Famous Black Inventors

Dr. Betty Harris

Dr. Betty Harris

Born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, the young Betty Harris was interested in chemistry. At college she obtained a BS degree in chemistry from Southern University and an MS degree in chemistry from Atlanta University.

Harris then started to work as a visiting staff member for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The Los Alamos National Laboratory focuses primarily on field and laboratory studies of geological processes related to environmental issues. After working for some time and gaining more exposure to the field of research, she decided to become a research chemist and earned her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.

As a research chemist at Los Alamos, Betty Harris worked in the areas of hazardous waste treatment and environmental restoration facilities contaminated with energetic materials such as propellants, gun propellants, and explosives. She eventually became a noted expert in the chemistry of explosives. Recently, she has even worked with Girl Scouts to develop a chemistry badge that is similar to the chemistry merit badge for Boy Scouts. Through her research, Harris obtained a patent for her invention of a spot test for identifying explosives in a field environment. She has received the state's Governor's Trailblazer Award for her achievements.

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