Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.
Thanks to scientists, we enjoy many conveniences that make everyday life much easier. There have been many African American scientists who have made significant discoveries and impressive accomplishments. Let's learn about some of these outstanding scientists!
George Washington Carver
Do you like peanuts? You've probably not given much thought to eating these for a quick snack, but peanuts were pretty important to a scientist named George Washington Carver. Around 1864, his life started out very dramatically. When he was nearly a week old he was kidnapped, along with his mother and sister! While they were sold back into slavery, George grew up in a white home and was educated by the mistress of the household.
In college, George studied various fields of science, including botany, which is the study of plants and how they grow. He conducted experiments on different kinds of plants, and found new ways of using plants, like peanuts and soybeans. He was also an inventor, and he created many things, including special types of dyes and gasolines.
Do you ever look to the sky and wonder about outer space? George Carruthers did that, too. He was so curious as a child, that by age ten he had built his own telescope. He went through high school and college maintaining this fascination with space, and eventually earned his doctorate degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering.
He worked for organizations that researched technology to help explore areas of outer space. He developed inventions that used ultraviolet light to capture space images, and one invention was sent on the Apollo 16 mission to the moon. George knew that education was important, so he created a program where high school students could spend a summer working with famous scientists.
If someone becomes a doctor, that's impressive. But what about being a doctor and an astronaut? That's exactly what Mae Jemison did. After graduating with a degree in medicine, she traveled around the world as a medical officer for a group known as the Peace Corps. This is a group of volunteers that work for the United States government to help others around the world.
As if these accomplishments weren't enough, Mae went on to become the first African American woman in space. She was part of the mission on the spaceship Endeavor, and she spent almost 200 days in space. During her mission, she conducted medical research in outer space.
Percy Julian was an African American scientist who focused on chemistry. This is an area of science that studies what matter is made of, and how substances interact with one another. If you have ever taken any medicine, you can thank a chemist.
Percy lived during a time when African Americans were not allowed to go to high school, but that didn't stop him from learning. He graduated from college and was a professor and researcher. He invented a product that could extinguish oil and gas fires, which was used during World War II. He also studied the hormone cortisone, and his research helps people today who have pain from a joint condition called arthritis.
Many African American scientists have made great accomplishments, like George Washington Carver's inventions thanks to his study of botany. George Carruthers was fascinated with outer space, and Mae Jemison was a medical officer for the Peace Corps before becoming an astronaut. Percy Julian studied chemistry, conducting research that is helpful for people today.
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