USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

Role Models in Science & Engineering Achievement: William A. Hinton – Physician and Bacteriologist

–Known for developing the first highly accurate standardized test for the sexually transmitted infection, syphilis

–First black professor appointed at Harvard Medical School

Academically talented, William Hinton from the start wanted to be recognized for his achievements instead of his race. As a high school senior in 1909, he was offered a scholarship reserved for African American students, but instead of accepting it, he chose to compete for a scholarship that was open to all students. William ended up winning that scholarship two years in a row. He would go on to Harvard Medical School where he completed its medical program in three years instead of the usual four, graduating with honors.  Born the son of former slaves in 1883 in Chicago, William would become famous for his research in bacteriology and immunology, which led, among other achievements, to him developing the first highly accurate standardized test for the sexually transmitted disease, syphilis. (This disease, which, at the time the test was developed in1927, was seriously on the rise in the U.S., especially among poor rural populations in the South.) In 1949, he also became the first black professor to be appointed at Harvard Medical School.

To read the full biography of William A. Hinton and other role models in science and engineering click here.

    Current ye@r *