Black History Month

February is Black History Month. At work this month, we’ve been getting daily emails about great black inventors:

Those Who Dared

Friday, February 11

Lonnie Johnson – Mechanical and Nuclear Engineer

Company Profile:

“We at Johnson Research & Development Company, Inc. (Johnson Research)
specialize in the proprietary development of high technology environmental
and energy related products in the areas of:

Heat Transfer
Fluid Dynamics
Thermal Hydraulics
Energy and Power Generation
Mechanics of Materials
Fatigue Analysis
Digital Circuit Design
Control Systems.”

From Johnson Research and Development website.

Lonnie Johnson tinkered with appliances when he was just a kid. At 18, as
a senior in high school, he won first place in a national competition. All
the tinkering he did when he was younger allowed him to build a
remote-controlled robot he named “Linex.”

After high school, Lonnie went on to Tuskeegee University in Alabama on a
mathematics scholarship. While there, he earned a Bachelor of Science in
Mechanical Engineering in 1972. Two years later, he earned a Master of
Science in Nuclear Engineering. After finishing his M.S., Lonnie became a
captain in the US Air Force, serving as an Advanced Space Systems
Requirements Officer at Strategic Air Command in Omaha, Nebraska. From
there, he moved on to work with NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
California. While with NASA, Lonnie worked on the Galileo Jupiter probe
and the Mars Observer project. The Johnson Tube, a CFC-free refrigeration
system, was invented while he worked with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
his seventh patent.

Happiest when he was tinkering, Lonnie continued creating things on his
own time. One of his over 40 patents included the Super Soaker ®, patented
in 1991.

Lonnie started his company in 1985, now named Johnson Research and
Development. The company provides services to government and private
industries, and even improving the Super Soaker ®.

Visit here for more stories about contemporary Black scientists and

Johnson Research and Development

Lemelson-MIT Program Inventor of the Week

Tuskeegee University

Researched and written by Lisa-Marie Jones

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