We may have Valentine's Day on the brain, but February also marks an important time of the year — Black History Month. In honor of Black History Month, let's take a look at some of our favorite geeks, both past and present. Everyone on this list has made vast contributions to furthering tech as we know it.
- Dwayne McDuffie — The recently passed McDuffie wrote comic books for both Marvel and DC (including Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, the Fantastic Four and the Justice League of America) before founding his own company, Milestone Media, which helped pioneer the use of multicultural characters as its heroes.
- Mark Dean — Nerd alert! Without Dean, there may not have been a PC — he holds three of IBM's original nine PC patents, leading the teams that developed the ISA bus and the first one-gigahertz chip.
- Mae Carol Jemison — It doesn't get much geekier than space travel; Jemison was the first black woman to travel in space.
- Philip Emeagwali — We can all blame Emeagwali for our Internet addiction. He developed the fastest supercomputer software in the world. His IQ is too high to be measured by conventional standards, and he's won a Gordon Bell Prize, which is like the Nobel Prize for computer science.
- Aprille Ericsson-Jackson — A graduate of MIT and Howard University, Ericsson is the first black female to receive a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University and the first black woman to receive a PhD in Engineering at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Besides her numerous accolades, she's a big time crusader of encouraging young women to get involved in the math and sciences.
- Benjamin Banneker — It's easy to see why Wired calls Benjamin Banneker the "first African-American geek." Born in 1731, Banneker was a passionate astronomer and mathematician who is also said to have built America's first working clock. Other talents included urban planning — he helped design the nation's capital! — and farming.
- MC Hammer — Forget parachute pants, Hammer 2.0 is all about getting techy. Besides investing in numerous tech businesses, Hammer lectures at places like Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford, about emerging social media. He should know; he has over two million Twitter followers and tweets about 30 to 40 times a day.
See the rest of the notables when you read more.