Black History Month: Even More Scientists to Know
For our final two, we celebrate a chemist and a human rights activist
Marie Maynard Daly: Chemistry pioneer
Dr. Daly (1921-2003) was the first Black woman to earn a doctorate in chemistry in the United States. Her own father, who had immigrated to New York from the British West Indies, had attended Cornell for chemistry but couldn’t afford to finish. Sharing her father’s interest in science, and encouraged by her parents, Dr. Daly attended Queens College, New York University, and finally Columbia for her Ph.D. Her research ranged from cholesterol and sugars to the composition and metabolism of components of the cell nucleus, and her career fluctuated between teaching and pure research. She was also an advocate for minority students in medical and science programs, establishing a scholarship at Queens College in 1988 in honor of her father.
Ali Said Faqi: Toxicologist, ambassador, human rights activist
Dr. Faqi was born in Somalia, but was forced to leave in the 1990s during the country’s civil war. He earned his Ph.D. in toxicology at the University of Leipzig in 1995, with a focus on preclinical drug development and reproductive toxicology. He holds several prominent roles including Senior Director Developmental & Reproductive Toxicology at MPI Research, Adjunct Associate Professor at Wayne State University, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Reproductive Toxicology. He is also Somalia’s ambassador to the EU, a role he was offered in 2013. Beyond his work in toxicology, he has been an outspoken advocate for other Somali diaspora. He was instrumental in bringing home hundreds of stranded Somali migrants from Libya, and in 2018 he was given the African Leadership Award for Outstanding International Humanitarian Service by the Independent Pan African Youth Parliament.