During the month of February every year, the United States celebrates the history of African Americans in honor of their great contributions to the history of the United States. The US State Department’s Share America site sheds light on the expert in synthetic chemistry, Percy Julian.
At a time when many saw only soybeans as pulses, Percy Julian saw an entire laboratory.
Julian extracted calabar bean, a remedy for glaucoma, or glaucoma, the main cause of blindness among the elderly. His treatment of soybeans was supportive of everything from hydrocortisone injections to treat arthritis to the fire retardants used on aircraft carriers in World War II.
Julianne once said of calabar, a poisonous legume: “It was a beautiful purple bean when I got it for the first time. But it is not only beautiful in appearance, but also in the laboratory for what it contains in it. ”
Julian became one of America’s greatest inventors in the mid-twentieth century, winning around 130 chemical patents, overcoming educational and professional discrimination, and according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, helped pave the way for future scientists from minority backgrounds.
Julian, the grandson of two former slaves, was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1899. He attended schools that practiced racial segregation, where education for black students ended after the eighth grade.
But Julian’s parents were teachers and built a library for their six children, and Julian later attended Dipau University in Indiana.
While at the university, Julian worked serving student canteen tables and operating the fraternal home oven in exchange for a room on campus. He graduated with the rank of Distinguished Student in the year 1920.
Although some private companies refused to hire him, the Glidden Company gave him a job. Julian was according to the good opinion of Glidden and deserved the trust that placed him in it, and his giving was even more than expected. His soy research helped the company develop its popular latex paints.
In the year 1935, Julian sealed his scientific reputation with a breakthrough in synthetic chemistry. Although the researchers knew that phisostigmine, the active ingredient in Calabar, helped patients with glaucoma, they were struggling to get enough amounts to support treatment.
While the compound phisostigmine was only available from its natural source, Julian synthesized the substance through an 11-step process that started with an existing drug that allowed the production of sufficient quantities of phyostigmine to treat glaucoma.
In the year 1999, the American Chemical Society designated Julian’s achievement a National Historic Landmark in chemistry, describing it as “Julian’s first ever achievement in his lifetime in the chemical synthesis of natural products of commercial significance.”
And in 1990 Julian was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Julian died of liver cancer on April 19, 1975, at Saint Therese Hospital in Waggen. He was then buried in Illinois, at the Alam Lawn Cemetery in Elmhurst, Illinois.