Hispanic-Latino Americans are very good at science and technology. We have been benefiting from the many contributions of Hispanic-Latino medical scientists working in labs to help us fight life-threatening diseases. Many scientific inventions, theories, and laws that built the foundations for future scientific studies are credited to Hispanic-Latinos scientists, while engineers from this community are developing new technology to help us grasp our clean energy future.
Here are some of the well-known Hispanic-Latino Americans who have added value to our lives through their achievements in the field of science and technology.
Severo Ochoa de Albornoz was a Hispanic-American physician and biochemist, who, jointly with Arthur Kornberg, won the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He was born in Spain and graduated from the University of Madrid Medical School. He became a US citizen in 1956, while in 1959, he and Kornberg were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine “for their discovery of the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid”.
Mario José Molina-Pasquel Henríquez (1943 – 2020) was a Mexican chemist, who was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole and threats to the ozone layer CFC gases. He was the first Mexican-born scientist to receive a Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the third Mexican-born person to receive the Nobel award. Besides, he was one of 22 Nobel Laureates who signed the third Humanist Manifesto, published in 2003 by the American Humanist Association (AHA). Molina also received the Lifetime Achievement Award (Champions of the Earth) in 2014. He is the recipient of more than 30 honorary degrees awarded to him by the world’s top universities.
Bernardo Alberto Houssay (1887 – 1971) was an Argentine physiologist and the first Argentine Nobel laureate in the sciences. He received the 1947 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for discovering the role played by pituitary hormones in regulating the amount of glucose in animals.
Dr. Ildaura Murillo-Rohde
Ildaura Murillo-Rohde, the founder of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, was a specialized psychiatric nurse and provided academic appointments in different institutes. She was a woman with multiple talents, including nursing, academics, professor, tennis instructor, and organizational administrator. She became the first Hispanic Dean of Nursing at New York University. She was also regarded as a “Living Legend” in 1994 by the American Academy of Nursing.
Dr. Serena Aunon-Chancellor
Serena Aunon-Chancellor, is an engineer, NASA astronaut, and first Hispanic physician who traveled to Space in 2018 to work on research aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Her research is specifically in the fields related to medical implications of space radiation exposure, including modeling of computers of the radiation environment of a crewing orbiting spacecraft. She is also providing her services for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in Louisiana.
Aunon-Chancellor has also received various awards and honors for her services, including Thomas N. and Gleaves Award by a Third-Year resident in Internal medicine, Willian K. Doulas Award, Outstanding UTMB Resident Award, and the United States Air Force Flight Surgeons Julian Ward Award.
Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz
Franklin Chang-Diaz was the first Hispanic astronaut, mechanical engineer, physicist, and Ex-NASA astronaut who completed seven space missions for NASA. He is also a space entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company. He also provides his assistance for university-level astronomy physics. He was also awarded many honors and is also a member of the “Astronaut Hall of Fame” of NASA.
Dr. Jennifer Holmgren
Jennifer Holmgren, with 20 years of experience in the energy sector has worked on the expansion and commercialization of fuels and chemicals technologies. She is also the CEO of the revolutionary carbon recycling company, LanzaTech. She leads the latest technological development to recycle waste carbon emissions. She also holds the position of Vice Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Governing Board.
Jane Delgado is a clinical psychologist and healthcare advocate who has been struggling to provide healthcare facilities to the Hispanic and Latin communities in the US. She is the first Hispanic woman who became president and chief executive of the Coalition of Spanish Speaking Mental Health Organizations, which later transformed into the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. She was honored with the “Award for Education” in 2005 by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation for her services in health care. Hispanic Business named her one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the US in 1998 and 2002. Moreover, she wrote various books in the healthcare and wellness category.
National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month (Sep. 15 – Oct. 15) is upon us, offering us a perfect opportunity to learn about the achievements of Hispanic-Latino Americans. The purpose is to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments as they did not grow in isolation, but the American society grew along with them. Their contributions in the field of science and technology need special recognition because they have had a direct impact on us and helped improve our living standards.