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James McCarthy

Scottish explorer, naturalist, surgeon, and philologist who opened up the Niger region to European trade and influence, was born in Kirkwall, Scotland, the eldest son of a Royal Navy captain, John Baikie. He was educated for a time at Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney, but mainly privately, in company with his cousins. He gained a medical degree from Edinburgh University, where he also developed his interest in natural history. In 1848, together with Robert Heddie, he wrote the first part of a published study of the natural history of Orkney, Historia naturalis Orcadensis. In the same year he joined the Royal Navy as an assistant surgeon, serving on no less than five different ships in the Mediterranean before being appointed in the same capacity to Haslar Hospital, Portsmouth, from 1851 to 1854. It was from here in 1854 that through the patronage of the influential Sir Roderick ...

Article

Osire Glacier

Moroccan explorer, professor, and astronomer, was born on 11 October 1969 in Casablanca. Her father was a blacksmith and her mother a housewife who took care of the couple’s seven children. In spite of her humble origins, Chadid decided to be an astronomer at the age of twelve, when her brother Mustapha gave her a book by the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler. Since then, she has pursued her goal one step at a time.

During her adolescent years, Chadid read extensively about the sky, the stars, and the planets. In 1992 she graduated with a master s degree in Physics from the University of Casablanca After graduation Chadid faced a difficult decision leave her family in order to pursue the relevant field of study for her professional objectives at a French university or remain with her family and renounce the opportunity to turn her passion into a profession The ...

Article

Jason Philip Miller

astronaut and pilot, was born Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr. into a middle-class home in Washington, D.C., to Muriel and Benjamin Drew Sr. Drew attended local schools and one day in class was inspired by viewing the launch of Apollo 7 (1968), the first manned space flight after the Apollo 1 disaster (1967) killed all three members of the crew. Drew later reported that from that day on, the path of his life was set. Everything he did in his education was aimed at flying in outer space. That was no simple goal. Applicants to the astronaut-training program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were legion, but NASA selected only a tiny fraction of them to participate. The number of successful African American applicants was fewer still.

Drew graduated from Gonzaga College High School in 1980 and from there he matriculated in the U ...

Article

Raymond Dumett

treaty maker, cartographer, and one of the great West Africans of his generation, was born to an African mother and a Scottish father in the central coastal town of Anomabu in the Gold Coast’s Fanti region in present-day Ghana. Like several prominent members of the African middle class, he was educated at the famous Wesleyan School of Cape Coast. He also attended school in Sierra Leone. On the basis of strong recommendations, Ferguson was selected to join the colonial government as a clerk in 1881. In 1884 he began his career as a mapmaker by drawing a map of the Gold Coast Colony and Protectorate which was of assistance to the governor in showing the approximate boundaries of various linguistic groups their states and chieftaincies Ferguson proceeded from strength to strength and with each new job effectively completed he was rewarded with greater responsibilities by the colonial government ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

astronaut, was born Joan Elizabeth Miller Higginbotham in Chicago, Illinois, to Inez and William Higginbotham. She graduated from Chicago's highly selective Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in 1982, one year after future First Lady Michelle Obama. Higginbotham, who had excelled in math and science in high school, then entered Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering in 1987. She had not grown up dreaming of becoming an astronaut, or even of working in the space industry. Indeed, it was not until 1983, when Higginbotham was an undergraduate, that the first American woman, Sally Ride, and the first African American man, Guion S. Bluford, entered space. (Valentina Tereshkova, a Soviet Cosmonaut, was the first woman in space, twenty years earlier, in 1963 while the first person of African descent in space was Arnaldo Tamayo Ménde ...

Article

Curt Johnson

doctor, explorer, and eponymous leader of the failed British coup in colonial South Africa, was born 9 February 1853 in Edinburgh, the son of a writer. His family moved to London, and Jameson took his medical degree from University College. He would come to be known popularly as “Doctor Jim.” Although by all accounts a competent, even accomplished doctor, Jameson was more attuned to the restless life of the adventurer; and it was that spirit of adventure, in addition to ill health, that brought him to southern Africa. He established a practice in Kimberley and became private physician to many of British South Africa’s more prominent personages, including the businessman, magnate, and arch-imperialist Cecil Rhodes; the Boer leader Paul Kruger; and (eventually) Lobegula, king of the powerful Ndebele of Matabeleland.

