His house was firebombed. He lost his job on the eve of the Depression. He took on powerful, entrenched interests in the scientific establishment and overcame countless obstacles to become a world-class chemist, a self-made millionaire, and a humanitarian. Yet despite his achievements, Percy Julian’s story is largely unknown.
The grandson of Alabama slaves, Julian broke the color barrier in American science more than a decade before Jackie Robinson did in baseball. A brilliant innovator, he discovered a way to turn soybeans into synthetic steroids on an industrial scale, helping to make drugs like cortisone available to millions.
In Forgotten Genius, a special two-hour presentation starring Tony-award winning actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson, NOVA brings Julian’s scientific breakthroughs and gripping biography to life, with vivid period reenactments based on newly opened family archives and interviews with dozens of colleagues and relatives.
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