More Than Neil deGrasse Tyson: 10 Equally Awesome Black Astrophysicists You Should Know

Neil deGrasse Tyson has brought Black scientists of all fields to the forefront. Many young people interested in science can learn from his example and he should get credit for that. However, there are many people working and researching that are not in the spotlight. Here are just a few:

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Dr. Beth A. Brown

She holds a B.S. degree in Astrophysics obtained in 1991 from Howard University, a M.S. in Astronomy obtained in 1994 from the University of Michigan. She obtained her Ph. D. in Astronomy in 1998 from the University of Michigan as well.

Most of her work is currently in the area of the hot interstellar medium in elliptical galaxies, and the mechanisms for X-ray emission from faint elliptical galaxies. Other interests include galaxy observations in multi-wavelengths.

She was an astrophysicist working for the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC), NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and Astrophysics Data Facility of NSSDC. Sadly, she died in 2008.

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Dr. Jarita C. Holbrook

She received her B.S. in Physics in 1987 at the California Institute of Technology and her M.S. in Astronomy in 1992 from San Diego State University.

She obtained her Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1997 from University of California, Santa Cruz.

She has been an Assistant Research Scientist at The Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at The University of Arizona. Now she works in South Africa.

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Comments

  1. Nicholas Suntzeff says:

    Dara worked at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, but has since moved to the Kitt Peak National Observatory (one of the locations of the NSF funded National Optical Astronomy Observatory) located in Tucson, AZ where she is a staff astronomer. And is a totally cool person!

  2. Jami Valentine says:

    This is a very nice article, with only a few errors.

    Dr Beth Brown was a wonderful person inside and out. And she was taken too soon, having departed this earth in 2008.

  3. Jami Valentine says:

    Also Claudia Alexander worked on the highly publicized Rosetta mission that landed on a comet this year.

    And Jarita Holbrook is working in South Africa.

  4. Thanks!

  5. Thanks!

  6. More for this (already awesome) list:
    John Asher Johnson, Aomawa Shields, Jedidah Isler, and Hakeem Oluseyi!

  7. Jeremy Schnittman says:

    I would like to add my esteemed colleagues here at NASA: Tehani Finch and Tonia Venters

  8. Dara Norman also worked at Goddard Space Flight Center.

  9. I absolutely love this post. Granted, Neil Degrasse Tyson is a much respected astrophysicist and his work should be recognized. Yet, there are many other unnamed astrophysicists that should be given recognition, including the ones listed on this post. Thus, I would like to include the following.

    In 1973, three outstanding astrophysicists; Donald Edwards, John McNeil Hunter and Halson V. Eagleson were honored at a special ceremony at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Although retired, two female physicists are Shirley Ann Jackson and Katherine Johnson. Mrs. Jackson had worked at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory located in Batavia, Illinois. Mrs. Johnson had worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Please keep up the good posting. Peace.

  10. John Feldmeier says:

    Another great astronomer for the list: Louis Gregory-Strolger (see http://astro.wku.edu/strolger/) – he's a supernova expert, part of the team that won the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics.

  11. Bessie Coleman?

  12. https://twitter.com/hakeemoluseyi â€ĶI just saw him on Strip The Cosmos!

  13. Yay for seeing Dara Norman on the list!

  14. Amy French says:

    Great list! But don't forget Clifford Johnson! You've seen him a bunch on The Universe, Nova, etc. Also, you probably know his blog, asymptotic.com. 🙂

  15. Amy French says:

    It's asymptotia.com. Darn auto-correct.

  16. Hakeem Oluseyi says:

    I love the spirit of the post but the information is a bit inaccurate. Not all on it are astrophysicists and as was pointed out by someone else, Beth (whom I knew since we were undergraduates in the 1980s) passed away in 2008. The article speaks of her "current" work.

    Here is a more complete (but still incomplete) list that was compiled first by me up to 2002 and then added to by Jarita Holbrook. I have not added anyone since 2010. The list is organized as: last name, first name, year of PhD.

    Rouse Carl 1956
    Banks Harvey 1961
    Walker Arthur 1962
    Peery Benjamin 1962
    Carruthers George 1964
    McGruder Charles 1972
    Mallett Ron 1973
    Basri Gibor 1979
    Lindesay James 1980
    Williams Barbara 1981
    Richards Mercedes 1986
    Bates Bernard 1986
    Woodward Charles E. 1987
    Sterling Alphonse 1988
    Strachan Leonard 1990
    Petters Arlie 1991
    Tyson Neil 1991
    Williams Reva K. 1991
    Wilcots Eric 1992
    Damas Chantale 1993
    Alexander Claudia 1993
    O'Neal Ray 1994
    Armando Howard 1994
    Davis Stanley 1995
    Morgan Windsor 1995
    Evans Aaron 1996
    Holbrook Jarita 1997
    Best Jason 1997
    Brown Beth 1998
    Norman Dara 1999
    Oluseyi Hakeem M. 2000
    Alexander Stephon 2000
    Shambrook Anouk 2001
    Strolger Louis 2002
    Garrison David 2002
    McLin Kevin 2003
    Tavarez Maritza 2005
    Johnson John A. 2006
    Ita Eyo Eyo 2008
    Finch Tehani 2008
    Allen Walter 2009
    Venters Tonia 2009
    Lauburg Vanessa 2009
    Nia Imara 2010

  17. Hakeem Oluseyi says:

    Thanks for the shout out, Lucianne, my fellow TED Fellow. 🙂

  18. Renate Belfor says:

    Thanks for this great list and the additions from others. I have one to add to the list: Maggy Aderin – Pocock, from UK of Nigerian descent. Some info about her: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/maggie-aderinpocock-a-woman-on-a-mission-proving-science-isnt-just-for-rich-white-men-7584939.html

  19. Dr. Jarita C. Holbrook is also a speculative fiction writer. Her story 'Zambeto' appears in the Griots: Sisters of the Spear anthology.

  20. Awesome! !!

  21. Why Blerds? Can't they just be Nerds like the rest of us rather than labeling them something based upon a pigment?

  22. Byron C Mayes says:

    It's not about you. Deal with it.

  23. Byron C Mayes says:

    You need to add Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer at The Franklin Institute.

  24. Byron C Mayes Thanks for the intelligence response.

  25. This is an OUTSTANDING list of of African American scientists. How many HBCUs still offer physics as a major?

  26. Dara Norman and Jarita Holbrook, like Neil deGrasse Tyson dance! Dara and Jarita are a part of our dance family! Dance is a Science…..

  27. I miss her dearly and really need her advice and encouragement at this time in my life.

  28. Pamela Norman says:

    Huh?? This is not the best reporting I've ever seen! Nice article but lacking in real information As a proud mother (single parent) I'd like to point out that DR. Dara Norman completed undergrad at M.I.T. Worked at Goddard Space Laboratory on the Hubble Mission. Obtained her Doctorate at University of Washington, and works at C.T.I.O. in Tucson, AZ Thanks Hakeem O. and Jarita H. for the more accurate outline. Better work from Journalism Dept. would be nice!

  29. Great stuff, glad to know the future of science and technology has some diversity!

  30. Carola Strolger says:

    Also, I would like to add my lovely husband, Dr Louis Strolger who currently works for Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD

  31. May Claudia Alexander R.I.P. http://aalbc.it/claudiaa Alexander also published several books

  32. Milton Davis, whats up man. I guess you also know Claudia Alexander (who passed last week) was a steampunk writer as well under the name E.L. Celeste http://aalbc.it/claudiaa

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