African-American Pioneers in Science

African-American Scientists - Chemists

Chemistry is a science concerned with the composition, structure, properties and reactions of matter (atoms and molecules). Chemistry has various branches including analytical chemistry (study of properties of compounds and tools to analyze them), biochemistry (study of chemical reactions in living organisms), organic chemistry (chemistry of carbon) and food chemistry (chemisty of chemical processes occuring in food).


Early African-American scientists made many contributions to chemistry.

  • Analytical chemist St. Elmo Brady (1884 - 1966) developed an infrared spectroscopy program at Fisk University.
  • Biochemist Marie Maynard Daly (1921 - 2003) studied the effects of high cholesterol on arteries.
  • Organic chemist Percy Lavon Julian (1899 - 1975) synthesized human hormones and medicinal drugs from soybean oil.
  • Food chemist Lloyd Augustus Hall (1894 - 1971) developed chemicals to better preserve meat and meat products.

For more information on the pioneering African-American chemists mentioned above, click on their photo below.



Also be sure to visit our African-American Pioneers in Science Book Store for more information on all the African-American scientists profiled on this site.