An Incomplete List of Scientists with Disabilities and their Contributions

Sir Humphrey Davy- a chemist with a visual impairment and a chronic health impairment who discovered Sodium, Potassium, Chlorine, Boron, Magnesium, Calcium, Strontium, and Barium

Stephen Hawking- a physicist with ALS who has made many important discoveries in physics

Robert Wilhelm Bunsen- a chemist with a visual impairment that discovered Ruthenium and Cesium

Ralph Braun- an engineer with muscular dystrophy who made the first battery powered wheelchair lift.

Geerat Vermeij- a paleontologist who is blind and has brought much insight about evolution that might have gone unnoticed otherwise

John Forbes Nash- a mathematician with schizophrenia who contributed greatly to mathematics and business education through his theory of Nash Equilibrium that at a certain point you canít back off a position without losing tings and ending with less than you started with.

Anders Ekeberg- a chemist with a hearing and visual impairment who discovered Tantalum

Temple Grandin- An animal behaviorist with autism who revolutionized how the livestock industry treated animals

Dirk Coster- a chemist with a chronic health impairment who discovered Hafnium

Richard Leaky- a paleontologist who had both legs amputated below the knee after a plane crash yet continued finding near complete skeletons in his native Kenya

Edwin Krebs- a biochemist with a hearing impairment who won a Nobel Prize in 1992 because of his research on hormones, cell life spans, and how organ donation rejection can occur.

Thomas Edison- a scientist who after a bout of Scarlet Fever had a resulting hearing impairment revolutionized electricity and has 1000 other patents

Eugene-Anatole DeMarcay- a chemist with a visual impairment who discovered Europium and Radium

Gustav Kirchhoff- a physicist with a mobility impairment whose work with electrical rules are still relevant today

Albert Einstein- a famous physicist with a learning disability and is considered by many to be one of the smartest people ever.

William H. Wollaston- a chemist with a visual impairment who discovered Rhodium and Palladium

Karl Auer von Welsbach- a chemist with a hearing impairment who discovered Praseodymium, Neodymium, and Lutetium

Ferdinand Reich- a chemist with a vision impairment who discovered Indium

Joseph Priestly- a chemist with a visual impairment who discovered Oxygen and whom the prestigious Priestly medal is named for

Pierre Janssen- a chemist with a physical disability who discovered Helium

Dr. Tim Cranmer- blind by the age of nine, Dr. Cranmer has been called the Edison of the Blind. His inventions include but are not limited to the Cranmer Abacus, Say When, Talking telephone Directory, Cranmer Modified Perkins Brailler, the Pocket Braille and a board that allowed access to PCs.

Dr. Emerson Foulke- Blind by the age of two, He became a psychologist and researched the processes by which people who are blind learn from braille and tactile graphics.


Ralph Teetor- Blind at age five, Ralph Teetor went on to receive a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Ralph Teetor solved problems in dynamic balancing, invented the cruise control, was president of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).



 Sources: several Wikipedia pages and the help of American Chemical Society Chemists with Disabilities members

Future Reflections special issue on STEM:

One Manís Vision: The Life of Automotive Pioneer Ralph R. Teetor.

Marjorie Teetor Meyer,

ISBN: 1-87820-867-5 (available from the NLS)