for Atmospheric Research.
  136. ^ Warren Washington Receives National Science Medal, National Center for Atmospheric Research, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, October 15, 2010.
  137. ^ Warren M. Washington: Senior Scientist & Head of the Climate Change Research Section, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, The National Center for Atmospheric Research, National Academy of Sciences.
  138. ^
  139. ^
  140. ^
  141. ^ IEEE
  142. ^ University of Chicago news release
  143. ^ Zerbonia, Ralph G. (contrib. by Alic, Margaret) (2005) Contemporary Black Biography, Gale Research Inc, 2005, Vol.49 (Original from the University of Michigan), Digitized Sep 17, 2008, ISBN 0-7876-6731-5, ISBN 978-0-7876-6731-3, (biography viewable via;
  144. ^ The Black Inventor On-Line Museum, "Daniel Hale Williams." Accessed December 7, 2012.
  145. ^
  146. ^
  147. ^
  148. ^ Bellis, Mary. Granville T. Woods, 1856–1910.
  149. ^ Africana: Civil Rights: An A-to-Z Reference of the Movement that Changed AmericaKwame Anthony Appiah, Henry Louis Gates –
  150. ^
  151. ^
  152. ^
  153. ^




See also

Name Life Occupation Inventions/Accomplishments Refs
Amos, Harold 1918–2003 Microbiologist First African-American department chair at Harvard Medical School [5]
Alcorn, George Edward, Jr. 1940– Physicist
Invented a method of fabricating an imaging X-ray spectrometer [6][7]
Andrews, James J. 1930–1998 Mathematician Put forth the Andrews–Curtis conjecture in group theory with Morton L. Curtis, still unsolved [8]
Leonard C. Bailey 1890–1976 Inventor Folding bed [9]
Ball, Alice Augusta 1892–1916 Chemist Extracted chaulmoogra oil for the treatment of Hansen's disease (leprosy). [10]
Banneker, Benjamin 1731–1806 Mathematician
Wooden clock (1753). Assisted in survey of the original boundaries of the District of Columbia (1791). Authored almanac and ephemeris (1792–1797) [11]
Banyaga, Augustin 1947– Mathematician Work on diffeomorphisms and symplectomorphisms [12]
Bashen, Janet 1957– Inventor
First African-American woman to receive a patent for a web-based software invention. The invention, LinkLine, is an Equal Employment Opportunity case management and tracking software. [13]
Bath, Patricia 1942– Ophthalmologist First African-American female physician to receive a patent for a medical invention. Inventions relate to cataract surgery and include the Laserphaco Probe, which revolutionized the industry in the 1980s, and an ultrasound technique for treatment. [14][15][16]
Beard, Andrew 1849–1921 Farmer
Railroad worker
Janney coupler improvements

Invented the car device#594,059 dated November 23, 1897
Rotary engine patent #478,271 dated July 5, 1892

Bell, Earl S. 1977– Inventor
Industrial Designer
Invented Chair With Sliding Skin (2004), and the Quantitative Display Apparatus (2005) [18]

[19] [20]

Benjamin, Miriam 1861–1947 Inventor
Invented "Gong and Signal Chair for Hotels". Second African-American woman to receive a patent. [21]
Berry, Leonidas 1902–1995 Gastroenterologist Gastroscope pioneer [22]
Bharucha-Reid, Albert T. 1927–1985 Mathematician
Probability theory and Markov chain theorist [23]
Black, Keith 1957– Neurosurgeon Brain tumor surgery and research [24][25]
Blackwell, David 1919–2010 Mathematician
First proposed the Blackwell channel model used in coding theory and information theory; one of the eponyms of the Rao–Blackwell theorem, which is a process that significantly improves crude statistical estimators. [26]
Blair, Henry 1807–1860 Inventor Second black inventor to issue a patent
Invented early spark plug


