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Dr. George Carruthers overcame a devastating personal loss, moving away from home and struggling in high school to becoming one of the world’s most respected minds in astronomy and astrophysics. A scientist and inventor, Carruthers’ research has helped unveil some of space’s greatest mysteries.

Carruthers was born October 1, 1939 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The eldest of four children, he was led to science by his U.S. Army Air Corps civil engineer father, also named George. The family relocated to the South Side of Chicago after the sudden death of his father when Carruthers was 12, forcing his mother, Sophia, to take a postal job there.

His father’s death was hard for the family, and Carruthers’ grades suffered throughout high school. Despite his struggles, he won three science fair competitions. After graduation from Englewood High School, he attended the University of Illinois graduating with in aeronautical engineering in 1961. Over the next three years, he obtained a master’s in nuclear engineering, and a doctorate in aeronautical and astronautical engineering.

Carruthers took his talents to Washington, D.C. where began working on far ultraviolet astronomy at the Naval Research Laboratory. By 1969, he’d obtained a patent for what was called the “Image Converter for Detecting Electromagnetic Radiation Especially in Short Wave Lengths.”

Little Known Black History Fact: George Carruthers  was originally published on

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