Squire Booker stands behind a podium in his doctoral regalia, addressing the crowd.

Chemical & Engineering News celebrates Black chemists and chemical engineers

Categories: Alumni, MIT News

Chemistry alum Squire J. Booker (PhD '94) is among the Black chemists and chemical engineers highlighted in a special Trailblazers issue of C&EN.

Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS), is celebrating Black chemists and chemical engineers with a special Trailblazers issue highlighting Black chemists who work across the fields of biotechnology, solar energy, pharmaceuticals and more. Guest edited by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) drug delivery pioneer Paula Hammond, Ph.D., this special issue showcases Black scientists, spotlighting their scientific passions and career accomplishments.

“In bringing into focus the unique lives of this set of accomplished Black scientists in chemistry and chemical engineering, it is my hope that we open the door to more frequent and constant recognition of our presence in the field,” Hammond wrote in her introductory remarks. “We have always been present in the sciences — but now more than ever, we must appreciate and acknowledge the presence of Black people and other people of color. We must find ways to continue to raise our voices and celebrate our work. As a nation, we all benefit from the huge talent gained when all are included in the science enterprise.”

Among the chemists and chemical engineers featured in the 2021 Trailblazers issue are Karen Akinsanya, Ph.D., of Schrödinger on AI-driven drug discovery; Oluwatoyin Asojo, Ph.D., of Hampton University on her calling to develop drugs for neglected diseases; Squire J. Booker, Ph.D., of Penn State University on the catalytic moments of his career; Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut on his twin passions for surgery and biomedical engineering; and Kristala L. J. Prather, Ph.D., of MIT on harnessing the synthetic power of microbial systems.

“C&EN is thrilled to dedicate the 2021 Trailblazers issue to Black excellence in chemistry,” says C&EN’s Editor-in-Chief Bibiana Campos-Seijo, Ph.D. “We are proud to celebrate diversity and to have the opportunity to recognize these individuals for their distinguished contributions to their fields and their broader service to society.”

Black writers created all original content in the 2021 Trailblazers issue of C&EN, and all commissioned photos of the Trailblazers were taken by Black photographers. The print issue will release on Feb. 22.

For more of the latest research news, register for our upcoming meeting, ACS Spring 2021. Journalists and public information officers are encouraged to apply for complimentary press registration by emailing newsroom@acs.org.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people. The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a specialist in scientific information solutions (including SciFinder® and STN®), its CAS division powers global research, discovery and innovation. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.