December 1, 2023

Learn More About these 32 Scientists for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, we highlight 28 African American scientists and engineers who made important contributions to science, math, engineering, and innovation (STEM). There are numerous, numerous scientists who could be included on this list! The list listed below is just a sampling of noted researchers through history.
To encourage trainees to get more information about these scientists and to check out related science projects and careers for researchers they find motivating, for each scientist, we have consisted of a brief biographical emphasize, links to hands-on science tasks associated with the researchers area of research study, links to appropriate science career profiles, and a link to a bio for more reading.

February is Black History Month. Find out more about a few of the lots of African American scientists and engineers who have made crucial contributions to science history.

Keep in mind: Educators can use this career worksheet to direct trainee exploration and reflection about STEM careers.

Update! This post has been upgraded for 2022 to consist of extra African American scientists and engineers.

By Amy Cowen
on January 24, 2022 6:00 AM

1. Alice Ball, chemist

Find out more about associated professions:.
Chemist, Biochemist, Chemical Technician.

Alice Ball was a chemist who established an injectable treatment for leprosy.
( Biography).

Interested in chemistry and medication? Find out more with science jobs like:.

2. Benjamin Banneker, mathematician and astronomer.

Learn more about associated professions:.
Astronomer,.
Mathematician,.
Statistician.

Interested in projects that integrate mathematics and astronomy? Explore science projects like:.

Benjamin Banneker was a mathematician and astronomer. Stories about Banneker consist of a variety of science details, including a clock he sculpted from wood (potentially the very first clock in the U.S.), his effective prediction of the 1789 solar eclipse, and his function as a surveyor when the territory for Washington D.C. was being mapped. Banneker also wrote and published an almanac, yearly, in between 1792 and 1797.
( Biography).

3. Patricia Bath, ophthalmologist.

Patricia Bath was an eye doctor who developed laser technology used in treating cataracts.
( Biography).

Interested in eye science and vision? Learn more with science tasks like:.

Discover more about related professions:.
Eye doctor, Physician.

6. William Warrick Cardozo, physician.

Find out more about associated professions:.
Physician,.
Epidemiologist,.
Hereditary Counselor,.
Cytogenetic Technologist,.

William Warrick Cardozo pioneered research on sickle cell anemia and its appearance mainly in individuals of African descent.

( Biography).

Interested in human health, genes, and medical research study? Explore science projects like:.

7. George Carruthers, astrophysicist.

Intrigued in ultraviolet imaging and space science? Explore science tasks like:.

Discover more about related careers:.
Physicist,.
Astronomer,.
Aerospace Engineer,.
Mechanical Engineer.

George Carruthers established the ultraviolet camera/spectrograph used during the Apollo 16 objective in 1972.
( Biography).

8. Emmett Chappelle, biochemist.

Find out more about related professions:.
Biochemist,.
Chemist,.
Agricultural Technician.

( Biography).

Intrigued in bioluminescence or agricultural technology? Explore science projects like:.

Emmett Chappelle utilized bioluminescence as a way to quantify the presence of bacteria in water and demonstrated how fluorescence can be used to keep track of plant health. At NASA, he researched an ATP-fluorescence assay as a way to detect life on other worlds.

9. Jewel Plummer Cobb, biologist.

Find out more about associated professions:.
Biologist,.
Cytotechnologist.

Intrigued in human biology and medical research? Explore science jobs like:.

Jewel Plummer Cobb was a biologist whose research explored the relationship in between melanin, skin coloring, and skin cancer. Her research consisted of investigating the use of chemotherapy drugs like methotrexate to deal with specific types of cancer. Dr. Cobb acted as president of California State University at Fullerton from 1981-1990.

( Biography; video).

10. Margaret Collins, entomologist and zoologist.

Find out more about related professions: Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist,.
Biologist.

Margaret Collins was an entomologist and zoologist. Called the “Termite Lady” for her comprehensive research study on termites, she co-discovered the Neotermes luykxi types of termites. (Biography).

Intrigued in pests? Check out science tasks like:.

12. Christine Darden, mathematician and aerospace engineer.

Christine Darden was a mathematician and aerospace engineer at NASA. But her story is part of the Hidden Figures book when she moved from information analysis to Darden does not appear in the Hidden Figures motion picture.

( Biography).

Discover more about related careers:.
Aerospace Engineer,.
Mathematician.

Intrigued in aerospace engineering, plane design, and mathematics? Check out science projects like:.

13. Mark Dean, computer engineer.

Find out more about associated professions: Computer Hardware Engineer,.
Computer Software Engineer.

Interested in computer system engineering? Check out science projects like:.

Mark Dean is a computer engineer who co-developed the first personal computer system. Extra contributions at IBM led to color screens, the Industry Standard Architecture bus (which permits you to link devices like printers to computer systems), and the first gigahertz chip. (Biography).

14. Charles Richard Drew, physician.

Discover more about related careers:.
Physician,.
Medical & & Clinical Laboratory Technician,.
Cytotechnologist.

Intrigued in human biology and the science of blood? Explore science jobs like:.

