Public Welfare Medal-winning astrophysicist and academic Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted shows such as NOVA ScienceNow, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, and Star Talk. He is the director of Hayden Planetarium and contributed to the dismissal of Pluto’s status as the ninth planet. He has also written a monthly column as "Merlin.”
American mathematician and aerospace engineer Mary Jackson went down in history as the first African-American woman to work as a NASA engineer. Initially a math teacher, she later joined NACA under Dorothy Vaughan and contributed to countless American space programs at a time when racial segregation was the norm.
Benjamin Banneker was born to a free African-American mother and a former slave father, and was largely self-educated. While he showed immense talent in both mathematics and astronomy, having predicted a solar eclipse with precision, he also wrote essays on civil rights and rallied against slavery.
Percy Lavon Julian was an American chemist whose work paved the way for the production of birth control pills and corticosteroids. Julian went on to start his own company which helped reduce the price of steroid intermediates. In 1973, Percy Lavon Julian was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences and became the first African-American to receive this honor.
Marie Maynard Daly was the first Black lady to earn a doctoral degree in chemistry in the U.S. She was inspired by her father, who had to drop out of Cornell due to lack of funds. A pioneer of biochemistry, Daly later introduced a scholarship for African-American students at Queens College.
11 Rediet Abebe
14 George Wiley
19 Nkandu Luo
29 Diana Atwine
32 Sia Koroma
Apart from being the first Black coach of an American Olympic team, LeRoy T. Walker was also the first Black president of the US Olympic Committee. The fame track and field coach also excelled in basketball and football initially. He also held an Olympic Order and 15 honorary degrees.
35 Avery August
40 Kitaw Ejigu
Kitaw Ejigu was an Ethiopian-American engineer and one of Ethiopia’s first aerospace scientists. He worked for NASA as a system engineer and space research scientist and managed a joint NASA/ESA International Solar Polar Mission Spacecraft Systems Interface. He is also credited with the invention of two aerospace mechanisms which were patented under NASA's new technologies programs.