Engineer Lonnie G. Johnson Invented the Super Soaker
Lonnie G. Johnson is an American inventor and engineer who was born in Alabama in 1949. His invention of the Super Soaker, a high-powered water gun, has made him famous worldwide. Johnson has worked as an engineer and inventor for several government and private organizations, including the U.S. Air Force, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Energy Research Corporation. In addition to the Super Soaker, Johnson has also patented several other inventions in the fields of energy and thermodynamics. He created a high-efficiency heat pump and a high-efficiency water heater. Numerous awards and honors have recognized Lonnie Johnson’s contributions to science and technology. Because of him, your kids will get each other soaking wet every summer.
Computer Engineer Philip Emeagwali’s Inventions Contributed to the Development of the Supercomputer
Philip Emeagwali is a Nigerian-American computer scientist and mathematician born in 1954, in Akure, Nigeria. His pioneering work in high-performance computing has earned him recognition and fame. This helped to advance the study of petroleum reservoirs and climate modeling. In 1989, he won the Gordon Bell Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in high-performance computing, for his contribution to the use of supercomputers. Emeagwali not only excels in high-performance computing, but also champions science education and the application of technology to enhance the lives of Africans through advocacy.He is a strong supporter of the “brain gain” movement, which seeks to attract highly educated professionals from the African diaspora back to Africa to help drive development on the continent.
Computer Engineer Marian R. Croak Developed VoIP Technology
In more recent history, Marian R. Croak is an American computer scientist and engineer. She is a Vice President and Technical Fellow at Google. Prior to joining Google, she worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories for over 20 years, where she made significant contributions to the development of the internet. Croak earned notoriety for developing Voice over IP (VoIP) technology, enabling voice communication via the internet. Over 150 patents recognized her groundbreaking work and established her as a pioneer in the development of the internet. Besides her technical innovations, Croak is famous for championing diversity and inclusion in the technology industry. Because of her, we are now able to have Zoom meetings at home.
Chemist Percy Lavon Julian Invented Several Medical Applications With His Research
Percy Lavon Julian, a pioneering African American chemist, was born in 1899 in Montgomery, Alabama. He broke barriers as the first African American to earn a PhD in Chemistry from an American university. Focused on plant-based chemistry, Julian achieved great success in isolating and synthesizing compounds from plants, such as hormones and steroids. He utilized his research to found several companies that manufactured and sold these compounds for medical and industrial use. Despite facing significant challenges and discrimination, Julian remained dedicated to his work and left a lasting impact on the field of chemistry and the African American community.
Shirley Jackson made history as the first African American woman to earn a doctorate at MIT. Her groundbreaking telecommunications research led to the development of several important products, including the touch-tone phone, portable fax, fiber optic cables, and caller ID. Not many people use landlines anymore. But for those of us who remember the invention of caller ID, that was truly revolutionary. You could finally see who was calling, and choose to ignore them if you like. Without her, phones may have never advanced to what they are today. Recognized for her exceptional achievements, President Barack Obama appointed her as co-chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory in 2014.
Lisa Gelobter Invented the Technology to Make GIFs Possible
Lisa Gelobter actively leads a long and successful career in the tech industry, because of her innovations. She is known for her role in the development of various digital media and entertainment technologies. Gelobter has held crucial positions at numerous prominent tech companies such as Shockwave.com, BET, and Hulu, and has also served as a trusted advisor and mentor for many tech startups. In addition to her achievements in technology, Gelobter strongly advocates for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry and actively works to enhance the representation of women and underrepresented minorities. Every time you text someone a GIF, you should thank Lisa Gelobter. Because without her, the technology would have never been invented.
Dr. Patricia E. Bath Invented the Laserphaco Probe to Treat Cataracts
As a pioneering African American ophthalmologist and inventor, Dr. Patricia E. Bath made significant contributions to the field of medicine. Born in 1942, she became the first African American woman to complete a residency in ophthalmology. She was also the first African American female doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose. With her innovative spirit, she invented the Laserphaco Probe. This revolutionized the field of cataract surgery. Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Bath passionately dedicated herself to increasing access to quality eye care for all. (Particularly those in underserved communities.) She received numerous awards and honors for her contributions to the field of ophthalmology. Sadly, she passed away in 2019. But her legacy continues to inspire future generations of medical professionals and inventors.