African American STEM Leaders Infographic
African American mathematicians, scientists, and inventors have contributed to our nation’s greatness since the time of President George Washington. The African American STEM Leaders Infographic highlights the contributions of just seven of the many African Americans who have changed our world from the 1700s to the present.
Son of a slave, this mathematician was also an astronomer, inventor, and writer. Acclaimed for the almanacs he published between 1792 and 1798, Banneker was appointed by President George Washington to the District of Columbia Commission and helped map out the new national capital. In 1980, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in his honor.
Scientist, inventor, botanist, and chemist, Carver invented over 100 products derived from the peanut. Born into slavery, he became one of the most prominent scientists and inventors of his time. A teacher at the Tuskegee Institute, the agricultural department achieved national renown under his leadership. A monument showing him as a boy was the first national memorial erected in honor of an African American
Academic, social activist, and the first African American woman to receive a PhD in mathematics. Not only a mathematician, Haynes was a distinguished educator, activist for school desegregation, and a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Science.
This astrophysicist was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his contributions to aeronautical engineering. Carruthers patented the “Image Converter,” which detects electromagnetic radiation in short wave lengths. In 1970, his invention recorded the first observation of molecular hydrogen in outer space. In 1972, he invented the first moon-based observatory, which was later used during the Apollo 16 mission. Carruthers received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2013.
This physicist and inventor invented 3D TV. Thomas received a patent in 1980 for inventing an illusion transmitter that extends the idea of television and makes images look three-dimensional. From 1964 to 1995, she worked in a variety of capacities for NASA where she developed real-time computer data systems, conducted large-scale experiments, and managed many operations, projects, and facilities. Thomas’ team spearheaded “Landsat,” the first satellite to send images from space.
The first African American woman to travel in space, she is also a physician, professor, and entrepreneur. Jemison joined the space program after she completed her medical degree, maintained a general practice, and served in the Peace Corps. After working at NASA from 1987 to 1993, Jemison founded The Jemison Group, Inc., which developed a satellite-based telecommunications system to improve health care delivery in developing nations. A professor in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College, she directed the Jemison Institute for Advancing Technology in Developing Countries.
This astrophysicist, writer, and television personality is bringing a love of science and information about the cosmos into our homes. A writer, Tyson has authored 10 books, and co-wrote and hosted the PBS-NOVA series, Origins. The recipient of eighteen honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, he is executive editor, host, and narrator for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. He heads the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and is a research associate of the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.