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William A. Morgan

mechanical engineer and rocket scientist, was born John W. Blanton in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of John O. and Carolyn Blanton.

Blanton attended Purdue University in Indiana, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1943. He began his career at Bell Aircraft Corporation in Buffalo, New York, where he worked from 1943 to 1945 and from 1950 through 1956. Initially involved in the research and development of gas and rocket engines, Blanton helped develop the X‐1, which on 14 October 1947 became the first aircraft to break the sound barrier in a human‐operated, level flight.

Two years after marrying Corinne Jones of Mississippi in 1943, Blanton was named the chief engineer of thermo and fluid dynamics at Frederick Flader Incorporated, in Buffalo, New York, where he worked for five years. In 1956 he joined General Electric in Evendale Ohio and continued to make ...

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James Michael Brodie

scientist and inventor, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, but grew up on Chicago's South Side. His father, a civil engineer, encouraged young George to study the sciences. As a child he developed a passion for the stars that drove him to build his first telescope at age ten. Though he went on to garner three science fair awards as a youth and did well in physics and chemistry, his passion did not always translate into success in his math studies.

Carruthers graduated from Chicago's Englewood High School, then he earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 1961. He earned a master's degree in nuclear engineering in 1962 and a doctorate in aeronautical and astronautical engineering in 1964 from the University of Illinois Upon graduation Carruthers joined the Rocket Astronomy Program at the Naval Research Laboratories in Washington D ...

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Charles Rosenberg

radiation physicist, environmental health specialist,operational and center director in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, the son of James and Ida Deberry Earls. His parents were born in North Carolina, but married in Portsmouth on 15 August 1930, where they raised their family. Earls had six siblings, including sisters Cleo and Shirley, and brother James Jr. He was the first in his family to go to college, with financial support from older brothers and sisters who were already working. Shortly before his birth, his father worked for a railroad, and his mother as a cook in a lunchroom.

A bright student, Earls graduated from Crestwood High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, in 1960 He aspired to be an electrical engineer but was unable to afford out of state tuition and expenses Instead he majored in physics at nearby Norfolk State University ...

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Pamela C. Edwards

physicist, space scientist, and mathematician, was born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Johnson started attending the local elementary school, but in the 1920s and 1930s, the public school system in White Sulphur Springs did not provide educational opportunities for black children beyond the eighth grade. In a 1997 interview with the Richmond Post-Dispatch, Johnson recalled that her parents were determined to give their children every educational opportunity and moved to Institute, West Virginia—120 miles away—in September of every year so that Johnson and her siblings could attend school. Johnson attended West Virginia State College, where she earned a BS in French and Mathematics and explored her interests in physics. Graduating summa cum laude in 1937, she taught high school and elementary school in southwest Virginia before going to work for NASA.

In 1953 Johnson joined NASA s Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia ...

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Robert Jr. Johnson

astrophysicist, was born in Ore City, Texas. His father, Luther McAfee, was a Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) minister and graduate of Texas College. His mother, Susie (Johnson) McAfee, taught at the Wiley College Normal School, which Walter would attend years later. The family of nine children stayed in the rural community of Upshure County for about three months after Walter's birth before moving to Marshall, Texas.

Walter McAfee graduated with honors from high school and counted his chemistry and physics teacher Freeman Prince Hodge among his earliest influences. In 1930 he received a scholarship to Wiley College, where Charles Anthony McCain (who later taught at Howard University) would be his professor for general physics and sophomore mechanics. It was McCain whom McAfee credited with advising him to choose physics rather than engineering. In 1934, the nineteen-year-old Walter McAfee graduated magna cum laude from Wiley College.

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