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Emmett Chappelle was a scientist and inventor who brought forth a wealth of innovation to the masses by way of his extensive research. The Phoenix, Ariz. native was born October 24, 1925.

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Chappelle served in the Army during World War II before earning his bachelor’s degree in Biology from UCLA-Berkeley. While working as a Biochemistry instructor at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., the University of Washington in Seattle offered him an opportunity and he went on to earn a Master’s in Biology. He returned to California and worked as a research associate and scientist for the Research Institute of Advanced Studies at Stanford University in Palo Alto.

In 1966, Chappelle started a job with NASA in support of the space program’s manned space flight operations. As an exobiologist, Chappelle initially studied organisms before becoming a remote sensing scientist.  Chappelle worked for NASA and then the Goddard Space Center until 2001.  Along the way, he established 14 patents that have retained their usefulness in modern science.

Along with his inventions, one of Chappelle’s key discoveries was a new ability to detect bacteria in a varying range of fluids, and he was also a pioneer of bioluminescence, which studies light emitted by living organisms. Chappelle’s findings in this realm have been widely applied.

In 2007, six years after his retirement, Chappelle was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Chappelle passed on October 14 of this year. He was 93.

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