Day 27 Percy Lavon Julian – 28 days of Black History in Technology

Percy Lavon Julian

Percy Lavon Julian was born April 11, 1899 in Montgomery Alabama.  He was a research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medical drugs from plants.  He largely worked on chemical synthesis of the human hormones, steroids, progesterone, and testosterone, from plant sterols.

During his lifetime he received over 120 chemical patents. Julian was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in chemistry.

Percy synthesizing progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone from the plant sterols, stigmasterol and sitosterol, isolated from soybean oil by a foam technique he invented.

His most famous work comes from his synthesis of cortisone which is used in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

Working in Lab

Little unknown fact: In 1999, the American Chemical Society recognized Julian’s synthesis of physostigmine as one of the top 25 achievements in the history of American chemistry.

It seems that all the people I have talked about found truth in education, and understanding that by using that education they could excel to the highest levels.  I never understood that education and what it really meant until I was older, it’s time we all start waking up.


One Response to Day 27 Percy Lavon Julian – 28 days of Black History in Technology

  1. A really great educator and inventor. I was pleased to learn that he was the first African American to receive a doctorate in Chemistry. From his early works in chemical synthesis with cortisone is remarkable for what we use it for today.

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