Jameson became enmeshed in Rhodes s schemes to extend British dominion northward in south central Africa beyond the Zambesi River ...

Article

Juba II  

Duane W. Roller

king of Mauretania, was a significant political leader and scholar of the Augustan period, who ruled a wide area of northwestern Africa as a king allied to Rome, and as “rex literatissimus (most learned king)” (Lucius Ampelius, Liber memorialis 38.1) was responsible for a large number of literary works.

He was the heir to the Numidian throne, a distinguished indigenous monarchy of North Africa (his ancestors included Massinissa and Jugurtha), but when his father Juba I committed suicide in 46 BC after defeat by Julius Caesar, as part of the Roman civil war, Juba II, who was only an infant at the time, saw his inheritance provincialized. He was brought to Rome by Caesar and entered the household of Caesar’s grand-niece Octavia, where he lived for twenty years, an intimate of the developing Roman imperial family. Eventually he became a Roman citizen.

In the 30s BCE his talents as ...

Article

Cheryl McEwan

British traveler, explorer, and writer, was born in Islington, London, on 13 October 1862. Her father was George Kingsley, a doctor and travel writer. Her mother was Mary Bailey. Kingsley was largely self-educated at home while caring for her invalid mother. Following the deaths of both parents in 1892, she embarked on her first journey to West Africa in August 1893. She traveled from Luanda to the Congo River estuary, through the French Congo to Fernando Po and to Calabar in the Oil Rivers Protectorate, returning to Britain early in 1894. Her second journey (December 1894–September 1895) took her from Sierra Leone to the Gold Coast and Calabar. From there she sailed to the mouth of the Ogowé River in the French Congo, exploring its lower reaches in July 1895 before traveling overland from Lambaréné to the Rembwé River which she followed to the coast ...

Article

Willie Henderson

Scottish medical doctor, missionary, author, antislavery campaigner, British consul, and explorer of southern and central Africa, was born in a one-room tenement home in the modest Scottish town of Blantyre on 9 March 1813. He was the second son of Neil Livingstone, a self-employed tea dealer, and Agnes (née Hunter) Livingstone. Taught to read by his family, the young Livingstone embarked on self-education through the judicious reading of cultural and scientific works. He came slowly to Christianity and saw no conflict between faith and scientific understanding. Livingstone’s Christianity had a strong practical bent. His faith led him to, in his words, devote his “life to the alleviation of human misery” and led him to obtain a “medical education” in the hope of working in China (Missionary Travels p 5 At nineteen he enrolled to study medicine at Anderson s College in Glasgow now the University of ...

Article

Jason Philip Miller

astronaut and military pilot, was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, one of two children of Deems and Grace Melvin, both middle-school teachers. He attended the local Heritage High School, where he was a strong student and an outstanding athlete. Melvin set his sights on a career in the National Football League, and when he graduated from high school in 1982, he matriculated at the University of Richmond on a football scholarship.

As a wide receiver for the Richmond Spiders, Melvin set a number of school records, including one for number of receptions, some of which continue to stand as of this writing. In his senior year, he was named National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I All-American. He graduated from Richmond in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. He entered the National Football League draft and was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1986 but a hamstring injury in ...

Article

Charles Withers

Scottish physician, botanist, and explorer, was the first European to return safely having observed the west–east course of the River Niger. His significance stems from this geographical accomplishment, from the much reprinted book of his first expedition, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa, first published in 1799, and from his “heroic” failure and death in 1806, in circumstances that are still unclear, on a further Niger expedition. His second posthumously published work, published in 1815, and drawn from Park’s surviving papers and reports, began the process of Park’s biographical commemoration.

Park was born near Selkirk in Scotland on or about 11 September 1771, the seventh of thirteen children. Park was educated at home, at Selkirk Grammar School, and, from 1789, in the University of Edinburgh, where he studied medicine. In November of 1792 Park was introduced to Sir Joseph Banks by his brother ...

