Mark E. Dean

USA / Born: 2 March 1957)
Invention: Gigahertz chip - IBM

Mark E. Dean is an inventor and computer engineer. He was part of the team that developed the ISA bus, and he led a design team for making a one-gigahertz computer processor chip.

He holds three of nine PC patents for being the co-creator of the IBM personal computer released in 1981.
In August 2011, writing in his blog, Dean stated that he now uses a tablet computer instead of a PC.

If you ever owned the original IBM personal computer, you can partially credit its existence to Mark E. Dean. The computer scientist/engineer worked for IBM, where he led the team that designed the ISA bus—the hardware interface that allows multiple devices like printers, modems, and keyboards to be plugged into a computer. This innovation helped pave the way for the personal computer's use in office and business settings.

Dean holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee, a master's degree in electrical engineering from Florida Atlantic University and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Dean also helped develop the first color computer monitor, and in 1999 he led the team of programmers that created the world's first gigahertz chip.
Dean was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1997. He's currently a computer science professor at the University of Tennessee.

Dean continued to further his education. He earned his master's degree in electrical engineering from Florida Atlantic University in 1982. Then, 10 years later, he completed his doctorate in the same field from Stanford University. While Dean's name isn't quite as well known as maybe other computer pioneers such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, the inventor hasn't gone completely unrecognized. In 1996, he was named an IBM fellow, the first African American ever to receive the honor. A year later, he was honored with the Black Engineer of the Year President's Award and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was tapped to be a member of the National Academy of Engineers.

Prof Mashudu Tshifularo

South Africa / Born: 18 June 1964
Invention: Transplant 3D-printed Bones

Prof Tshifularo was born the third son of Florah Tshinovhea Tshifularo and Zacharia Thanyani Tshifularo. He grew up as a herdsman in the rural village of Mbahela outside Thohoyandou, in Venda, South Africa. At the age of 13, Tshifularo knew he would be a medical doctor. He was married to Samdika Blessings Tshifularo and they have six children including their adopted children.

After studying at the University of Natal, he began his career as a physician at Tshilidzini Hospital in 1990. Since 1995 he has been a professor and head of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Pretoria and also a chief specialist at the MEDUNSA (currently the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University).

He was appointed in 2000 as the youngest and only black professor of ENT in South Africa. His medical interests include Otology, Rhinology and Paediatric ENT.
2019 Prof Mashudu Tshifularo becomes the first to transplant 3D-printed bones for reconstructive middle ear implants on 3 March 2019, at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

3D-printed implants Tshifularo is the first to transplant the ossicles: the hammer (malleus), anvil (incus) and stirrup (stapes) that make up the middle ear, using 3D-print technology.
Tshifularo is the head of the Department of Ear, Nose, and Throat and Head and Neck Surgery at the Otorhinolaryngology Department of the University of Pretoria, and started developing this technology during his PhD studies. He and his team at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria performed the first transplant on 13 March 2019. The endoscopic procedures lasted approximately 2 hours.
The first patient was a 40 year old with accidental trauma damage and the other was a 62 year old born with a middle ear issue and a history of failed interventions.

Henry Thomas Sampson, Jr

USA / Lived: 1934 – 4 June 2015
Invention: Gamma-Electric Cell

Henry Thomas Sampson, Jr. was an American inventor, known for creating the gamma-electric cell — a device with the main goal of generating auxiliary power from the shielding of a nuclear reactor.

Henry T. Sampson, Jr. was born in Jackson, Mississippi, where he graduated from Lanier High School in 1951. He then attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, before transferring to Purdue University in Indiana, where he became a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He received a Bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University in 1956. He graduated with a MS degree in engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1961.

Sampson also received an MS in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1965, and his PhD in 1967. He was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering in the United States.

His patents included a binder system for propellants and explosives and a case bonding system for cast composite propellants. Both inventions are related to solid rocket motors.
On July 6, 1971, he was awarded a patent, with George H. Miley, for a gamma-electrical cell, a device that produces a high voltage from radiation sources, primarily gamma radiation, with proposed goals of generating auxiliary power from the shielding of a nuclear reactor. Additionally, the patent cites the cell's function as a detector with self-power and construction cost advantages over previous detectors.

Marie Van Brittan Brown

USA / Lived: 22 October 1922 – 2 February 1999
Invention: First Home Security System

Marie Van Brittan Brown was the inventor of the first home security system. She is also credited with the invention of the first closed circuit television.
Brown was born in Queens, New York, on October 22, 1922, and resided there until her death on February 2, 1999, at age seventy-six. Her father was born in Massachusetts and her mother was from Pennsylvania.

The patent for the invention was filed in 1966, and it later influenced modern home security systems that are still used today. Brown’s invention was inspired by the security risk that her home faced in the neighborhood where she lived.
Marie Brown worked as a nurse and her husband, Albert Brown, worked as an electronics technician. Their work hours were not the standard nine-to-five, and the crime rate in their Queens, New York City neighborhood was very high.
Even when the police were contacted in the event of an emergency, the response time tended to be slow. As a result, Brown looked for ways to increase her level of personal security.
She needed to create a system that would allow her to know who was at her home and contact relevant authorities as quickly as possible.

