Top Jamaican Scientists

I want to try something more interactive than what I’ve done before. I would like to engage your ideas on the top Jamaican scientists of all time. We’re all aware of the all-time greatest scientists of the world – Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, etc. Let’s narrow this down to Jamaica.

Here are my rules for qualification: the scientist has to have actively contributed to Jamaican science, but may or may not be Jamaican-born. The contribution has to be real and obvious, with lasting value for Jamaica and Jamaicans. What do you think?

Here are some of my thoughts so far:

1. The Hon. Prof Edward Robinson OM – Geology; living icon of Jamaican geology and formation

2. The Hon. Prof Anthony Chen OM – Atmospheric Physics; member of Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

3. Dr Thomas Lecky – Veterinary Sciences; creator of the Jamaica Red, Black and Brahman breeds of cattle.

Jamaica has its share of entertainers (Bob Marley, Miss Lou) and sports figures (Usain Bolt, Courtney Walsh) and politicians (Michael Manley, Norman Manley) who have made significant impacts on the world stage. It’s time to take a look at our indigenous scientists who have made world impacts and contributions.

There are a lot more scientists to mention here; your time! Who do you think are our top chemists, biologists, doctors, etc of all time?

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30 Responses to “Top Jamaican Scientists”

  1. cherry says:

    What about Paul Bogle and Sir alex Bustamante?

  2. George Odell says:

    As a science and math teacher (once at Calabar) I especially applaud the singling out of scientists. When I taught there, several of my students aspired in that direction and had the brains to match. I’m waiting to hear their names mentioned, or any others. Sadly – I can’t think of any right now.

    Meanwhile, in those other categories, let’s not forget Marcus Garvey, who lives on and on in the popular imagination. And why not claim Colin Powell, who is of pure Jamaican ancestry? Have him down to the Heroes Park for some public events honoring scientists! (not just statesmen)

  3. kay says:

    Hellooooo? Professor Gerald “Bunny” Lalor!!! How can you overlook him????

  4. Parris says:

    Who overlooked him? This is an interactive thing – you recommend, I include…

  5. VL says:

    Prof. Errol Morrison for his work and research against diabetes in the Carbbean

  6. Patrick Allison says:

    I want to suggest Dr Lyndon Brown,a Geophysicist, wo is the current Head of thr Earthquake unit at UWI Mona. He is young, vibrant, and very keen to develop our awareness of earthquake.

  7. D G says:

    I am glad that someone has taken the time to feature Jamaican scientists. I see no reason why Jamaica can’t supply the world with some of it’s greatest thinkers for centuries to come. The education system needs to be there though. I am going to be a mathematician so I would like to see at least one on this list, but sadly, I can’t think of any. In Jamaica, we seem more geared towards Mathematical applications.

  8. Patrick White says:

    Why limit your survey to Jamaicans and other nationalities operating in Jamaica? Why not include the diaspora? My concern is under your current ground rules your results will be biassed in favour of scientists conducting field work in Jamaica, leaving out other outstanding contributions that could also motivate our youth. Take the work of Dr. Thomas Gorreau, (Ph.D. MIT) for example, a former classmate from St. Georges who has made important contributions on the influence of global warming on marine life, or even my own work (if I may blow my own horn) developing the Asynchronous Transfer Mode protocol, the most widely used telecommunications protocol in the world after the Internet protocol.

  9. Khani James says:

    I am overly impress that we as Jamaicans are now taking such pride in our own, acknowleging the great ones among us. Regardless of whether or not all the names are mentioned the fact that we are even considering singling out greatness among us is a wonderful thing.

  10. Leroy Latty says:

    You can check into the following trailblazing social scientists:
    M.G. Smith (deceased)
    Barry Chevannes
    Stuart Hall
    Orlando Patterson

  11. Marc Cornwall says:

    Prof. Mercedes T. Richards – Astronomy & Astrophysics (, pioneer in the use of computer tomography (CT) techniques in astrophysics, Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Penn State University (USA), and receiver of the Musgrave Medal. Prof. Richards has in the past been active in the Caribbean Institute of Astronomy (

    While I learned of Prof. Richards later on in the game, I was inspired by the late Mr. Gladstone Walling, who was also an astronomer (passed away last week). He’s one of the founding members of the Astronomical Association of Jamaica ( which is a very active amateur astronomy group for any interested. He was featured in a Gleaner article earlier this decade (2000/2001) – that’s how I learned of him and the AAJ. Here’s a Gleaner article by Mr. Walling:

    There are not many Jamaicans who pursue this route but I have, and have gone some way on my journey – don’t pay attention to any rumours about if you study sciences like math and physics you’ll end up in finance. So there’s my two cents, a well recognised Jamaican astronomer/astrophysicist, Prof. Mercedes T. Richards, and an unsung hero of Jamaican astronomy, Mr. Gladstone C. Walling. Hope this has encourages at least some younger mind to pursue their dreams. They’re never too big.