Article

Keay Davidson

physician, was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, the son of John C. Peck and Sally or Sarah (maiden name unknown), free blacks who lived in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. John Peck, who worked as a preacher, wig maker, and barber, campaigned against slavery and worked with the Underground Railroad. Peck's mother was a member of the Carlisle Methodist Church. He had at least one sibling, Mary, born in 1837. That same year the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From 1841 to 1844 Peck attended the Collegiate Institute at Oberlin, Ohio.

During the 1840s medicine was a virtually all-white profession. The first African American to receive a formal medical degree, James McCune Smith, had obtained his MD in 1837 from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Peck was the first African American to receive a medical degree at a recognized American medical school.

In 1843 Rush Medical College in ...

Article

Up until the past century, Africa’s population has grown slowly by world standards. Twentieth-century improvements in hygiene and medical care, however, dramatically reduced mortality rates and contributed to a period of extremely rapid growth between the 1950s and the 1980s. According to a 2002 United Nations estimate, the average woman in Africa has 4.9 children during her lifetime. (In contrast, women in Europe have only 1.4 children on average.) But fertility rates have begun to decline in several African countries, due to a combination of urbanization, education, and increased contraceptive use. If current trends continue, the population in Africa may stabilize shortly after 2050 at just over two billion people.

Article

Jason Philip Miller

astronaut and medical doctor, was born Robert Lee Satcher Jr. in Hampton, Virginia, the eldest of four children of Marian and Robert Satcher. Satcher's father was a chemistry professor at Hampton University, and it was that science background—along with a professed love of the popular science-fiction films of the 1970s (George Lucas'sStar Wars chief among them)—that bequeathed to the young Satcher both an interest in science and a fascination with outer space.

Satcher attended local schools in Hampton, including Spratley Middle School and Denmark-Olar High School, from which he graduated in 1982. He matriculated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and from that institution earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1986. He stayed on at MIT and in 1993 earned a PhD in chemical engineering. A year later, 1994 he was attending Harvard Medical School from which he graduated with a degree in ...

Article

Jason Philip Miller

astronaut, was born Winston Elliott Scott in Miami, Florida, to Rubye Scott (maiden name unknown) and Alston Scott. Information about his parents is difficult to come by. What is known is that Scott attended local schools and was a gifted student, showing a particular interest in music. He graduated from Coral Gables High School in 1968 and matriculated at Florida State University, from which he earned a bachelor's degree in music in 1972. After graduation Scott's career plans changed, however, and he applied for and was accepted into the Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School with the goal of becoming a pilot.

Two years later, in 1974 Scott earned his helicopter wings and went on to serve with the Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light 33 unit in northern California Four years later he enrolled in the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey California and earned a master s degree in aeronautical ...

Article

Strabo  

Daniela Dueck

Hellenistic geographer and historian, of Amasia, Pontus, was born and raised in Amasia in northern Asia Minor and educated by renowned Hellenistic Asian teachers. His ancestors on his mother’s side were companions of the kings of Pontus but supported the Romans during the Mithridatic War. In his adult life Strabo visited and lived in Rome, Alexandria, Nysa, and possibly Smyrna and Athens. In Rome (in 44 and 29 BCE) he met and socialized with Roman notables and Greek intellectuals. In 25 BCE he traveled to Egypt with Aelius Gallus the Roman governor. He probably got as far as many other regions in the world, more than he expressly reveals. After writing earlier historiographical work(s), Strabo composed his Geography sometime between 18 and 23 CE and died in Rome or, less likely, in Asia Minor.

His works included (1) History a survey of events at least from the time of ...

Article

Jason Philip Miller

astronaut and scientist, was born Stephanie Diana Wilson in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Eugene Wilson, an electrical engineer, and Barbara Wilson, who worked in aerospace. The family relocated to the small town of Pittsfield, in western Massachusetts, when Stephanie was a child, and it was there that she was raised and attended local schools. She was a good student, with interests in music, sports, and science. When she was thirteen, she interviewed an astronomy professor as part of a “career awareness” class and project. She was inspired and later would recount that moment as the one that helped to plot her future course.

Wilson graduated from Taconic High School in 1984 and matriculated late that year at Harvard College, from which she earned a bachelor's in engineering science four years later. She went on to the University of Texas and received a master's in aerospace engineering in 1992 ...