Brown’s security system was the basis for the two-way communication and surveillance features of modern security. Her original invention was comprised of peepholes, a camera, monitors, and a two-way microphone. The final element was an alarm button that could be pressed to contact the police immediately.

Three peepholes were placed on the front door at different height levels. The top one was for tall persons, the bottom one was for children, and the middle one was for anyone of average height. At the opposite side of the door a camera was attached with the ability to slide up and down to allow the person to see through each peephole. The camera picked up images that would reflect on the monitor via a wireless system. The monitor could be placed in any part of the house to allow you to see who was at the door.

There was also a voice component to enable Brown to speak to the person outside. If the person was perceived to be an intruder, the police would be notified with the push of a button.
If the person was a welcome or expected visitor, the door could be unlocked via remote control.

Marie and Albert Brown filed for a patent on August 1, 1966, under the title, “Home Security System Utilizing Television Surveillance.” Their application was approved on December 2, 1969. Brown’s invention gained her well-deserved recognition, including an award from the National Scientists Committee (no year for the award can be identified) and an interview with The New York Times on December 6, 1969.

Brown’s invention laid the foundation for later security systems that make use of its features such as video monitoring, remote-controlled door locks, push-button alarm triggers, instant messaging to security providers and police, as well as two-way voice communication.
Her invention is still used by small businesses, small offices, single-family homes, and multi-unit dwellings such as apartments and condominiums.
The Browns’ patent was later referenced by thirteen other inventors including some as recently as 2013.
Brown was the mother of two children, one of whom, Norma Brown, went on to become a nurse and inventor.

Percy Tucker

South Africa / Born: 1928
Invention: World's First Computerized Ticketing System

Percy Tucker of Benoni, Gauteng founded Computicket, the world's first computerized ticketing system. It was deployed nationally in 1971.

Born in the small mining town of Benoni, South Africa in 1928, Percy Tucker has devoted his life to nurturing and furthering the live arts and entertainment in his native South Africa and, in so doing, has forged mutually productive relationships with creative artists and managements across Europe, Britain and the USA.

The breadth of Percy’s interests, ranging from his first love – the theatre – through classical music in all its forms to ballet, modern dance, popular music, variety and spectacle, saw him become an integral figure in the show business industry in his country as advisor, councillor, mentor, organizer, impresario and innovator.

Internationally, he is known, above all, for the founding of Computicket, the world’s first fully operative computerized, centralized ticket-booking system, which he introduced in South Africa in 1971.
For this concept and its realization, Percy Tucker has been extensively honoured as it changed forever the way tickets for entertainment was marketed worldwide.

Percy’s unique combination of passionate commitment to the arts with his commercial vision, business acumen and marketing skills has brought him recognition, love and respect that he never sought, and a richly fulfilling life which he treasures.
Since his official retirement in 1994, Percy has published his autobiography-cum-history of the South African theatre, Just the Ticket! and remains actively involved in the entertainment industry as advisor, lecturer, board member and researcher, and continues to travel the world, ever alert to new horizons.

Sévérin Kezeu

Cameroon / Born: 1967
Invention: The Navigator - Collision Avoidance Systems

Sévérin Kezeu was born in Yaoundé in 1967. The son of a teacher and a nurse, he developed a taste for reading very early, discovered the world of robotics at 7 years and became aware of the black cause through Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.

After a brilliant schooling, he takes courses in mathematics and computer science at the University of Yaoundé 1 and is accepted after many efforts at the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation of Strasbourg in France.
The young talent, 2 years before the end of his studies, is already sinking under the wonderful professional proposals in the United States. In 1991, the brilliant subject of 24 and won the first French national prize for invention and innovation after his doctoral dissertation on collision.

Prior to his invention, although there were many collision avoidance systems, they were all designed by a vertical approach, that is, by specialists in each field. Crane professionals, for example, developed a system for cranes, those of the car one for cars.
The disadvantage of this approach was that we obtained systems that only fit a given type of mobile on the one hand and especially non-optimal: presence of false alerts, some untreated risk cases.

Thus, it was not possible to avoid a collision between a train on a level crossing and a car, or a tower crane and a truck, or an airplane and a utility vehicle on the airport tarmac . Dr. Kezeu therefore understood that to solve the problem of collision in a global and optimal way, it was necessary to be interested in the mobile as an intrinsic and arbitrary object. He developed a mathematical theory which makes it possible to formally calculate the risk of collision between an unlimited number of mobiles of heterogeneous nature.

This system called Navigator and which works in 3D, also innovates by being computer, unlike all the others which were electromechanical. This system can equip all mobile devices and has been adopted by the Pentagon and the French army.

But this success led him to police custody in France because he was suspected of not being the inventor of the Navigator.
Severin Kezeu now owns a Dubai-based industrial company, which weighs 100 millions of dollars and employs 150 engineers and 250 technicians. Securing Dubai's gigantic construction sites in recent years owes a lot to him. He returned to Cameroon in 2010 to create an industrial maintenance school.

