1.Margaret Ebunoluwa "Maggie" Aderin-Pocock, MBE is a British space scientist & TV Personality. Aderin-Pocock has worked for the ministry of defence as well as working at Imperial college London with the group developing a high-resolution spectrograph for the Gemini telescope in Chile.
Aderin-Pocock is well known for her passion for science and is extremely committed to inspiring the next generation. In 2009 she was awarded an MBE for her services to science and education.
Aderin-Pocock is currently a co-presenter on the BBC program The Sky at Night.
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock
Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian
2.Benjamin Banneker was born in 1731, Maryland USA. As free black man he was self-educated in astronomy and maths.
He assisted in surveying the territory of the construction of the nation’s capital. He was an active writer of almanacs and exchanged letters with Thomas Jefferson, politely challenging him to do what he could to ensure racial equality.
Benjamin Banneker1731 – 1806
3.Kitaw Ejigu was born in Ethiopia in 1948. Following studies in Ethiopia and Japan he completed his doctorate in space vehicle systems engineering in the US.
He worked for NASA as a system engineer and space scientist, then with Rockwell International and Boeing, working on the Space Shuttle.
Dr. Kitaw Ejigu1948 – 2006
4.Diarra was born in French Sudan, now Mali. He studied maths, physics and mechanics in Paris, completed his Masters in aerospace engineering and doctorate in mechanical engineering in the US. Working for JPL he has been involved with planetary and solar missions such as Magellan, Ulysses and Galileo.
He was Director of Education and Public Outreach for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.
He was Acting Prime Minister of Mali from April to December 2012.
Dr. Cheick Modibo Diarra
5.Born in India, with no formal training Ramanujan went on to make extraordinary contributions to mathematics.
Once his skills were recognised by Indian mathematicians, he became wider known and entered a partnership with English mathematician , G. H. Hardy.
Ramanujan complied nearly 3900 results, nearly all of which have since been proven correct – most notably the Ramanujan prime number and the Ramanujan theta function. The notion of “taxicab numbers” was developed after Hardy commented on his taxi number 1729 being rather dull, however Ramanujan replied that "it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."
Srinivasa Ramanujan1887 – 1920
6.Within two years of joining NASA, Jackson was promoted from research mathematician to the Compressibility Research Division and five years later she was promoted to aerospace engineer. After working at the Theoretical Aerodynamics Branch of the Subsonic-Transonic Aerodynamics Division at Langley, she was later assigned to work directly with the flight test engineers at NASA.
Jackson advised women on the benefits of changing their titles from ‘Mathematician’ to ‘Engineer’ and was one of the first women to do this.
After 34 years at NASA, Jackson reached the highest level of engineer that was possible for her. She then opted to retrain as an Equal Opportunity Specialist. She served as both the Federal Women’s Program Manager in the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, and as the Affirmative Action Program Manager.
Mary Jackson1921 – 2005
BGM photo archives
7.George Robert Carruthers is a physicist and space scientist. He was born in 1939 in Ohio and brought up in Chicago.
He has worked almost entirely for the Naval Research Lab, Washington DC working on far ultraviolet astronomy. He was awarded a patent for an "Image Converter for Detecting Electromagnetic Radiation Especially in Short Wave Lengths.” His cameras have been flown on missions from Apollo 16 to the Space Shuttle.
Dr. George Robert Carruthers
8.Egyptian-born Ahmed Zewail was a founder of “femtochemistry”, the ultrafast spectroscopy of chemical reactions. He won the 1999 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
"I never ever believed that one day I would get a call from Sweden as a boy," he said after receiving the Nobel. "I had passion about science. My mother said I was going to burn the house (with chemistry experiments).”
In 2009 Zewail was appointed US Science Envoy to the middle east.
Dr. Ahmed Zewail1946-2016
9.Jemison trained as an engineer, social scientist, dancer and medical doctor spent 6 years as NASA astronaut. She was the first woman of colour to go into space aboard a joint space shuttle mission with the Japanese space agency.
Jemison is an entrepreneur and has founded two technology companies and the non-profit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence which designs and implements STEM education experiences.
She was the first astronaut to appear on Star Trek.
Dr. Mae Jemison
10.Professor John Remedios is the Head of the Earth Observation Science group at The University of Leicester and the Director of the National Centre for Earth Observation.
He is actively involved in satellite missions as well as being the chair of the UK Space Agency Earth Observation Advisory Committee, chair of the Defra UK Copernicus Atmosphere Networking Group and a member of the NERC Pool of Chairs.
Professor Remedios is a Co-Director of G-step, promoting Earth Observation data for use by East Midlands, national and international businesses.
Professor Remedios has worked in outreach projects such as Blue Marble and FORMAT-EO.
Professor John Remedios
University of Leicester
11.At West Virginia State College Katherine Johnson took every maths course the college offered and new maths courses were added specifically for Katherine. She graduated summa cum laude in 1937, with degrees in maths and French, aged just 18.
Johnson worked at NASA from 1953 – 1983, during this time she calculated flight trajectories for Mercury and Apollo missions. John Glenn (astronaut) asked for her personally and refused to fly unless Katherine verified the calculations, because he didn’t trust the computers’ calculations as they were new technology.