Boahen, Kwabena 19xx– Bioengineer Silicon retina able to process images in the same manner as a living retina [29][30]
Boone, Sarah 1832–1905
Inventor Ironing board allowing sleeves of women's garments to be ironed more easily [31][32][33]
Bouchet, Edward 1852–1918 Physicist First African-American to receive a Ph.D. in any subject. Received physics doctorate from Yale University in 1876.
Bowman, James 1923–2011 Physician Pathologist and geneticist; Professor Emeritus Pritzker School of Medicine; first tenured African-American professor at the University of Chicago Division of Biological Sciences. [34][35]
Boykin, Otis 1920–1982 Inventor
Artificial heart pacemaker control unit. [36][37][38]
Brady, St. Elmo 1884–1966 Chemist Published three scholarly abstracts in Science and also collaborated on a paper published in Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. [39]
Branson, Herman 1914–1995 Physicist
Protein structure research [40][41]
Brooks, Charles 1865– ? Inventor Street sweeper truck and a type of paper punch
Brooks, Phil 19xx– Inventor First U.S. Patent for a disposable syringe
Henry Brown 1832– ? Inventor Invented fire safe [42]
Brown, Oscar E. 18xx– ? Inventor Received a patent for an improved horseshoe [43]
Burr, John Albert 18xx– ? Inventor Rotary-blade lawn mower patent [44]
Cardozo, P. William 1905–1962 Pediatrician Sickle cell anemia studies. In October 1937, he published "Immunologic Studies in Sickle Cell Anemia" in the Archives of Internal Medicine; many of the findings are still valid today.
Carson, Ben 1951– Pediatric Neurosurgeon Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University
First surgeon to successfully separate craniopagus twins
Carver, George Washington 1865–1943 Botanical researcher Discovered hundreds of uses for previously useless vegetables and fruits, principally the peanut [46][47][48][49]
Charles W. Chappelle 1872-1941 electrician, construction, international businessman, and aviation pioneer Designed long distance flight airplane. C.W. Chappelle was the only African-American to invent and display the airplane at the 1911 First Industrial Air Show held in conjunction with the Auto Show at Grand Central Palace in Manhattan in New York City. C.W. Chappelle was also the president of the African Union Company, Inc. ,[50][51][52]
Chappelle, Emmett 1925– Scientist and researcher Valuable contributions to several fields: medicine, biology, food science, and astrochemistry
Clark, Mamie 1914–2005 Psychologist Conducted 1940s experiments using dolls to study children's attitudes about race.
Clark, Kenneth 1917–1983 Psychologist First Black president of the American Psychological Association [53]
Crosthwait, David, Jr. 1898–1976 Research engineer Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
Received some 40 U.S. patents relating to HVAC systems.
Dabiri, John 1980- Biophysicist Expert on jellyfish hydrodynamics and designer of a vertical-axis wind farm adapted from schooling fish.
Daly, Marie Maynard 1921–2003 Chemist First black American woman with a Ph.D. in chemistry.
Dean, Mark 1957– Computer scientist Led the team that developed the ISA bus, and led the design team responsible for creating the first one-gigahertz computer processor chip. [54][55][56]
Drew, Charles 1904–1950 Medical researcher Developed improved techniques for blood storage
Du Chaillu, Paul 1831–1903 Zoologist
Explorer who was the first modern European outsider to confirm the existence of gorillas, and later the Pygmy people of central Africa. Identified as white throughout life, but his mother was a Réunionnais mulatto. Settled in America and considered it his country by adoption. The full aspects of his ancestry were not uncovered until 1979, and are still little known today.
Easley, Annie 1933–2011[57] Computer scientist Work at the Lewis Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics [58][59]
Ellis, Clarence "Skip" 1943– Computer scientist First African American with a Ph.D. in Computer Science
Software inventor including OfficeTalk at Xerox PARC
Ezerioha, Bisi 1972– Automotive engineer Drag racing engineer and driver
Ferguson, Lloyd Noel 1918–2011 Chemist
Chemistry doctorate, first received (1943, University of California, Berkeley) [62][63][64]
Fryer, Roland G., Jr. 1977– Economist
Social scientist
Inequality studies
Gates, Sylvester James 1950– Theoretical physicist Work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory [65][66]
Goode, Sarah E. 1855–1905 Inventor Cabinet bed invention
First African-American woman to receive a patent in the United States
Gilbert, Juan E. 1969– Computer scientist Awarded the first Presidential Endowed Chair at Clemson University in honor of his accomplishments
Graves, Joseph L. 1955– Evolutionary biologist [69][70][71]
