A STEM Jack of All Trades: Valerie Thomas

A powerhouse in multiple STEM fields, Valerie L. Thomas has worked to earn the titles scientist, mathematician, physicist, and inventor under her belt.  A brilliant student, immediately out of college she moved forwarded in a career at NASA. Her success did not stop there though! Thomas scaled through various positions provide crucial development in each. From inventing computer data systems to creating the Illusion Transmitter, Thomas was a force in STEM. Below is a list of fun facts about Thomas and a link to learn more!


Photography: Valerie L. Thomas by NASA

Valerie L Thomas - Inventor

  • Thomas developed an interest in physics before graduating from high school and while attending Morgan State College, well-known physics chair, Julius Henry Taylor, taught her trigonometry in about 20 minutes.
  • Thomas’ genius did not go unrecognizable at NASA. She developed computer data systems, lead the development of the first satellite (Landsat) to send images from space, and contributed to the research in the Halley’s comet, ozone hole studies, and a supernova.
  • Thomas’ invention, the Illusion Transmitter, creates the appearance of a three images using concave mirrors and rays of light to provide a holographic image. This technology is still used to this day by NASA in satellites!




This post is one of three honoring Black History Month and the Black excellence within STEM. Check out the other two posts linked below!


Inventor of the best kids toy: Lonnie Johnson

Immerse yourself in Black History