12.Saiful Islam grew up in north London, and studied Chemistry at University College London. He now leads the Energy Materials research group at the University of Bath and holds a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.
His research involves computer modelling of new sustainable materials for lithium and sodium batteries, and perovskite solar cells.
Saiful Islam is committed to addressing under-representation in science and is a member of the Diversity Committee of the Royal Society.
He is active in outreach and will be presenting the 2016 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.
Professor Saiful Islam
University of Bath
13.Born in Canada and raised in America, Claudia Alexander studied geophysics and space physics at the University of California and space plasma physics at the University of Michigan.
Her research spanned topics in planetary and Earth sciences from plate tectonics to comets and the Solar wind. Dr. Alexander was Principal Investigator for the NASA Galileo mission, which revolutionised our view of Jupiter and its moons.
Her name has been given to a topological feature on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko surveyed by the Rosetta mission on which she was a project manager.
Claudia Alexander was an advocate for diversity in STEM, chairing the Diversity Committee of the American Geophysical Union and as an active member of the Association for Women Geoscientists.
Dr. Claudia Alexander1959-2015
14.Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was born in 1910 in Lahore. He studied in India and in the UK, going on to spend most of his career at the University of Chicago, USA.
Professor Chandrasekhar was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for studies of the physical processes important to the structure and evolution of stars.
This work led to an understanding of the later evolutionary stages of massive stars, including black holes. He established that the mass of a white dwarf could not exceed 1.44 times that of the Sun, now known as the Chandrasekhar Limit.
He received many accolades for his work, including the Gold Medal of the RAS, the Copley Medal of the Royal Society and the US National Medal of Science, and the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory bears his name.
University of Chicago
15.Dr. Yizengaw is a space physicist who currently works as a senior research scientist at Boston College. He is recognised for his work on ionospheric tomography, and is currently leading a project known as AMBER (African Meridian B-field Education and Research). Named after his hometown, AMBER seeks to improve the global understanding of equatorial ionospheric dynamics through the use of ground-based magnetometers. Dr. Yizengaw has received several prestigious rewards for the creativity and quality of his research, and is a founding member of the Ethiopian Geophysical Union International (EGUI).
Dr. Endawoke Yizengaw
Institute for Scientific Research Boston College
16.Vaughan was hired to work at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), now NASA, in 1943 and was assigned to the West Area Computers (WACs). This was a work group composed entirely of African-American female mathematicians.
In 1949, she became the head of the WACs and NASA's first African-American manager. She specialised in electronic computing and FORTRAN programming and contributed to the space program through her work on the Scout Project (Solid Controlled Orbital Utility Test system).
Dorothy Vaughan1910 – 2008
The human computer project
17.Dr Madhusudhan is an Indian astrophysicist and is currently a Lecturer at Cambridge University. He is an expert in theoretical modelling and observations of exoplanet atmospheres. His major results include high precision measurements of water and carbon in exoplanet atmospheres.
In 2014 he was awarded the Vainu Bappu Gold Medal by the Astronomical Society of India for his contribution to astrophysics.
Dr. Nikku Madhusudhan
18.Tyson was born and raised in New York. He completed a BA in Physics at Harvard and earned his PhD in astrophysics in Columbia.
Tyson has twice been appointed by Bush to serve on commissions, looking in to the future of the US Aerospace industry in 2001 and the implementation of US space exploration policy in 2004. In 2006, Tyson was placed on NASA’s advisory council.
Tyson is well known for his communication of science to the public. As well as numerous academic publications, Tyson has published 10 books and been involved in many TV series’ as an executive editor and on camera as host and narrator – most notably for Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey and StarTalk. Tyson is the fifth head of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City.
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson
Photo by David Gamble, 2008.
19.Professor Hiranya Peiris is a prominent Cosmologist studying the Cosmic Microwave Background at University College London. She was born in Sri Lanka, and completed her undergraduate in the UK and her PhD In the USA.
She is a member of the WMAP collaboration as well as the Planck Collaboration and the Dark energy Survey. She also serves as an editor for Physics Letters B and is a Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society. She is a winner of numerous prizes and was selected as one of the RAS “21 female fellows to watch in the 21st century”.
Professor Hiranya Peiris
20.Olivier Godet is an astrophysicist at Université Paul Sabatier/IRAP in Toulouse, with a focus on instrumentation for space missions. He heads the institute’s working group preparing the X-ray integral field unit for the ESA Athena Observatory due for launch in 2028, and is one of the leads for the upcoming SVOM mission to study gamma-ray bursts.
Born in France, Olivier received his PhD at CESR in 2004 and then spent several post-doctoral years in our department here at Leicester as calibration scientist for the NASA Swift mission. He returned to France where he is making key contributions to missions exploring the transient Universe.
Dr. Olivier Godet
21.Prof. Arthur B. C. Walker Jr was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and started his scientific career at the US Air Force. After that, he was professor at Stanford University from 1974-2001, where he mainly worked on the physics of the Sun. His main interest was in X-ray and far-UV observations of the sun from space, and the development of sensitive optics for X-ray telescopes.
His first PhD student, Sally Ride, became the first American woman in space. Walker served on the presidential committee investigating the Challenger space shuttle disaster.Walker was a leader in the community of black physicists.
Professor Arthur Walker1936 – 2001