Do you know who Percy L. Julian was?

If you don't, you are probably not alone. If you are a chemist, or a chemical engineer, especially a biochemist, you may very well. He invented cortisone. Percy Julian was also a black American. I suspect that's why lots of people don't know who he was. Thankfully, the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) gives an award in his name annually. This is the 29th year of the award, and this year, there's another first. Sharon Haynie, PhD, of DuPont, is the first woman to receive the award. Congratulations to Dr. Haynie, and to NOBCChE for keeping the memory of Dr. Julian alive. From the press release: DUPONT'S HAYNIE, FIRST WOMAN TO RECEIVE PERCY L. JULIAN AWARD PA  Governor Rendell to Attend    Washington, DC - March 13, 2008 - The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), announces Sharon Haynie, Ph.D., is the first women and the 29th recipient of the Percy L. Julian Award.  Haynie will be presented with the award at a luncheon ceremony on March 18, 2008, during NOBCChE's 35th annual conference in Philadelphia.  Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell is planning to attend.    The Percy L. Julian Award is the most prestigious award presented annually by NOBCChE for significant contributions in pure and/or applied research in science or engineering.  Haynie works in biochemical sciences and engineering at E.I. DuPont de Nemours, Inc., Wilmington, DE.     "NOBCChE is proud to honor Sharon and her research in biomedical as well as green chemistry.  We look forward to more contributions from Sharon in the future," says Chris Hollinsed, Ph.D., Chair, NOBCChE Awards Committee.    Haynie joined the research community of the DuPont Company 24 years ago.  For most of her tenure, she has been in the central research & development department.  Her research activities have ranged from new materials for medical therapeutic use to biocatalysis for green chemistry applications.  She was a member of a large DuPont/Genencor team that received the 2003 EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Award for New Innovation.  Haynie has also served brief tenures as adjunct professor of chemistry at Delaware State University and the University of Delaware.     Percy L. Julian, Ph.D. for whom the award is named, was an African-American who obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from Depaw University in 1920. After facing various discriminatory practices in the United States educational system in the 20's, he went on to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna in 1931. Upon returning to the U.S., he worked in academia, industry and founded his own research laboratory. Though he had over 100 patents and 200 scientific publications, his most notable contribution was in the synthesis of steroids from soy products; which led to the discovery of cortisone.    This year's conference, "NOBCChE: 35 Years of Catalyzing Scientific Opportunities," takes place March 16 - 21 to foster connections between minority scientists in academia, government, and industry.  Addressing the needs of African-American chemists and chemical engineers, the conference offers technical sessions, exhibitions, professional development workshops, and networking opportunities.    Founded in 1972, the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE - pronounced No-be-shay)( is a professional society of minority scientists and engineers.  It is committed to the discovery, transmittal, and application of knowledge in science and engineering through educational partnerships with school districts, municipalities, businesses, industries, other institutions and organizations in the public and private sectors.