Greenaugh, Kevin 1956– Nuclear engineer [72]
Griffin, Bessie Blount 1914–2009 Physical therapist
Amputee self-feeding device [73][74]
Hall, Lloyd 1894–1971 Chemist
Harris, James A. 1932–2000 Co-discovered Rutherfordium (element 104) and Hafnium (element 105) at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory [75]
Hawkins, Walter Lincoln 1911–1992 Scientist Inventor at Bell Laboratories [76]
Hodge, John E. 1914–1996 Chemist
Holley, Kerrie 1954– Research computer scientist at IBM Co-creator of Service-Oriented Modeling and Architecture, SOMA and the Service Integration Maturity Model (SIMM)
Jarvis, Erich 19xx– Neurobiologist Duke University neuroscience bird songs studies. [77][78][79]
Johnson, Isaac 18xx– ? Inventor Held patent for improvements to the bicycle frame, specifically so it could be taken apart for compact storage. [80]
Johnson, Lonnie 1949– Mechanical engineerNuclear engineer
Invented Super Soaker while researching thermal energy transfer engines; worked with NASA. Holder of over 80 patents [4][81]
Jones, Frederick McKinley 1893–1961 Inventor Invented refrigerated truck systems [84]
Julian, Percy 1899–1975 Chemist First to synthesize the natural product physostigmine; earned 130 chemical patents; lauded for humanitarian achievements. [85][86][87][88]
Just, Ernest 1883–1941 Woods Hole Marine Biology Institute Biologist Provided basic and initial descriptions of the structure–function–property relationship of the plasma membrane of biological cells. [89][90][91]
Kittles, Rick 1967– Geneticist Work in tracing the ancestry of African Americans via DNA testing [92][93]
Kountz, Samuel L. 1930–1981 Transplant surgeon
Organ transplantation pioneer, particularly renal transplant research and surgery.
Author or co-author of 172 articles in scientific publications.
Latimer, Lewis 1848–1928 Inventor
Expert witness
Worked as a draftsman for both Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. He became a member of Edison's Pioneers and served as an expert witness in many light bulb litigation lawsuits. Invention of the Water closet is also said to be invented by Lewis. [98][99][100][101]
Lawson, Jerry 1940–2011 Computer engineer Designer of Fairchild Channel F, the first programmable ROM cartridge-based video game console [6][102]
Lee, Raphael Carl 1949– Surgeon
Biomedical engineer
Paul and Aileen Russell Professor, Pritzker School of Medicine; MacArthur Fellow, Searle Scholar, Founder and Chairman, Avocet Polymer Technologies, Inc.; Founder and Chairman, Renacyte BioMolecular Technologies, Inc; Discovered use of surfactant copolymers as molecular chaperones to augment endogenous injury repair mechanisms of living cells. Holder of many patents covering scar treatment therapies, tissue engineered ligaments, brain trauma therapies, protective garments.
Lynk, Beebe Steven 1872–1948 Chemist Teacher at West Tennessee University
Mahoney, Mary 1845-1926 Nurse First African American to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States [103]
Matzeliger, Jan 1852–1889 Inventor Shoe assembly Machine [104][105]
McBay, Henry 1914–1995 Chemist His discoveries allowed chemists around the world to create inexpensive peroxide compounds [106][107]
McCoy, Elijah 1844–1929 Inventor Invented a version of the automatic lubricator for steam engines,McCoy learned a great deal of his skills from a mechanical apprenticeship when he was age fifteen . [108][109]
McLurkin, James 1972– Roboticist [110]
McWhorter, John 1965– Linguist Specializes in the study of creole language formation
Montgomery, Benjamin 1819–1877 Inventor Designed a steam operated propeller to provide propulsion to boats in shallow water
Moore, Willie Hobbs 1934-1994 Physicist Willie Hobbs Moore was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Physics (University of Michigan Ann Arbor 1972) on vibrational analysis of secondary chlorides. [111]
Mensah, Thomas 1950-- Inventor
Nmezi, Murphy 1955– Physician/Biostatistician Advances in Path Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling
Nriagu, Jerome 1944– Geochemist Studies toxic metals in the environment. Originator of the lead poisoning thesis of the decline of the Roman Empire
Ogbu, John Uzo 1939–2003 Anthropologist Ethnic studies in education and economics [112][113]
Olukotun, Kunle 19xx– Computer scientist Early advocate and researcher of multi-core processors
Oyekan, Soni 1946– Chemical engineer Inventions in oil refining
Poindexter, Hildrus 1901–1987 Bacteriologist
Work on the epidemiology of tropical diseases including malaria
Petters, Arlie 1964– Physicist Work on the mathematical physics of gravitational lensing
Quarterman, Lloyd Albert 1918–1982 Scientist
Fluoride Chemist
Manhattan Project, worked with Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi
