On January 27, PBS’s science series, NOVA, will rebroadcast FORGOTTEN GENIUS, a documentary exploring the deep history of scientist Percy Julian.

Ahead of Black History Month, the film will also be available to stream free on PBS from Jan. 27 through the month of February. Below are a few astounding facts from the film about Percy Julian and the film.

  1. The African American chemist pioneered many inventions that still impact consumers today. Julian’s research on plant-derived hormones advanced industrial-scale production and led to the development of medicinal drugs such as cortisone, steroids, and birth control pills.
  2. Julian was awarded over 100 chemical patents and was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in chemistry.
  3. Even though he introduced many life-altering patents as an extremely gifted scientist, he still was met with extreme adversity due to the color of his skin. Julian was forced to pursue his doctorate in chemistry overseas at the University of Vienna because Harvard would not allow him to complete his teaching assistantship due to his race, and he later received death threats for living in an exclusive, predominantly-white Chicago neighborhood Oak Park, where eventually his family home was firebombed.
  4. Tony-winning actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson (“Billions,” “Castle”) plays Percy Julian in the film, a role that he still considers one of the most important and meaningful of his long career on stage and screen. Santiago-Hudson is also an accomplished playwright and director, and his latest project is the adapted screenplay for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

FORGOTTEN GENIUS to rebroadcast on PBS NOVA 


WHAT:  The grandson of Alabama slaves, world renowned scientist Percy Julian was met with every possible barrier in a deeply segregated America. He was a man of genius, devotion, and determination. As a Black man he was also an outsider, fighting to make a place for himself in a profession and country divided by bigotry—a man who would eventually find freedom in the laboratory. By the time of his death, Julian had risen to the highest levels of scientific and personal achievement, overcoming countless obstacles to become a world-class scientist, a self-made millionaire, and a civil-rights pioneer.

WHERE:   Available for streaming online January 27-February 28, 2021 at PBS.orgvia NOVA’s YouTube channel, and on the  PBS video app.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 27 – 9 pm EST (check local listings)

About NOVA


NOVA is the most popular primetime science series on American television, demystifying the scientific and technological concepts that shape and define our lives, our planet, and our universe. The PBS series is also one of the most widely distributed science programs around the world, and is a multimedia, multiplatform brand reaching more than 55 million Americans every year on TV and online. NOVA’s important and inspiring stories of human ingenuity, exploration, and the quest for knowledge are regularly recognized with the industry’s most prestigious awards. As part of its mission to make the scientific enterprise accessible to all, NOVA is committed to diversity and inclusiveness in all its work, from the production process to the range of stories we tell and voices we feature. In addition, science educators across the country rely on NOVA for resources used in the classroom as well as in museums, libraries, and after-school programs. NOVA is a production of WGBH Boston; more information can be found at, or by following NOVA on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

About PBS


PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and nearly 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a new 24/7 channel, online at, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

 About WGBH


WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio, and oversees Public Radio International (PRI). As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students. WGBH also is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors. More info at