Headlines > News > NASA Scientist Inducted Into National Inventors Hall of Fame

NASA Scientist Inducted Into National Inventors Hall of Fame

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Tue Mar 6, 2007 9:53 pm
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GREENBELT, Md. – Emmett Chappelle, retired research scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., has been named one of 16 inductees for 2007 into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The honorees will be inducted during ceremonies May 4-5, in Akron, Ohio.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame was founded in 1973. The recognition honors innovators who have changed society and improved the way we live.

Chappelle was chosen for his work with Lyophilized Reaction Mixtures. His work revealed that a specific combination of chemicals causes all living organisms to emit light. Through his discovery, Chappelle facilitated important findings within the fields of biology and chemistry. His research efforts led to the development of remote sensing of vegetation health through laser-induced fluorescence. He also developed techniques used to detect bacteria in urine, blood, spinal fluids, drinking water and foods.

“I really enjoyed my time at Goddard,” Chappelle stated just after the official inductees list was announced. “The people made it a great place for me to do my research, and I really appreciate that NASA allowed me to conduct such important research there.” When asked what he misses the most about working at Goddard he simply responded, “The people.”

Chappelle first began work for NASA in 1963 while a senior biochemist at the Hazelton Laboratories, Falls Church, Va. In 1966, he began working at the Goddard Space Flight Center as an exobiologist and, later, as an astrochemist. Chappelle retired from Goddard in January 2001.

Born in Phoenix, Chappelle received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of California at Berkley in 1950. Until 1952, he was an instructor in biochemistry at Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn. Chappelle then earned a master’s degree in biochemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle, graduating in 1954.

From 1956 to 1958, he was a research associate for the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. Chappelle then worked as a staff scientist for the Marrietta Corporation, Baltimore, Md., until 1963.

During his 34-year Goddard career, Chappelle’s innovative research led to 14 United States patents and many awards for his work, including the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award. Chappelle produced more than 35 peer-reviewed scientific or technical publications, nearly 50 conference papers, and co-authored or edited numerous publications. He also has been recognized as one of the top one hundred African Americans scientists and engineers of the 20th century, as documented in the Museum of Black Innovations and Inventions.

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