The Corpus Callosum

Live Blogging Superbowl pt. 7

Part eight.  Speaking of odds, do you remember who href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/julian/">Percy Julian
was? 

His work with steroids and alkaloids helped bring about a
host of
affordable and effective treatments for diseases like rheumatoid
arthritis and
glaucoma, benefiting millions worldwide.

According to one of the ScienceBlogs sponsors, PBS, he “against all
odds…became one of the greatest scientists of the 20th
Century.”  He
was an African-American, born in Alabama, attended Harvard, but was not
able to finish due to financial problems, possibly because of the lack
of opportunity:

But the idea of blacks teaching whites was as anathema at
Harvard as anywhere else in the 1920s. Because of this bias, Anderson
says,
Julian never got such a [teching assistant] position, and his tuition
money ran out.

In the end, it would take 10 years of Julian’s life and even
leaving the
country to secure his Ph.D. But he finally succeeded, earning his
doctorate in
chemistry from the University of Vienna in 1931.

He worked on “nature’s
pharmacy
,”  such as the cinchona tree

For centuries, Native Peruvians used dried bark from the
South American
cinchona tree for various medicinal purposes, including as a muscle
relaxant
and fever reducer. In the 1600s, Europeans began treating malaria
patients with
the bark. Finally, in 1820, French chemists Pierre Joseph Pelletier and
Joseph
Caventou extracted quinine from the bark, which became the
first pure
chemical isolated from a plant and utilized against a specific disease.

One good thing about football is that it is finally becoming an
equal-opportunity employer.  The problem with that is hardly
anyone is able to make a living doing it, regardless of skin
color.  Plent of kids are exploited in college, hoping to make it
to the big time.  But the odds are against them.

That half-time music sure is awful, isn’t it?  Nothing aginst
Prince.  Probably isn’t going to sound good on a single 3-inch
speaker, no matter how well he plays. 

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