Renfroe, Earl 1907–2000 Orthodontist [114][115]
Rillieux, Norbert 1806–1894 Engineer
Inventor of the multiple-effect evaporator [116]
Robinson, Larry 1957– Environmental chemist Investigated possible role of arsenic in the death of Zachary Taylor. Interim president of Florida A&M University.
Russell, Jesse 1948– Engineer
Wireless communications engineer
Sammons, Walter 1890–1973 Inventor Patent for hot comb [117]
Sowell, Thomas 1930– Economist
Social scientist
Economist, social theorist and political philosopher [118][119][120][121]
Steele, Claude 1946– Psychologist
Social scientist
Stereotype threat studies
Stiff, Lee 1941– Mathematician President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics from 2000 to 2002 [122]
Snyder, Window 1976– Computer engineer Security engineer at Microsoft, Mozilla, and Apple
Temple, Lewis 1800–1854 Inventor, Blacksmith, abolitionist Inventor of the toggling whaling harpoon head. [123]
Thomas, Vivien 1910–1985 Surgical technician Blue baby syndrome treatment in the 1940s [124][125][126]
Turner, Charles Henry 1867–1923 Zoologist First person to prove that insects can hear and can distinguish pitch, that cockroaches can learn by trial and error, and that honeybees can see color. First African-American to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. [127]
Tyree, Bernadette 19xx– Biochemist Program Director at National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Tyson, Neil deGrasse 1958– Astronomer Researcher and popular educator in astronomy and the sciences [128][129][130]
Walker, Arthur B. C., Jr. 1936–2001 Astronomer Developed normal incidence multilayer XUV telescopes to photograph the solar corona [131][132][133]
Walker, C. J. 1867–1919 Inventor Created black cosmetic products.
Washington, Warren M. 1936– Atmospheric scientist Former chair of the National Science Board [134][135][136][137]
West, James E. 1931– Acoustician
Co-developed the foil electret microphone [138][139][140]
Wilkins, J. Ernest, Jr. 1923–2011 Mathematician
Nuclear scientist
Entered University of Chicago at age 13, PhD at 19, worked on the Manhattan Project, wrote over 100 scientific papers, helped recruit minorities into the sciences. [141][142]
Williams, Daniel 1856–1931 Surgeon Performed the first successful open-heart surgery in the United States [144]
Williams, Scott W. 1943– Mathematician
Williams, Walter E. 1936– Economist
Social scientist
Woods, Granville 1856–1910 Inventor Invented the Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph [148]
Wright, Jane C. 1919–2013 Cancer Research and Surgeon Noted for her contributions to chemotherapy and for pioneering the use of the drug methotrexate to treat breast cancer and skin cancer
Wright, Louis T. 1891–1952 Surgeon Led team that first used Aureomycin as a treatment on humans [149][150][151]
Young, Roger Arliner 1899–1964 Zoologist First African-American woman to receive a doctorate degree in zoology [152][153]
Note: this table is viewable as a timeline when clicking on the sort symbol next to 'Life'.

Inventors and scientists


  • Inventors and scientists 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

A contemporary example of a modern day inventor is Super Soaker water gun, which was the top-selling toy in the United States in 1991 and 1992. In 1980 Johnson formed his own law firm and licensed the Super Soaker water gun to Larami Corporation. Two years later the Super Soaker generated over $200 million in retail sales and became the best selling toy in America. Larami Corporation was eventually purchased by Hasbro, the second largest toy manufacturer in the world. Over the years, Super Soaker sales have totaled close to one billion dollars. Johnson reinvested a majority of his earnings from the Super Soaker into research and development for his energy technology companies – "It's who I am, it's what I do."[2] Currently, Johnson holds over 80 patents, with over 20 more pending, and is the author of several publications on spacecraft power systems.[3][4]

A later renowned scientist was Percy Lavon Julian, a research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants. He was the first to synthesize the natural product physostigmine, and a pioneer in the industrial large-scale chemical synthesis of the human hormones, steroids, progesterone, and testosterone, from plant sterols such as stigmasterol and sitosterol. His work would lay the foundation for the steroid drug industry's production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and birth control pills.

. NAACP of the Spingarn Medal He also developed and promoted about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the house and farm. He received numerous honors for his work, including the [1]

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