“If you’ve ever used birth-control pills, or had asthma, arthritis, hemorrhoids, eczema, allergies, chronic lung illness, cancer or weak little baby muscles, you can thank Percy Julian for inventing steroids. It was one of the most crucial advancements in modern medicine — there probably isn’t a single person reading this who hasn’t been treated with a steroid at some point.
Way back in 1940, Julian figured out how to isolate the hormones progesterone, estrogen and testosterone from soybean oil, which was a huge deal. Up until that point, scientists had only taken tiny steps in figuring out what to do with these hormones, since they only had a miniscule amount to work with.
Now Percy Julian was synthesizing $10,000 worth of sex hormones a day, and the effect on the world was profound: Within a few years, one guy figured out how to use cortisone to treat arthritis. A few years later, another guy figured out how to prevent ovulation using progesterone, inventing a little thing most ladies refer to as “the pill.” So, yeah, kind of a big deal. In fact, the arthritis guy got a Nobel Prize for his work.”
(source: cracked.com: 5 Important People Who Were Screwed Out of History Books)