Percy Julian, the forgotten genius, was one of the greatest chemists in the United States. He became a very successful and wealthy person despite his poor family and childhood. His discoveries and works are huge contributions to American lives even still today. His ability to overcome difficulties and work hard in the toughest situations is what makes him a person we should all aspire to be.
Julian was one of very few African American chemists, which made it even harder for him to succeed. Born in Montgomery, Alabama on April 11th, 1899, race negatively affected him every step of the way. As a young adult he had to attend high school at night while in college to keep up with his white classmates because public high school wasn’t available for blacks at the time. After graduating from DePauw University he tried desperately to find a job professing or in a chemistry lab but was constantly refused because of his skin color. Finally his luck started to change. After professing at an all black college, he landed a job in a small, underprivileged laboratory at DePauw. From here, the lost list of accomplishments begins.
What really kick started his career as a chemist was his work at DePauw. There he synthesized Physostigmine, a drug still used to treat glaucoma, skin and kidney disease, and leukemia. But the school wouldn’t offer him a professing job because of his race.
Next, his work was continued at Glidden Paint factory, Here him and his research crew began studies on the soybean plant. His quick discoveries improving paint for the company were soon overcome by his ambition to achieve greater so he began that research on his own time. Still fascinated with the soy bean plant he further studied into the uses of it and made an even more important discovery, the protein extracted from the soy bean plant could be used to make hormones for the body. Such uses include the drug to prevent miscarriages, a major issue in at the...
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