Charles Richard Drew developed methods to use and protect blood plasma that assisted save lives throughout World War II and later ended up being the design utilized for blood banks. Called the “Father of the Blood Bank,” Drew is likewise credited with the very first bloodmobile. (Biography).

15. Victor J. Glover, Jr., mechanical engineer and astronaut.

Intrigued in engineering or the ISS? Check out science projects like:.

Find out more about related careers:.
Mechanical Engineering Technician,.
Mechanical Engineer.

Victor J. Glover, Jr. has a background in mechanical engineering and is a Commander in the U.S. Navy. In 2020, Glover headed to the International Space Station (ISS) as pilot and second-in-command on the Crew-1 objective aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience.
( Biography).

16. Sarah Goode, developer.

( Biography).

When not in use, Sarah Goode invented a bed that folded up so it might be kept out of the way. Goodes “folding cabinet bed” was an early version of the Murphy Bed.
Goode was among the first African American females to receive a patent.

Discover more about related careers:.
Mechanical Engineer,.
Materials Scientist and Engineer,.
Industrial Engineer,.

Interested in creating brand-new things and solving issues? Explore science activities like:.

18. Alma Levant Hayden, chemist.

Alma Levant Hayden was a chemist. While operating at the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases (now the National Institutes of Health (NIH)), Hayden checked out using paper chromatography as a way to identify steroid compounds. Later on, at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Hayden used infrared spectrometry in 1963 to disprove the validity of Krebiozen as a treatment for cancer.
( Biography).

Intrigued in paper chromatography? Check out science tasks like:.

Find out more about related professions:.
Chemist,.
Chemical Engineer,.
Chemical Technician.

19. Mary Jackson, engineer and mathematician.

Learn more about related professions:.
Aerospace Engineer,.
Computer system Programmer.
Mathematician.

Interested in engineering and the science of flight? Check out science jobs and resources like:.

Mary Jackson was NASAs first female African American engineer. Jackson was one of the ladies at NASA whose story was portrayed in the Hidden Figures film. At NASA, she dealt with research study related to the Supersonic Pressure Tunnel.
( Biography).

21. Katherine Johnson, mathematician.

Katherine Johnson was a mathematician whose work at NASA was depicted in the Hidden Figures movie. Johnson calculated the flight course for Alan Shepard (the first American in space) and later on checked vital flight course computations for Apollo 13.
( Biography).

Intrigued in engineering, mathematics, or the science of flight? Check out science jobs and problems like:.

Discover more about associated careers:.
Mathematician,.
Aerospace Engineer,.

22. Lonnie G. Johnson, nuclear engineer and innovator.

Discover more about associated professions:.
Nuclear Engineer,.
Nuclear Monitoring Technician,.
Aerospace Engineer,.
Industrial Engineer.

Intrigued in stealth innovation or creating new things? Check out science tasks like:.

Lonnie G. Johnson is a nuclear engineer and innovator who developed the popular Super Soaker water weapon. Johnson worked on stealth technology for the U.S. Air Force and was a senior systems engineer on NASAs Galileo Project.
( Biography).

23. Percy Lavon Julian, chemist.

Find out more about related careers:.
Chemist,.
Biochemist,.
Pharmacist.

Percy Lavon Julian was called the “Soybean chemist” because he synthesized steroids and hormonal agents from soybeans. His research also caused the advancement of Aer-O-Foam, likewise called “bean soup,” used to put out oil and gas fires in World War II. (Biography).

Interested in chemistry? Explore science tasks like:.

24. Ronald E. McNair, physicist.

Ronald E. McNair was a laser physicist and a mission specialist for NASA on the STS 51-L Challenger mission that blew up soon after takeoff in 1986. (Biography).

Find out more about related professions:.
Photonics Engineer,.
Physicist,.
Photonics Technician.

Intrigued in laser science and physics? Explore science tasks like:.

25. Raye Montague, naval engineer.

Interested in ship style, computer-aided style (CAD), and engineering? Explore science jobs like:.

Raye Montague was inspired by a youth experience with a submarine. She was an engineer in the U.S. Navy and is credited as being the very first person to develop a naval ship, the USS Oliver Hazard Perry, utilizing computer system style tools.
( Biography).

Discover more about associated professions:.
Marine Architect,.
Ship & & Boat Captain.

26. Willie Hobbs Moore, physicist.

Willie Hobbs Moore was a physicist whose research study focused on infrared spectroscopy. She was the very first African American woman to make a doctorate in Physics.
( Biography).

Find out more about associated careers:.
Physicist,.
Physics Teacher.

Intrigued in spectroscopy and spectrometry? Explore science tasks like:.

28. Charles Henry Turner, entomologist and zoologist.

Interested in bugs? Explore science jobs like:.

Charles Henry Turner was an entomologist and zoologist. Turners research proved that pests can hear and resulted in the expression “Turners circling” to explain the method ants go back to a nest. (Biography).

Discover more about related careers: Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist,.
Biologist.

