Otis Boykin

Born in 1920 in Dallas, Texas, Otis Boykin attended Fisk University and Illinois Institute of Technology, where he started his career as a laboratory assistant testing automatic controls for aircraft. He then directed his efforts toward inventing, ultimately developing more than 25 electronic devices.

One of his early inventions was an improved electrical resistor for computers, radios, televisions and an assortment of other electronic devices. Other notable inventions include a variable resistor used in guided missiles and small component thick-film resistors for computers. These innovations in resistor design contributed to significant cost reductions in electronic components for both military and commercial applications.

Thirty seven derivative products from these inventions have been manufactured in Paris and distributed throughout Western Europe. From 1964, Boykin worked as a consultant to several American and European firms.

Boykin's most outstanding invention was the control unit for the pacemaker—the device uses electrical impulses to maintain a steady heartbeat. In an ironic twist of fate, Otis Boykin died of heart failure in 1982.
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Black Contributors to Science and Energy Technology, U.S. Department of Energy. Office of Public Affairs, 1979. Document DOE/OPA-0035(79).

Blacks in Science: Ancient and Modern (Journal of African Civilizations; Vol. 5, No. 1-2), Ivan Van Sertima (ed.). Transaction Publishers, 1990.
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Blacks in Science and Medicine, Vivian Ovelton Sammons. Taylor & Francis, 1989.
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In Black and White: A Guide to Magazine Articles, Newspaper Articles, and Books Concerning More Than 6,700 Black Individuals and Groups. Mary Mace Spradling (Editor). Gale Group, 1985.
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The Negro Almanac: A Reference Work on the Afro American, Harry A. Ploski (Editor), Bellwether Publishing Co, 1989.
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Notable Black American Scientists, Kristine M. Krapp (Editor). Gale Group, 1998.
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Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists, Emily J. McMurray, Jane Kelly Kosek, Roger M. Valade. Gale Group, 1996.
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Outward Dreams: Black Inventors and Their Inventions, Jim Haskins. Walker & Co., 1991.
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World of Invention, 2nd edition, Kimberley A. McGrath, Bridget E. Travers (eds.) Gale Group, 1998.
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