Photo Courtesy : Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, Illinois

Photo Courtesy : Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, Illinois

George R. Carruthers

Most of the times the desperation and call for science comes from childhood. When children in a summer camp looked at the night sky of Milky Way Galaxy, the tiny but shining stars, the enormous picture of the sky, they found their luck of being part of the universe. That is when they said I would like to explore it. Said by author and theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku, after interviewing about 300 scientists who invented the future in their laboratory, the age 10 is commonly called the goldilock zone to develop an interests in science.

          Our story falls in George R. Carruthers, a African-American NASA inventor who led the team of inventing the far ultraviolet camera/spectrograph, as part of the mission of Apollo 16 in 1972. He grew up with interests in Physics, Science and Astronomy and became an telescope inventor at the age of 10. Although the telescope was not ideally matured, by taking cardboards and cheap lenses in use, you can’t require more for a child at that age.

          He got his B.S. degree in Astronautic Engineering and M.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering and ph.D. in Astronautical and Astronomical Engineering in 1964. His great honor, which got him an award of National Medal of Technology and Innovation, is from the invention of  the far ultraviolet camera/spectrograph, which would be able to absorb UV emissions on the moon. It was hard for scientists on earth to absorb UV because the earth atmosphere took away most of the UV emissions, but by doing that on the moon, there are a lot of data to be collected. Basically, they built a 50-pound, gold-plated camera that could catch the radiation from the upper half of the spectrum. The Apollo brought the camera to the moon and succeeded of collecting about 200 UV figures.

  His other honors include Arthur S. Flemming Award, in 1970, Exceptional Achievement Scientific Award Medal in 1972, and Black Engineer of the Year Award 1987.

Watch this brief video where he is talking about his work.