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Black Inventors [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-6-1 20:32:50 |Display all floors
Charles Drew
(The Blood Bank)

Charles Drew was born on June 3, 1904 in Washington, D.C., the son of Richard and Nora Drew and eldest of five children. Charles was one of those rare individuals who seemed to excel at everything he did and on every level and would go on to become of pioneer in the field of medicine.

Charles' early interests were in education, particularly in medicine, but he was also an outstanding athlete. As a youngster he was an award winning swimmer and starred Dunbar High School in football, baseball, basketball and track and field, winning the James E. Walker Memorial medal as his school's best all around athlete. After graduation from Dunbar in 1922, he went on to attend Amherst College in Massachusetts where he captained the track team and starred as a halfback on the school's football team, winning the Thomas W. Ashley Memorial trophy in his junior year as the team most valuable player and being named to the All-American team. Upon graduation from Amherst in 1926 he was awarded the Howard Hill Mossman trophy as the man who contributed the most to Amherst athletics during his four years in school.

After graduation from Amherst, Drew took on a position as a biology teacher at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland and also served as the school's Athletic Director. During his two years at Morgan State, he helped to turn the school's basketball and football programs into collegiate champions.

In 1928, Charles decided to pursue his interest in medicine and enrolled at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He was received as a member of the Medical Honorary Society and graduated in 1933 with Master of Surgery and Doctor of Medicine degrees, finishing second in his class of 127 students. He stayed in Montreal for a while as an intern at Montreal General Hospital and at the Royal Victoria Hospital. In 1935, he returned to the United States and began working as an instructor of pathology at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He was also a resident at Freedmen's Hospital (the teaching hospital for Howard University) and was awarded the Rockefeller Foundation Research Fellowship. He spent two years at Columbia University in New York attending classes and working as a resident at the Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital. During this time he became involved in research on blood and blood transfusions.

Years back, while a student at McGill, he had saved a man by giving him a blood transfusion and had studied under Dr. John Beattie, an instructor of anatomy who was intensely interested in blood transfusions. Now at Columbia, he wrote a dissertation on "Banked Blood" in which he described a technique he developed for the long-term preservation of blood plasma. Prior to his discovery, blood could not be stored for more than two days because of the rapid breakdown of red blood cells. Drew had discovered that by separating the plasma (the liquid part of blood) from the whole blood (in which the red blood cells exist) and then refrigerating them separately, they could be combined up to a week later for a blood transfusion. He also discovered that while everyone has a certain type of blood (A, B, AB, or O) and thus are prevented from receiving a full blood transfusion from someone with different blood, everyone has the same type of plasma. Thus, in certain cases where a whole blood transfusion is not necessary, it was sufficient to give a plasma transfusion which could be administered to anyone, regardless of their blood type. He convinced Columbia University to establish a blood bank and soon was asked to go to England to help set up that country's first blood bank. Drew became the first Black to receive a Doctor of Medical Science degree from Columbia and was now gaining a reputation worldwide.

On September 29, 1939, Charles married Lenore Robbins, with whom he would have four children. At the same time, however, World War II was breaking out in Europe. Drew was named the Supervisor of the Blood Transfusion Association for New York City and oversaw its efforts towards providing plasma to the British Blood Bank. He was later named a project director for the American Red Cross but soon resigned his post after the United States War Department issued a directive that blood taken from White donors should be segregated from that of Black donors.

In 1942, Drew returned to Howard University to head its Department of Surgery, as well as the Chief of Surgery at Freedmen's Hospital. Later he was named Chief of Staff and Medical Director for the Hospital. In 1948 he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for his work on blood plasma. He was also presented with the E. S. Jones Award for Research in Medical Science and became the first Black to be appointed an examiner by the American Board of Surgery. In 1945 he was presented honorary degrees of Doctor of Science from Virginia State College as well as Amherst College where he attended as an undergraduate student. In 1946 he was elected Fellow of the International College of Surgeons and in 1949 appointed Surgical Consultant for the United States Army's European Theater of Operations.

