Mini Biographies


Mae Jemison
Meet the inspirational polymath Mae Jemison (born 17 October 1956, Alabama, USA): doctor, chemical engineer, professional dancer, Peace Corps volunteer, teacher, and renowned NASA astronaut. She also happens to be the first African American woman to travel in space.

When Jemison was chosen on 4 June 1987, she became the first African American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program. After more than a year of training, she became the first African American female astronaut, earning the title of science mission specialist; a job that would make her responsible for conducting crew-related scientific experiments on the space shuttle.

Jemison finally flew into space on 12 September 1992, with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47. During her eight-day trip in space, she conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness on the crew and herself. In all, she spent more than 190 hours in space before returning to Earth on 20 September 1992. Following her historic flight, Jemison noted that society should recognize how much both women and members of other minority groups can contribute if given the opportunity.

Jemison left NASA in March 1993; she went on to teach at Dartmouth College. She also founded her own company, the Jemison Group, seeking to encourage a love of science in students and bring advanced technology around the world. She is a strong advocate for science, establishing an international science camp for high school students and working on the 100-Year Starship program.

Jane Goodall

Meet Jane Goodall (born 3 April 1934, London, England): primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace, who also happens to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. The Gombe chimp observation, which Jane began in July 1960, is the world’s longest running continuous wildlife research project.

Jane set out to Tanzania to study wild chimpanzees by being amongst them, bypassing more rigid procedures, and uncovering primate behavior that have continued to shape scientific discourse. She is a highly respected member of the world scientific community and is a staunch advocate of ecological preservation.

One of her first discoveries was that chimpanzees are omnivorous, not vegetarian as had been supposed; on several occasions, she observed the chimps hunting and eating small mammals. She was also the first to discover that chimps can make and use tools, when she observed them using plant stems to fish for termites, supposedly a unique trait of human premeditation.

Jane earned a PhD in Ethology from Cambridge University, and is one of only eight people ever to have a doctoral dissertation accepted by Cambridge without first having an undergraduate degree. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots program, and she has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues. Moreover, she has served on the board of the Nonhuman Rights Project since its founding in 1996.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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