Madam C. J. Walker

USA / Lived: 23 December 1867 – 25 May 1919
Invention: line of African American Hair Products

Madam C. J. Walker was an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist.

Madam C.J. Walker invented a line of African American hair products after suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss.

She is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records. Multiple sources mention that although other women might have been the first, their wealth is not as well-documented.

Walker made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care products for black women through the business she founded, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company.
She became known also for her philanthropy and activism. She made financial donations to numerous organizations and became a patron of the arts. Villa Lewaro, Walker's lavish estate in Irvington, New York, served as a social gathering place for the African-American community.
At the time of her death, she was considered the wealthiest African-American businesswoman and wealthiest self-made black woman in America. Her name was a version of "Mrs. Charles Joseph Walker", after her third husband, who died in 1926.

Percy Lavon Julian

USA / Lived: 11 April 1899 – 19 April 1975
Invention: First Synthesize Natural Product Physostigmine

Percy Lavon Julian was an American research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants. He was the first to synthesize the natural product physostigmine, plus a pioneer in the industrial large-scale chemical synthesis of the human hormones progesterone and testosterone from plant sterols such as stigmasterol and sitosterol. His work laid the foundation for the steroid drug industry's production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and birth control pills.

He later started his own company to synthesize steroid intermediates from the wild Mexican yam. His work helped greatly reduce the cost of steroid intermediates to large multinational pharmaceutical companies, helping to significantly expand the use of several important drugs.

Julian received more than 130 chemical patents. He was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in chemistry. He was the first African-American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, and the second African-American scientist inducted (behind David Blackwell) from any field.

In 1953, Julian founded his own research firm, Julian Laboratories, Inc. He brought many of his best chemists, including African-Americans and women, from Glidden to his own company. Julian won a contract to provide Upjohn with $2 million worth of progesterone (equivalent to $17 million today).
To compete against Syntex, he would have to use the same Mexican yam, obtained from the Mexican barbasco trade, as his starting material.
Julian used his own money and borrowed from friends to build a processing plant in Mexico, but he could not get a permit from the government to harvest the yams. Abraham Zlotnik, a former Jewish University of Vienna classmate whom Julian had helped escape from the Holocaust, led a search to find a new source of the yam in Guatemala for the company.

James Edward Maceo West

USA / Born: 10 February 1931
Invention: Foil Electret Microphone

James Edward Maceo West (born in Farmville, Prince Edward County, Virginia) is an African American inventor and acoustician. He holds over 250 foreign and U.S. patents for the production and design of microphones and techniques for creating polymer foil electrets.

Along with Gerhard Sessler, West invented the foil electret microphone in 1962 while developing instruments for human hearing research. Compared to the previous condenser microphones, the electret microphone has higher capacitance and does not require a DC bias. West and Sessler optimized the mechanical and surface parameters of the system. Nearly 90 percent of more than two billion microphones produced annually are based on the principles of the foil-electret and are used in everyday items such as telephones, camcorders, hearing aids, baby monitors, and audio recording devices among others.

West measured the acoustics of Philharmonic Hall in New York City. Recently, West teamed with Ilene Busch-Vishniac and studied the acoustic environment of hospitals showing that hospitals are in general too loud and that the noise levels affect staff and patients. Dr. West has over 250 patents to his name. At age 87 in 2018, he is still an active inventor working on a device to detect pneumonia in infant lungs.

Dr. West is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and in 2010, along with Gerhard M. Sessler, West was the recipient of The Franklin Institute's Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering. He is also an inductee to the National Inventors Hall of Fame and an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is also the recipient of numerous other honors and awards. However, West feels that his greatest accomplishments are his four children Melanie, Laurie, James and Ellington.

Lonnie George Johnson

USA / Born: 6 October 1949
Invention: Super Soaker Water Gun

Lonnie George Johnson is an American inventor, aerospace engineer, and entrepreneur, whose work history includes a U.S. Air Force term of service and a twelve-year stint at NASA, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
He invented the Super Soaker water gun in 1990, which has been among the world's bestselling toys ever since.

Johnson conceived the Super Soaker while doing work with the US Air Force. Initially it was called the “Power Drencher” when it appeared in toy shops in 1990, but after some tweaks and remarketing, it got its name.
Selling between $10 to $60 depending on the model, the Super Soaker took off, generating $200 million in sales in 1991.
Shortly after making the deal for the Super Soaker with the Larami Corporation, Larami became a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc. in February 1995.

Johnson tweaked the design of the water gun, replacing the water in the Super Soaker with a "toy [Nerf] projectile." In 1996, Johnson received patent US5553598 A for "Pneumatic launcher for a toy projectile and the like."
In February 2013, Johnson filed suit against Hasbro after he discovered that he was being underpaid royalties for the Super Soaker and several Nerf line of toys. In November 2013, Johnson was awarded nearly $73 million in royalties from Hasbro Inc. in arbitration. According to Hasbro, the Super Soaker is approaching sales of $1 billion.