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Press Release 08-026

NOVA Documentary About Percy Julian Wins AAAS Science Journalism Award

African-American chemist was one of the 20th century's most influential scientists

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Young chemist working in lab

The young Percy Julian in a laboratory. Among Julian's most significant scientific accomplishments is his work with steroids. Using stigmasterol, a plant steroid produced by soybeans, Julian was able to produce the pregnancy hormone progesterone affordably and in bulk, an achievement that helped launch the steroid industry, whose products would eventually include cortisone and the birth control pill.

Credit: From the collection of The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest


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