  12. Marc Cornwall says:

    A correction: the site of the Astronomical Association of Jamaica is:

  13. S Falloon says:

    Manley West is another top scientist. The invention of his (her I can’t remember if West is/was male or female) glaucoma drug from cannabis never reached it’s full potential but his work diserves to be recognized.

    In theory it should have made the treatment of glaucoma more affordable for members of the Caribbean but it hasn’t gone as far as this. May be, in time, it will.

  14. patrick clarke says:

    While we are at it we should start to rename jamaica from the old oppressors that we have come to know, eg starting with parishes, from st anns to lets say, bob marley

  15. Ian says:

    This list cannot be complete without the addition of Dr. Alfred Sangster,
    a renowned scientist in his own right, but also a pathfinder who played an important role in the creation of a whole generation of Jamaican scientists and engineers. His leadership of CAST, now known as UTECH, was critical in this regard.
    I’d also like to mention Dr. Artnel Henry, who as a long-time Executive Director of the Jamaica Bureau of Standards (he now Chairs the Standards council) presided over the rigorous application of scientific principles, which were critical to a mature manufacturing sector on the one hand, and
    the protection of the Jamaican consumer on the other.

  16. Walter Leigh Evans for his development of TIA MARIA. Dr.Evans was a Bacteriologist at the Medical Labs at North Street.

  17. kevin says:

    I think the goverment should put aside at lease one hundred million dallor for research on cassarva for Ethonol their`s nothing we can`t do with these young scientist in the U W I the goverment should really put them to the test and consider this as a future benifitt for the country

  18. John Wolmer says:

    Any such talk would have to include any combination of the following which are ‘off the top of my head’ and the MANY I haven’t remembered promptly..all Wolmerians!

    1) Dr. Dale Abel – Geneticist
    2) Dr. Marco Bennett – Pharmaceutical Designer
    3) Dr. Neil Hanchard – Tropical Medicine
    4) Dr. Nakhiah Goldbourne – Robotics Scientist
    5) Dr. Andre Dick – Surgeon &
    Biomedical Pharmacologist
    6) Dr. Julius Garvey – Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon
    7) Dr. Ted Cottrell – Pioneer/Surgeon
    8) Dr. Cicely Williams – Pioneer/Paediatrician
    9) Dr. Peter Fenton – CDC Dir. – HIV, STD & TB
    10)Dr. Brian Lewis – Pancreas/Liver Geneticist
    11)Dr. Bazil Brown – Paediatric Surgeon.
    12)Dr. Kirk Thame – Paediatric Gastroent.
    13)Dr. Paul Wright – Sports Medicine (JADCO)
    14)Dr. Audia Barnett – SRC Chairperson
    15)Dr. Neil Gardner – Sports Medicine
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  19. Parris says:

    Excellent! Thanks!

  20. Parris says:

    Good point!

  21. Parris says:

    RIP Tony Walling. Thanks Marc.

  22. Vivian Stephenson says:

    It has been quite sometime since an article has engendered such academic recognition. There seems to be a proud and almost patriotic sentiment that underscores the zeal in which these pronouncement and acknowledgement are made. And of course DG is staking his claim as he aspires to be a mathematician and have already recognized a niche of which he will pursue.

  23. Vivian Stephenson says:

    I would love to know that you at least got my submission. I have posted innumerable submissions but I have never seen them posted. Is there some something that I am overlooking?

  24. Parris says:

    Got it – thanks!

  25. Mr Nice Guys says:

    Medical marihauna is actually a really good medicine for quite a lot of folks, it doesn’t matter what a few people say. I know friends & family that have been aided with medical marihauna.

  26. I discovered your blog last week and started follow your posts religiously. I have not commented on any blog just yet but I was thinking I would like to. It’s really exciting to actually contribute to a publication even if it’s only a blog. I really don’t know exactly what to write other than I really enjoyed reading through 6 of the articles. Nice posts indeed. I sure will keep visiting your blog weekly. I learned quite a bit from you. Thank you!

  27. Calculus says:

    There’re a lot of past students of jamaican decent who are residing in the dispora/have gone on to etablished great qualification in science and engineering and no one recognized. They have made big contribution to other country’s development and Jamaica suffers, because there is no program or insentive/networking to come home and contribute. I for one has Doctorate in MechanicalEngineering from an ivy league school, etc…

  28. michanae says:

    still needed to know what they contributed to jamaica

  29. John Wolmer says:

    ‘Calculus’ Pl go to our web site and send us a message on how we can link you.

    The page is best viewed in Firefox, Chrome or Safari

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30 comments so far
parris Posted by: parris June 29, 2010 at 7:42 pm