Percy Lavon Julian, who lived from 1899 to 1975, was an African-American chemist. He was an early leader in developing medicinal drugs from plants, such as the Mexican wild yam.
Here are 10 interesting facts about the American chemist:
10 Interesting Facts About Percy Julian #1:
One interesting fact about Percy Julian is he earned more than 125 patents. This is an astonishing fact as many people have a difficult time earning one.
10 Interesting Facts About Percy Julian #2:
He paved the path for future African American scientists in many ways. One of the ways is he was one of the first people of African American descent to obtain a doctorate in chemistry.
10 Interesting Facts About Percy Julian #3:
He was also the first chemist of African American descent to be inducted into the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.
10 Interesting Facts About Percy Julian #4:
Julian was the second African-American to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences from any science discipline. The first one was David Blackwell.
10 Interesting Facts About Percy Julian #5:
The late chemist had two children with his wife, Anna Roselle Johnson. The two children were Percy Lavon Julian, Jr., and Faith Roselle Julian. Unfortunately, the former passed away in 2008, but the latter is currently still living.
10 Interesting Facts About Percy Julian #6:
Percy Julian had two college educated parents. Moreover, both were graduates of Alabama State University. This is an interesting fact because at the time it was relatively unheard of for an African American to receive a college degree. Also, it was rare for a woman to receive a college degree.
10 Interesting Facts About Percy Julian #7:
Another interesting fact about the famous chemist is that his own grandfather was a slave.
10 Interesting Facts About Percy Julian #8:
Although he had a chance to earn his Ph.D. at Harvard University in the 1920s, the university took away his teaching assistantship. The reason was that the school believed white students would be uncomfortable to have a teacher of African American descent.
10 Interesting Facts About Percy Julian #9:
The African-American academic was shortly afterwards an instructor at Howard University. He was given a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship to continue working as a graduate at the University of Vienna. Julian received his Ph.D. in 1931.
10 Interesting Facts About Percy Julian #10:
The African-American scientist passed away on April 19, 1975. The cause of his death was liver cancer. He is buried in Elm Lawn Cemetery in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Maya Rhodan, “Google Doodle Honors Pioneering Black Chemist Percy Julian,” TIME.
Michael Cavna, “PERCY JULIAN: Google Doodle salutes pioneering chemist as a man utterly in his elements,” The Washington Post.
“Percy Julian Biography,” Biography.com.