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Meet Emmett W. Chappelle: The Distinguished African-American Scientist With 14 U.S. Patents

Emmett W. Chappelle holds 14 U.S. patents and was recognized as one of 100 most distinguished African-American scientists and engineers of the 20th century. Here are other amazing facts we think you should know about Chappelle.

1. Chappelle developed techniques to detect bacteria in urine, blood, spinal fluids, drinking water, and food.

2. He attended the University of California in 1950 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1954. Remarkably, without graduate training, he then worked as an instructor of biochemistry for three years at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.

3. Chappelle enrolled at the University of Washington where he pursued advanced degrees. Chappelle earned a Master’s in Science with a focus on biochemistry in 1954 but never completed a Ph.D.

4. By 1966, Chappelle was employed at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) where he was an exobiologist– the search for extraterrestrial life and the effects of extraterrestrial surroundings on living organisms, and astrochemist –the chemistry of astronomical objects and interstellar space.

5. In 1977, he started research on using remote sensing through laser-induced fluorescence to determine vegetation health.

6. Emmett Chappelle retired in 2001 and is now living with his daughter and son-in-law in Baltimore, Maryland.

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