Black History Month
This Black History Month, we’ve been celebrating the achievements of some black STEM innovators on our social media – from innovators going back to early 20th-century America to currently active STEM heroes within our own nation.
George Washington Carver (1864-1943)
Botanist and Inventor
After being born into slavery, Carver overcame huge obstacles to study and teach science. He later developed and popularised the practice of crop rotation. Carver has been referred to as the ‘black Leonardo’ for his boundlessly inventive nature and genius.
Carver is also remembered as an environmentalist, who promoted alternative crops to cotton (such as peanuts and sweet potatoes) not just to improve soil quality, but to improve the quality of life for poorer farmers.
Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock,
Space Scientist and Educator
Dr Aderin-Pocock has constructed instruments for space exploration and has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London. When Aderin-Pocock isn’t busy building satellites for space, she works as a science communicator, teaching the complexities of her work to the general population and youngsters.
She currently inspires and educates the nation on BBC’s The Sky at Night, and she is also the first African woman to win a gold medal in the Physics News Award.
Dr. Mae Jemison,
Astronaut and Physician
After joining NASA’s astronaut programme in 1987, Dr Jemison became the first African American woman in space in 1992. Dr Jemison initially worked as a General Practitioner before becoming a Medical Officer with the Peace Corps in West Africa.
Upon her return to the US, she overcame tremendous odds and successfully applied to become an astronaut with NASA, processing space shuttles for launching and verifying shuttle software.
Dr Stephon Alexander,
Theoretical Physicist and Professor
As a theoretical physicist, Stephen Alexander’s work concentrates on the connections between the biggest and smallest things in the universe. Alexander specialises in the field of string theory and cosmology.
Dr Alexander co-invented a model explaining the early expansion of the universe and is the President of the National Society of Black Physicists. He is also a keen jazz musician and explores the way music mirrors elements of modern physics.
We encourage all our students to delve deeper into black history and explore the huge (and often overlooked) contributions of black people in all sorts of fields, including STEM.
Find out more and explore events happening in the region by visiting the official Black History Month website, here: blackhistorymonth.org.uk/