List of African-American inventors and scientists
Science and technology
in the United States
African-American contributions Discoveries NASA spinoff Native American contributions Puerto Rican scientists and inventors Technological and industrial history Inventions by date (before 1890) (1890-1945) (1946-1991) (after 1991)
- Note: this table is viewable as a timeline when clicking on the sort symbol next to 'Life'.
Name Life Occupation Inventions/Accomplishments Refs Ammons, Virgie 19xx– Inventor Fireplace burner  Amos, Harold 1918–2003 Microbiologist First African-American department chair at Harvard Medical School  Alcorn, George Edward, Jr. 1940– Physicist
Invented a method of fabricating an imaging X-ray spectrometer  Bailey, L.C. 18xx–? Inventor Military folding bed invention.  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)  Banyaga, Augustin 1947- Mathematician Work on diffeomorphisms and symplectomorphisms Bashen, Janet Emerson 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.  Bauer, James A. 19xx– Inventor Coin changer mechanism  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.  Beard, Andrew 1849–1921 Farmer
Jenny Coupler improvements
Invented the automatic car coupling device patent #594,059 dated November 23, 1897
Rotary engine patent #478,271 dated July 5, 1892
 Bell, Earl S. 1977– Inventor
Invented Chair With Sliding Skin (2004), and the Quantitative Display Apparatus (2005)  Benjamin, Miriam 18xx–? Inventor
Invented "Gong and Signal Chair for Hotels". Second African-American woman to receive a patent.  Berry, Leonidas 1902–1995 Gastroenterologist Gastroscope pioneer  Black, Keith 1957– Neurosurgeon Brain tumor surgery and research  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.  Blair, Henry 1807–1860 Inventor Second black inventor to issue a patent
Invented early spark plug
 Griffin, Bessie Blount 1914–2009 Physical therapist
Amputee self-feeding device  Boone, Sarah 18xx– Inventor Ironing board allowing sleeves of women's garments to be ironed more easily Bowman, James 1923– Physician Pathologist and geneticist; Professor Emeritus Pritzker School of Medicine; first tenured African-American professor at the University of Chicago Division of Biological Sciences.  Boykin, Otis 1920–1982 Inventor
Artificial heart pacemaker control unit.  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.  Branson, Herman 1914–1995 Physicist
Protein structure research  Brooks, Charles 18xx–? Inventor Street sweeper truck and a type of paper punch Brooks, Phil 19xx– Inventor First U.S. Patent for a disposable syringe Henry Brown 18xx–? Inventor Invented fire safe  Burr, John Albert 18xx–? Inventor Rotary-blade lawn mower patent Cardozo, 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  Chappelle, Emmett 1925– Scientist and researcher Valuable contributions to several fields: medicine, biology, food science, and astrochemistry Crosthwait, David, Jr. 1898–1976 Research engineer Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
Received some 40 U.S. patents relating to HVAC systems.
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. Daly, Marie Maynard 1921– First black American woman with a Ph.D. in chemistry. Drew, Charles 1904–1950 Medical researcher Easley, Annie 1933– Computer scientist Work at the Lewis Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Ejeta, Gebisa 1950- Geneticist Won the World Food Prize in 2009 for his major contributions in the production of sorghum. Ejigu, Kitaw 1948–2006 Systems engineer Ferguson, Lloyd Noel 1918–? Chemist
Chemistry doctorate, first received (1943, University of California, Berkeley) Fryer, Roland G., Jr. 1977– Economist
Inequality studies Gates, Sylvester James 1950– Theoretical physicist Work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory Goode, Sarah E. 1850s–? Inventor Cabinet bed invention
First African-American woman to receive a patent in the United States
Graves, Joseph L. 19xx– Evolutionary biologist Hall, Lloyd 1894–1971 Chemist Haile, Sossina M. 1966- Engineer Work on fuel cells Harris, James A. 1932–? Co-discovered Rutherfordium (element 104) and Hafnium (element 105) at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory  Hawkins, Walter Lincoln 1911–1992 Scientist Inventor at Bell Laboratories  Hodge, John E. 1914–1996 Chemist Holley, Kerrie 19xx– 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.  Johnson, Lonnie 1949– Engineer
Invented Super Soaker while researching thermal energy transfer engines; worked with NASA. Holder of over 80 patents 
Jones, Frederick McKinley 1893–1961 Inventor Invented refrigerated truck systems  Julian, Percy 1899–1975 Chemist 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. Kittles, Rick 1967– Geneticist Work in tracing the ancestry of African Americans via DNA testing 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
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.  Lawson, Jerry 1940–2011 Computer engineer Designer of Fairchild Channel F, the first programmable ROM cartridge-based video game console Lee, Raphael 1949– Surgeon