29. Dorothy Vaughan, computer system scientist and mathematician.

Dorothy Vaughan was a computer scientist and mathematician. As NASA adopted the usage of computers, Vaughan taught herself FORTRAN and ended up being part of NASAs Analysis and Computation Division (ACD).
( Biography).

Find out more about associated careers:.
Mathematician,.
Computer system Programmer.

Interested in computer shows? Explore code-based science jobs like:.

30. Gladys West, mathematician.

Find out more about related careers:.
Mathematician,.
Statistician,.
Information Scientist.

Gladys West is a mathematician who worked on the processing and analysis of satellite information that helped result in the development of the Global Positioning System (GPS). (Biography).

Intrigued in mathematics and data analysis? Explore science projects like:.

31. J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr., mathematician and nuclear scientist.

Discover more about associated professions:.
Nuclear Engineer,.
Nuclear Monitoring Technician,.
Nuclear Power Reactor Operator,.
Mathematician.

J. Ernest Wilkins Jr. was a mathematician and nuclear scientist who was associated with the Manhattan Project. His deal with atomic power plant physics led to the discovery or co-discovery of phenomena like the Wilkins result and the Wigner-Wilkins spectrum. (Biography).

Interested in nuclear science? Explore science tasks like:.

32. Granville Woods, developer.

,.

If you utilize the “Learn More About these 32 Scientists for Black History Month” resource and career worksheet with trainees, we would enjoy to hear your feedback. You can email us at [email protected] with your comments or story.

, and.

Native American.

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Even more Reading.

,.

In honor of Black History Month, we highlight 28 African American scientists and engineers who made important contributions to science, engineering, innovation, and mathematics (STEM). Stories about Banneker include a variety of science details, including a clock he sculpted from wood (perhaps the first clock in the U.S.), his effective prediction of the 1789 solar eclipse, and his function as a surveyor when the area for Washington D.C. was being mapped. Mark Dean is a computer engineer who co-developed the first personal computer system. Mary Jackson was NASAs very first female African American engineer. J. Ernest Wilkins Jr. was a mathematician and nuclear researcher who was included in the Manhattan Project.

For extra STEM reading ideas, see our STEM reading list.

A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon by Suzanne Slade (Author), Veronica Miller Jamison (Illustrator).
Black Women in Science: A Black History Book for Kids by PhD Kimberly Brown Pellum.

,.

Diversity in STEM.
To help trainees see themselves with a future in STEM and to expand understanding of science history, it is crucial for trainees to discover about a varied series of engineers and researchers. This includes commemorating the stories of.

African American.

( Biography).

STEM Career Worksheet.
To encourage trainees to get more information about these scientists and to explore related professions in science, engineering, math, and technology, utilize our totally free STEM Career Worksheet together with this post.

Asian American Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

Middle School.

Interested in inventing brand-new things? Explore science activities and tasks like:.

The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finley Mosca (Author), Daniel Rieley (Illustrator).
The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just by Mélina Mangal (Author), Luisa Uribe (Illustrator).
Ticktock Bannekers Clock by Shana Keller (Author), David C. Gardner (Illustrator).
Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnsons Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton (Author), Don Tate (Illustrator).

High School and Adult.

and other researchers from around the globe.

females.

engineers and scientists,.

Katherine Johnson (You Should Meet).
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed (Author), Stasia Burrington (Illustrator).

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington (Author), Theodore Taylor III (Illustrator).
Charles Drew (Getting to Know the Worlds Greatest Inventors & & Scientists) by Mike Venezia.
Computer Decoder: Dorothy Vaughan, Computer Scientist by Andi Diehn (Author), Katie Mazeika (Illustrator).
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker (Author), Dow Phumiruk (Illustrator).
Gary and the Great Inventors: Its Laundry Day! by Akura Marshall (Author), Adriel Meka (Illustrator).
Great Black Heroes: Five Brilliant Scientists: Five Brilliant Scientists by Lynda Jones (Author), Ron Garnett (Illustrator).
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (Author), Laura Freeman (Illustrator).
Hidden Figures Young Readers Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly.
Human Computer: Mary Jackson, Engineer by Andi Diehn (Author), Katie Mazeika (Illustrator).

Hispanic.

The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca (Author), Daniel Rieley (Illustrator).

,.

Learn more about related professions:.
Electrical & & Electronics Engineer,.
Radio Frequency Engineer,.
Mechanical Engineer,.

Mae Jemison (You Should Meet) by Laurie Calkhoven (Author), Monique Dong (Illustrator).

Elementary School.

Granville Woods received more than 50 patents for his developments. Often called the “Black Edison,” Woods creations consisted of the “Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph,” a device that utilized fixed electrical power to send messages in between trains, and the “telegraphony,” a combination telephone and telegraph that could send out messages by voice or Morse code.

scientists with disabilities.

Images: public domain or reasonable use, with exception of Bettye Greene (Science Institute), J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr. (Dan Dry, CC BY-SA 3.0), Mark Dean (Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Tennessee); Herman Branson (AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection).

Patricias Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight by Michelle Lord (Author), Alleanna Harris (Illustrator).
Super Soaker Inventor Lonnie Johnson by Heather E. Schwartz.