Charles Drew died on April 1, 1950 when the automobile he was driving went out of control and turned over. Drew suffered extensive massive injuries but contrary to popular legend was not denied a blood transfusion by an all-White hospital - he indeed received a transfusion but was beyond the help of the experienced physicians attending to him. His family later wrote letters to those physicians thanking them for the care they provided. Over the years, Drew has been considered one of the most honored and respected figures in the medical field and his development of the blood plasma bank has given a second chance of live to millions.

  1. http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bldrew.htm
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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-6-7 09:25 PM ]
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:35:30 |Display all floors
T. Elkins
(An improved refrigerator design)

T. Elkins designed a device that helped with the task of preserving perishable foods by way of refrigeration. At the time, the common way of accomplishing this was by placing items in a large container and surrounding them with large blocks of ice. Unfortunately, the ice generally melted very quickly and the food soon perished.

Elkins' device utilized metal cooling coils which became very cold and would cool down items which they surrounded. The coils were enclosed within a container and perishable items were placed inside. The coils cooled the container to temperature significantly lower than that inside of a room thereby keeping the perishable items cool and fresh for longer periods of time.

Elkins patented this refrigerated apparatus on November 4, 1879 and had previously patented a chamber commode in 1872 and a dining, ironing table and quilting frame combined in 1870.

  1. http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blelkinpatents.htm
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:37:57 |Display all floors
Philip Emeagwali

The early life of Philip Emeagwali seemed destined for poverty in his native land of Nigeria. He was the oldest of nine children and his father, who worked as a nurse's aide, earned only a modest income. As a result, at age 14, Philip was forced to drop out of school in Onitsha. Because he had shown such great promise in mathematics, his father encouraged him to continue learning at home. Every evening, Philip's father would quiz him in math as well as other subjects. He would ask these questions in a rapid-fire manner, prompting Philip to think quickly on his feet. Eventually, Philip was tasked to answer 100 question in an hour, which to his father's delight, he succeeded in. Unable to attend school, Philip instead journeyed to the public library, spending most of his day there. He sped through books appropriate for his age and moved up to college-level material, studying mathematics, chemistry, physics and English. After a period of study, he applied to take the General Certificate of Education exam (a high-school equivalency exam) through the University of London and he passed it easily.

Having achieved this success, he decided to apply to colleges in Europe and the United States and at age 17 was offered a scholarship by Oregon State University in the United States. He began his studies at Oregon State in 1974 and received a Bachelor Degree in Mathematics in 1977. He then moved to the Washington, D.C. area and received a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering from George Washington University in 1981 and a second Master's Degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Maryland in 1986. During the same period of time he received another Master's Degree from George Washington University, this time in Ocean, Coastal and Marine Engineering. He worked for a period of time as a civil engineer in Maryland and Wyoming, but his real success was yet to come.

George CarruthersIn 1987, the Emeagwali was accepted into the University of Michigan's Civil Engineering doctoral program and received a doctoral fellowship. At the time, in the United States, the government and many in academia contended that there were 20 Grand Challenges that faced the world in the areas of science and engineering. One of these challenges was petroleum reservoir simulation. In the petroleum industry, oil is generally found within underground rocks in reservoirs. The oil is extracted by drilling down into the rock and extracting the oil but because of the uncertainties of locating the pocket of oil, industry experts could only confidently hope to extract 10 percent of the oil within a known reservoir and that was done by utilizing supercomputers (which could cost upwards of $30 million) to simulate oil fields and anticipate the flow of the oil therein. In order to extract the oil, water or gas must be pumped into the field to force it upwards. Unfortunately, if done incorrectly, the oil could be forced into an inaccessible pocket and the natural oil flow could be interrupted, thus forcing the oil company to commence drilling again, at considerable expense. Emeagwali, having grown up in Nigeria which boasted grand oil reservoirs., understood that at the time, with oil selling for $20.00 per barrel, just a one percent increase in production from a 20 billion barrel field would result in another $400 million yield, a staggering amount. As part of his doctoral dissertation, he decided to take on the challenge.

