Tuesday, February 06, 2007
NOVA had a wonderful program tonight titled Forgotten Genius about Percy Julian, a genius chemist who through perseverance and determination became one of the greatest scientists of all time. It was very interesting to learn of how many companies and universities turned him away simply because he was an African-American. It turns out that many of the products and medicines we take for granted today can be linked to the work of Percy Julian. His pioneering work with alkaloids and synthesizing animal steroids from plants helped to create affordable and effective treatments for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and glaucoma as well as progesterone used to curb miscarriages and later for the birth control pill. Regardless of color he was definitely one of America's finest. If you missed the program be sure to check out the link below to learn more about this forgotten genius. You can also find out more about Percy Julian at Science History Institute.