Paul and Aileen Russell Professor, Pritzker School of Medicine; MacArthur Fellow, Searle Scholar, Founder and Chairman, Avocet Polymer Technologies, Inc.; Founder and Chaiman, 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. Matzeliger, Jan 1852–1889 Inventor Shoe assembly Machine  McBay, Henry 1914–1995 Chemist McCoy, Elijah 1844–1929 Inventor Invented the automatic lubricator for steam engines. McLurkin, James 1972- Roboticist McNair, Ronald 1950–1986 Astronaut Astronaut killed during mission STS-51-L in the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster Montgomery, Benjamin 1819–1877 Inventor Designed a steam operated propeller to provide propulsion to boats in shallow water Morgan, Garrett 1877–1963 Inventor Nour, Nawal M. 1966- Gynecologist Ogbu, John Uzo 1939–2003 Anthropologist Race and intelligence studies Oyekan, Soni 1946– Chemical engineer 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 Renfroe, Earl 1907–2000 Orthodontist Rillieux, Norbert 1806–1894 Engineer
Russell, Jesse 1948– Engineer
Wireless communications engineer Sammons, Walter Inventor Patent for hot comb  Sowell, Thomas 1930– Economist
Steele, Claude 1946– Psychologist
Stereotype threat studies Stiff, Lee 1941– Mathematician President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics from 2000 to 2002  Thomas, Vivien 1910–1985 Surgical technician Blue baby syndrome treatment in the 1940s Tyson, Neil deGrasse 1958– Astronomer Researcher and popular educator in astronomy and the sciences Walker, C.J. 1867–1919 Inventor Created black cosmetic products. Washington, Warren M. 1936– Atmospheric scientist Former chair of the National Science Board West, James E. 1931– Acoustician
Co-developed the foil electret microphone Wilkins, J. Ernest, Jr. 1923–2011 Mathematician
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. 
Williams, Daniel 1856–1931 Williams, Scott W. 1943– Mathematician Williams, Walter E. 1936– Economist
Woods, Granville 1856–1910 Inventor
- History of United States patent law
- Lemelson–MIT Prize
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- Science and technology in the United States
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- Yankee ingenuity
- ^ Virgie Ammons, Retrieved from About.com website February 18, 2011.
- ^ Virgie Ammons, Retrieved from African-American Inventors website, February 18, 2011.
- ^ "Dr. Harold Amos, 84; Mentor to Aspiring Minority Physicians". Los Angeles Times. 2003-03-08. http://articles.latimes.com/2003/mar/08/local/me-passings8.2. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
- ^ "George Edward Alcorn, Jr.". About.com. http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blbennett.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
- ^ "Alcorn exceled in missile research". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. February 20, 2002. http://www.post-gazette.com/lifestyle/20020220kids0220p9.asp. Retrieved 2008-02-27. "George Edward Alcorn Jr. attended Occidental College in Los Angeles where he earned eight letters in basketball and football and was an honors student studying physics. He received his bachelor's degree in 1962 and a master's in nuclear physics from Howard University a year later. He attended Occidental College in Los Angeles where he earned eight letters in basketball and football and was an honors student studying physics. He received his bachelor's degree in 1962 and a master's in nuclear physics from Howard University a year later."
- ^ Who Is L.C. Bailey?, Answers.com website.
- ^ 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.
- ^ Janet Emerson Bashen, Retrieved from About.com website March 14, 2011.
- ^ James Bauer patent #3,490,571 (1/20/1970): Coin Changer Mechanism, Mary Bellis, About.com
- ^ Henderson, Susan K. (1 March 1998). African-American Inventors III. Capstone Press. p. 12. ISBN 9781560656982.
- ^ "Modern Black Inventors". Jet (Johnson Pubishing Company) 101 (7): 55. February 4, 2002. ISSN 0021-5996. http://books.google.com/books?id=AbUDAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
- ^ Lambert, Laura (1 September 2007). Inventors and Inventions. Marshall Cavendish. p. 72. ISBN 9780761477631.
- ^ Bellis, Mary (2008). "Andrew Beard (1849-1921)". About.com: Inventors. http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blbeard.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-14.
- ^ Earl S. Bell, Retrieved from About.com website June 06, 2011.
- ^ Earl S. Bell, Retrieved from uspto.gov website June 06, 2011.
- ^ Earl S. Bell, Retrieved from atlantapost.com website June 06, 2011.
- ^ Bellis, Mary. Inventors: Miriam Benjamin, Retrieved from About.com website, February 17, 2011.
- ^ University of Chicago
- ^ Keith Black, Arnold Mann, Brain Surgeon: A Doctor's Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles (New York: Wellness Central/Hachette, 2009, ISBN 9780446581097.
- ^ Michael D. Lemonick, "The Tumor War", TIME, Heroes of Medicine special edition, Fall 1997 (retrieved May 15, 2009).