Emeagwali had read a 1922 science fiction article written by Lewis Fry Richardson entitled "Weather prediction by numerical processes" which suggested using 64,000 mathematicians do weather forecasting for the entire planet. Based on this article and on the work of German mathematician Paul Fillunger and Russian mathematician B. K. Risenkampf (in partial differential equations), Emeagwali determined that rather than using a supercomputer that used 8 processors, he would instead use 65,536 microprocessors (a microprocessor is basically what is found in desktop computers) to work the necessary computations. He based his decision on an old premise that a large number of chickens, if coordinated in strength and efficiency, will be able to do a better job than a small number of oxen. Thus, his 65,536 microprocessors would work together as chickens and theorized that the could outwork the eight processor (eight oxen) supercomputer. He originally theorized that the 64,000 processors could be used instead of mathematicians to predict the Earth' weather, but then decided to turn his theory towards the petroleum reservoir simulation.The obvious problem was how to gain access to that many computers and how to connect them. Instead he turned to the Connection Machine, a device developed by a company called Thinking Machines. The machine was designed such that it could contain within it up to 65,536 microprocessors interconnected, each with its own RAM and each processing one bit at a time. Emeagwali found that there was a Connection Machine at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (NANL) in New Mexico. Scientists were having a difficult time programming the computer to simulate nuclear blasts and it sat unused for much of the time. He submitted an application and NANL approved his use the their Connection Machine which he accessed remotely through the Internet from Michigan. After setting the parameters, Emeagwali ran his program and was astounded when the machine was able to perform 3.1 billion calculations per second. The program had also determined the amount of oil in the simulated reservoir, the direction of flow and the speed at which it was flowing at each point. The impact of his experiment was immense. By discovering a practical application for utilizing supercomputers, he opened up a whole new market for them. Just seven years later it was estimated that 10 percent of massively parable computers had been purchased by the petroleum industry. Furthermore, it provided the theory of connecting computer around the world to provide a scalable, network through which to share and process information. Using this concept in conjunction with the existing internet backbone, the world wide web would emerge as an new entity for providing communications and enhancing commerce. In 1989, in acknowledgement of his discovery, Emeagwali was awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Gordon Bell Prize which recognizes outstanding achievement in high-performance computing applications.

George CarruthersEncouraged by his success and newly found status, Emeagwali moved forward with further research and provided new theories and concepts for computer design. Many of these were based on the idea that computers were simply an extension of the function of nature and thus that they should be designed based on nature. One of his theories is aimed at exploring long-term effects of greenhouse gases and global warming. Emeagwali offered a new design for a computer based on honeycombs. Based on the theory of tessellated models, Emeagwali broke the Earth's atmosphere into sections that resembled honeycombs created by bees. He reasoned that bees are able to use the most efficient methods to develop their honeycombs and that following principles of honeycomb design in a computer will allow it to work in an optimal fashion. He believes that his hyperball computer will allow for weather forecasting far into the future and for simulated global warming trends in order to address the problem.

In addition to the aforementioned concept, Emeagwali have created hundreds more. He has lectured around the world and been lauded by for his achievements. He was named the Pioneer of the Year by the National Society of Black Engineers, as well as Scientist of the Year in 1991, the Computer Scientist of the Year by America's National Technical Association in 1993 along with dozens of other tributes.

For someone who was born with little, Philip Emeagwali was able to achieve a lot and has served as an inspiration to millions of people, especially in Nigeria. Former United States President Bill Clinton summed up worldwide sentiment by declaring Emeagwali "One of the great minds of the Information Age."
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:39:21 |Display all floors
H. Faulkner

In 1890, H. Faulkner decided to work on a problem that caused suffering in people everyday - foot problems caused by lack of ventilation inside of shoes. For years people constantly complained about blisters and sores on their feet as well as excessive sweating and aching caused by walking and standing with shoes on which offered no cooling air to circulate within. Faulkner devised a method for placing holes in specific locations within the shoe, thus allowing for adequate circulation and greater comfort.

