A doctorate in physics from MIT Cambridge, Ronald McNair worked on chemical lasers before joining NASA and in 1984 flew as a mission specialist on STS-41-B aboard Challenger, becoming the second African-American to do so. In January 1986, he was selected to fly on STS-51-L, but was killed along with rest of the crews when Challenger disintegrated soon after liftoff.
Ernest Everett Just was an African-American biologist and academic. He is credited with recognizing the fundamental role of the cell surface in the development of organisms. As a black boy growing up in the late 19th century, he had to face enormous challenges before he could establish himself in his career. He co-founded the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
American molecular geneticist Joseph L. Goldstein was born to clothing store owner parents in South Carolina. He ended up winning a Nobel Prize for his research on cholesterol metabolism, which later helped researchers develop statin drugs. He currently chairs the molecular genetics department of the University of Texas.
American pharmacologist and Nobel laureate Robert F. Furchgott revolutionized medical science by discovering that nitric oxide acts as a signal in the cardiovascular system of mammals. The Northwestern University alumnus had begun his career as a Cornell faculty member and was later associated with the SUNY-Brooklyn pharmacology department.