Forgotten Genius

Library Resource Kit Welcome Letter

Dear Librarian,

Percy Julian was one of the most accomplished scientists of the 20th century. His innovative research helped unlock the secret chemistry of plants and find treatments for the crippling effects of diseases like glaucoma and arthritis. Across the world today, millions of people still benefit from steroid medications based on the work Julian pioneered.

Although significant, these achievements shine even brighter in light of the daunting series of lifelong racial obstacles Julian had to overcome to achieve international stature and become director of a major industrial research laboratory, a successful entrepreneur, and prominent human rights advocate. On February 6, 2007, NOVA's Forgotten Genius uncovers the life and work of this remarkable and tenacious man who achieved success against tremendous odds.

With generous support from the National Science Foundation, we've produced this library resource kit to accompany the program. The kit, which has been reviewed by a national advisory board of public librarians, has been designed for libraries of all sizes and visitors of all ages. Use the display sheets to illuminate the contributions of scientists of color to our lives and times, or to explore the science of chemistry; conduct the activities to help children gain the sense of wonder Julian felt about the "natural laboratories" of plants; and engage visitors with handouts that offer doorways into Percy Julian's life and the science that excited him.

We hope you will use this library kit to create programming that helps your community gain insight into Percy Julian's life and how his science changed our world. We would love to hear how this kit works for you; please send your comments to Your feedback will help ensure that future projects like this one are interesting and useful to all librarians.

Paula S. Apsell

Paula S. Apsell
NOVA Executive Producer

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