Today, Google celebrates what would have been the 115th birthday of Percy Julian, a chemist whose research led to chemical birth control and immune-suppressing medications.
Julian was born in Alabama on April 11, 1899, at a time when his city of Montgomery didn’t provide public education for black students post-middle school. Despite this, Julian persevered and ended up both attending and excelling at Indiana’s DePauw University. He later returned to the university to work on synthesizing plant products into medicine, where he found much success; some of his accomplishments include creating a synthetic cortisone to inexpensively treat arthritis and discovering a treatment for glaucoma.
Julian received many honors in (and after) his lifetime, including being the first black chemist to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He passed away in 1975.