- ^ Cattau, Daniel (July 2009). "David Blackwell 'Superstar'". Illinois Alumni (University of Illinois Alumni Association): pp. 32–34.
- ^ Maryland's African American Heritage: Henry Blair, ThinkQuest.
- ^ About Inventors: Henry Blair
- ^ "Bessie Blount Griffin". www.csupomona.edu. http://www.csupomona.edu/~plin/inventors/blount.html. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- ^ "Virginia Women in History Past Honorees". www.lva.virginia.gov. http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/vawomen/2006/pasthonorees.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- ^ Terry, Don (July 27, 2008). "Insider has Obama's ear: What's she telling him?". Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-072708-jarrett,0,1640738.story. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
- ^ "The Bowman Society". Pritzker Pulse. Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago. Spring 2005. http://pritzker.bsd.uchicago.edu/about/news/pritzkerpulse/2005spring/bowman.shtml. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
- ^ U.S. Department Of Energy. Black Contributors to Science and Energy Technology (Biographical sketch: Otis Boykin), U.S. Department Of Energy, Office of Public Affaris, U.S.Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1979, pp. 8–9, DOE/OPA-0035(79)
- ^ University of Illinois biography, University of Illinois.
- ^ PNAS Classics – Protein Structure
- ^ Einseberg, David. "The discovery of the alpha-helix and beta-sheet, the principal structural features of proteins" PNAS 100(20):11207-11210 (2003) 
- ^ "Henry Brown". blackinventor.com. http://www.blackinventor.com/pages/henrybrown. Retrieved 2010-02-06. "Henry Brown". blackinventor.com. http://www.blackinventor.com/pages/henrybrown. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
- ^ Health and Medical Biographies.Biography of Benjamin S. Carson.
- ^ "Black Leonardo Book". Time Magazine. 1941-11-24. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,801330,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
- ^ Harlan, Volume 5, p. 481
- ^ Special History Study from the National Park Service website
- ^ The legacy of George Washington Carver-Friends & Colleagues (Henry Wallace)
- ^ "James A. Harris". Journal of Chemical Education. http://jchemed.chem.wisc.edu/JCEWWW/features/echemists/Bios/Harris.html. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- ^ McMurray, Emily, ed. Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists. Gale Research, Inc.: Detroit, 1995.
- ^ Singing In The Brain, Duke Magazine, Nov-Dec 2001.
- ^ , Duke News
- ^ Erich Jarvis Named Howard Hughes Investigator, Duke Medicine News & Communications. Retrieved from Dukehealth.org.
- ^ Soaking In Success, By Timothy Roche, Dec. 04, 2000, TIME
- ^ Products Created by Independent Inventors, April 2nd, 2009, Inventors Digest
- ^ Shooting for the Sun, By Logan Ward, October, 2010, The Atlantic
- ^ Lonni Johnson --- Thermo-Electric Generator -- articles, patent, The Rex Research Civilization Kit.
- ^ "July 12: Frederick M. Jones Patents Refrigeration System", Rebecca Goodman and Barrett J. Brunsman, This Day in Ohio History (Emmis Books, 2005) p214.
- ^ Fouché, Rayvon, "Black Inventors in the Age of Segregation: Granville T. Woods, Lewis H. Latimer, and Shelby J. Davidson." The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London, 2003, ISBN 0-8018-7319-3
- ^ Clarke, John Henrik (1983). Ivan Van Sertima. ed. Blacks in Science: Ancient and Modern. Piscataway,NJ: Transaction. pp. 230–233. ISBN 978-0-87855-941-1.
- ^ "Lewis Howard Latimer". National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/edis/forkids/the-gifted-men-who-worked-for-edison.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-10.
- ^ List of 2006 NIHF inductees
- ^ "Jan Matzeliger". The Black Inventor Online Museum. http://www.blackinventor.com/pages/jan-matzeliger.html.
- ^ "Inventor of the Week / Jan Matzeliger". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. August 2002. http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/matzeliger.html.
- ^ Bellis, Mary. "Walter Sammons". http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bl_Walter_Sammons.htm. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- ^ NCTM past presidents, retrieved 2011-03-20.
- ^ IEEE
- ^ University of Chicago news release
- ^ 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 Answers.com);
- The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences
- The Black Inventor Online Museum
- LittleAfrica.com website
Inventions and discoveries by nation or region Lists of inventors or discoverersAfrican · African-American · British (English · Welsh) · German · Italian · New Zealander · Polish · Puerto Rican · Romanian · Russian Lists of inventions or discoveries Timelines of inventions or discoveriesIslamic world · Russia · United States inventions (before 1890 · 1890–1945 · 1946–1991 · after 1991) · United States discoveries
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