Monday, January 25, 2010


The Detroit Science Center is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting the achievements of five noteworthy African American scientists and inventors – Benjamin Banneker, Dr. Charles Richard Drew, Lewis Howard Latimer, June Bacon-Bercey and Otis Boykin. Visitors to the museum can learn more about these famous scientists and inventors, and take a scavenger hunt throughout the museum to find hands-on exhibits related to their work. The African American Achievements in Science program is made possible by The Nissan Foundation.

Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) is best known for making astronomical calculations that enabled him to successfully forecast a 1789 solar eclipse, as well as for building one of the first watches made in America, a wooden pocket watch.

Lewis Howard Latimer (1848-1929) is credited for his advancements with circuits along with inventing carbon filament. Latimer also was a draftsman in a patent office and drafted the patent drawings for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone patent application.

Otis Boykin (1920-1982) invented and improved electrical resistors used in computers, radios, televisions and a variety of electronic devices, helping to reduce the cost of these products. He also invented a variable resistor used in guided missile parts, a control unit for heart stimulators, a burglar-proof cash register and a chemical air filter.

Dr. Charles Richard Drew (1904-1950) developed improved techniques for blood storage and applied his knowledge in developing large-scale blood banks in early World War II. He was the first black surgeon to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.

June Bacon-Bercey (1932-present) was the only African-American woman to earn a degree in meteorology in the 1950s. In 1970 she became the first female television meteorologist in the country.

The Detroit Science Center is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The museum will offer extended hours Feb. 15-19 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $13.95 for adults and $11.95 for children and seniors.

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