Two Black Scholars Elected Members of the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences, a prestigious organization founded on March 3, 1863, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, features this nation’s finest scientists. During the Civil War, Sen. Henry Wilson helped create the bill that would bring the NAS to reality.

The organization strives to elect the most distinguished and most qualified scientists. This year, it added two Black scientists who fit that criteria. Scott V. Edwards and Jennifer A. Richeson are currently the only Black scientists who are part of the organization.


Edwards is currently the Alexander Agassiz professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University. In addition to his work as a professor, he is the curator of birds for the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. “A native of Hawaii, Edwards is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard. He earned a Ph.D. in zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Edwards has been on the faculty at Harvard University since 2003,” according the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.


Richeson is the endowed chair of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in psychology at Northwestern University. At the university, she also teaches African-American studies. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education goes on to say that Richeson has been on the faculty at Northwestern since 2005. Previously, “she taught at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Dr. Richeson is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.”

The two were officially inducted as members of the NAS on May 11.

10 Brilliant Black Mathematicians Who Never Received the Praise They Deserved


Euphemia Haynes (Sept. 11, 1890 – July 25, 1980)

Haynes  was a mathematician and educator and the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in mathematics from the Catholic University of America in 1943. For roughly 47 years, Haynes was a devoted math teacher in Washington, D.C. She taught at local high schools and at universities. In 1930, she taught at Miner Teachers College. While there, she served as chair of the mathematics department and the Division of Mathematics and Business Education. In 1966, Haynes was the first woman to chair the District of Columbia School Board, and during her short period there, she was vital in the integration of the D.C. public schools. 



Gloria Conyers Hewitt (born Oct. 26, 1935)

Hewitt earned her bachelor’s in secondary mathematics education at Fisk University in 1956. She attended the University of Washington and received her master’s and doctorate in mathematics in 1962. One of her major career highlights was in the 1990s, when she served as chair of the mathematics department at the University of Montana. Hewitt was also one of the first Black women to be awarded a mathematics reward of any kind. She was awarded the National Science Foundation postdoctoral Science Faculty Fellowship in the 1990s.