Learn for what the chemist and grandson of a former slave Percy Lavon Julian is noted.
Dr. Percy Lavon Julian (1899-1975), a grandson of a former slave, is noted for his work on synthesizing hormones and medicinal substances, as well as for developing many industrial applications for plant products.
He obtained 130 chemical patents in his lifetime. For instance, in 1935 he synthesized physostigmine, a powerful drug for the treatment of the disease glaucoma (build-up of pressure inside the eyeball that gradually destroys the retina, causing blindness).
A year later, he isolated and prepared soybean protein to be used for paper coatings, textile sizing, and cold-water paints, and as a chemical fire-extinguishing foam. He also developed methods of synthesizing cortisone (used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases) and the hormones progesterone and testosterone.