Banneker, that is. The areas of science, engineering, technology and mathematics have been colonized for the past few centuries. Media and other institutions often highlight white inventors, scientists, mathematicians and engineers, but neglect the people of color who have made significant contributions to these areas pre-, during and after slavery and colonialism. Although Benjamin Banneker and George Washington Carver are often cited as important figures in these fields, they are perceived as anomalies. Media still shows black people, and math and science as mutually exclusive. Let’s look at some current thinkers to disprove that:
1) Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells us about the importance of scientific literacy:
Tyson in a discussion about the mysteries of the brain and universe, the failure of the utopian promise of science (Modernism) and the importance of curiosity in understanding the natural world:
2) Lonnie Johnson is an engineer with over 100 patents, including the super soaker and a free energy device:
3) Philip Emeagwali and his supercomputer had an influence on the development of the internet:
Dr. Mae Jemison, who is known mostly as an astronaut, is also an engineer and astronomist. She wants to connect “hard” and “soft” sciences, and teach arts and sciences together.
4) Dr. Valerie Thomas patented over 30 years ago the Illusion Transmitter, which would allow three-dimensional images to show on TV screens and her work influenced our technologies today.
5) My former professor Arthur Lewin wrote an article on theoretical physicist, Dr. Ronald Mallett, who is trying to build a time machine.
6) Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson was the first black woman to earn a doctorate in theoretical physicist. In the video below, she speaks on the “quiet crisis,” which includes a need for human capital in innovations in energy.
7) Dr. Roger Arliner Young was an important African-American female zoologist and marine biologist:
8) And here is another treat: Did you know that Ice Cube studied architecture?