John Edward Hodge (1914-1996) was an African-American chemist, born in Kansas City, Kansas.

He gained an A.B. degree in 1936 and a master’s degree from the University of Kansas in 1940; from 1941 to 1980 he worked at the USDA Northern Regional Research Center in Peoria, Illinois. He also taught at Western University (Kansas), in 1972 held a visiting professorship at the University of Campinas in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and in 1984–1985 was an adjunct professor at Bradley University.

An article of his: Hodge, J. E. (1953). “Chemistry of browning reactions in model systems.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 1(15): 928-943 was named a “Citation Classic” by the Science Citation Index in 1979. In it he studied the chemistry of non-enzymatic browning reactions in dehydrated foods, such as the Maillard reaction. The article included a reaction scheme which is known as the “Hodge Scheme” and is considered to be the Maillard reaction pathway over 50 years later.

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Photo: Project Black Man