Faulkner patented the ventilated shoe on April 29, 1890 and thereby helped to provide comfort and healthy feet to the world.
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:40:10 |Display all floors
D. A. Fisher


D. A. Fisher responded to the needs of furniture workers by trying to make their work easier, safer and more productive. He created and patented two devices which eased the burden of these workers and improved their efforts.

His first invention was aimed at freeing up time for carpenters and furniture makers. At the time, when furniture was being put together, a worker was forced to work in slow steps, pausing at various times to combine pieces of wood together in order to allow glue to bind them. Fisher solved this delay by developing the joiner's clamp, which he patented on April 20, 1875. The joiner's clamp consisted of two pieces of wood connected by two screws. When tightened, the screws pushed the pieces of wood together. He used this device to hold together furniture parts as they were glued, thus freeing the worker to continuing assembling the item. By using applied, balanced pressure, the joiner's clamp caused the wood to bind together, faster and stronger than was previously possible.

Another dilemma facing workers in the furniture industry was the laborious task of moving heavy pieces of furniture. In addition to having to concern themselves with their own physical safety, they also had to worry about dropping the furniture and damaging other items in the room by bumping into them. On March 14, 1876, Fisher patented the furniture caster. This device was a free turning wheel that could (when combined with a few others) allow heavy items to move around a room on rollers, safely and efficiently. This enabled one person to move large pieces of furniture, allowing other workers to tend to other items. This device is now used in almost every industry a well as in most homes.
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:43:01 |Display all floors
James Forten

James Forten was born in 1766 as a free Black man in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Over the course of his lifetime, he would make an impact upon the fortunes of industries and the lives of his fellow man.

Forten was the son of Thomas and Sarah Forten and the grandson of slaves. He was raised in Philadelphia and educated in Anthony Benezet's Quaker school for colored children. At age eight, James began working for Robert Bridges sail loft, and worked alongside his father. A year later his father died in a boating accident and James was forced to take on additional work to provide for his family.

When he turned 14 he worked as a powder boy during the Revolutionary War on the Royal Lewis sailing ship. After being captured by the British, he was released and returned home to again begin working in Mr. Bridges loft. Pleased with his work and ambition, Mr. Bridges eventually appointed him to the foreman's position in the loft. In 1798 Bridges decided to retire and wanted Forten to remain in charge of the loft. He loaned enough money to Forten to purchase the loft and soon James owned the business, employing 38 people.

Around this time, Forten began experimenting with different types of sails for ships and finally invented one that he found was better suited for maneuvering and maintaining greater speeds. Although he did not patent the sail, he was able to benefit financially, as his sailing loft became one of the most successful and prosperous ones in Philadelphia.

The fortune he soon made was enormous for any man, Black or White. Forten spent his money and lived a luxurious life, but he also made good use of his resources on people other than his self. More than half of his considerable fortune was devoted towards abolitionist causes. He often purchased slaves freedom, helped to finance and bring in funding for William Garrison's newspaper, the Libertarian, opened his home on Lombard Street as an Underground Railroad depot and opened a school for Black children.

James Forten died in 1842 after living an incredible life. His early years were devoted to providing for his mother, his middle years towards building his fortune and supporting his family and his later years to uplifting his fellow man. He was not only a great inventor, but an even greater man.

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-6-1 08:44 PM ]
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Post time 2007-6-1 20:45:29 |Display all floors
Wow...this is another super informative thread, just like the Chinese one that you made...very well presented.
I'm learning stuff that I didn't know...again.
"Finch...stay away from that Ficus! That's a jizz-free Ficus."- Steve Stiffler

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