Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Featuring Engineers and Scientists

Source: Science Buddies by Amy Cowen

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we highlight a sampling of Hispanic and Latinx scientists and engineers who made (and are making) important contributions to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Scientist: Luis Alvarez Luis Alvarez, physicist was a physicist whose research included particle physics, radar, and nuclear science. He developed multiple radar systems during World War II, worked on the Manhattan Project, and was involved in the development of a liquid hydrogen bubble chamber, which enabled detection of subatomic particles. Alvarez won the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physics. (Biography)
Scientist: Helia Brava Hollis Helia Bravo Hollis, biologist and botanist was a biologist and botanist whose research focused on the collection and classification of cacti in Mexico. (Biography)
Scientist: Franklin Chang-Diaz Franklin Chang-Díaz, astronaut is a mechanical engineer and astronaut. As the first Hispanic NASA astronaut, he was involved in seven space shuttle missions, including Columbia and Endeavor. (Biography)
Scientist: France Cordova France Córdova, astrophysicist was the 14th director of the National Science Foundation. As an astrophysicist, Córdova conducted multi-spectral research on x-ray and gamma-ray sources and instruments used in space. She also served as NASA’s chief scientist and, later, president of Purdue University. (Biography)
Scientist: Carlos Juan Finlay Carlos Juan Finlay, epidemiologist was an epidemiologist who discovered that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitoes. (Biography)
Scientist: Nicole Hernandez Hammer Nicole Hernandez Hammer, environmental scientist is an environmental scientist and advocate whose research centers upon climate change and the impact of climate change on sea level. (Biography)
Scientist: Scarlin Hernandez Scarlin Hernandez, aerospace engineer is an aerospace engineer working on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. (Biography and video (NASA))
Scientist: Bernardo Alberto Houssay Bernardo Alberto Houssay, physiologist was a physiologist who shared the 1947 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research (after the discovery of insulin) on the role of pituitary gland hormones in carbohydrate metabolism. (Biography)
Scientist: Cesare Lattes Césare Lattes was a physicist who researched cosmic rays, nuclear physics, and atomic physics. Lattes is credited as one of the discoverers of the pion, a subatomic particle that contains a quark and an antiquark. (Biography)
Scientist: Luis Federico Leloir Luis Federico Leloir, biochemist was a biochemist whose research involved the metabolism of carbohydrates. Leloir won the 1970 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “for his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates.” (Biography)
Scientist: Susana Lopez Charreton Susana López Charretón, virologist is a virologist whose research on rotavirus identified the ways in which it enters the body (separate from the ways it is commonly transmitted). (Biography)
Scientist: Ynes Mexia Ynes Mexia, botanist was a botanist and plant collector whose field expeditions included traveling along the Amazon River. During her career, she collected more than 150,000 plant samples and is credited with discovering more than 500 new species. (Biography and video (PBS American Masters))
Scientist: Cesar Milstein César Milstein, chemist was a biochemist who shared the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (with Niels Kaj Jerne and Georges J. F. Köhler) for research related to antibodies and the immune system. (Biography)
Scientist: Mario J. Molina Mario J. Molina, chemist is a chemist whose work helped identify the negative effect of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) (in aerosol sprays, for example) on the Earth’s ozone layer. Molina shared the 1955 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with F. Sherwood Rowland and Paul J. Crutzen. (Biography)
Scientist: Adriana Ocampo Adriana Ocampo, planetary geologist is a planetary geologist at NASA. Her research led to the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater in Mexico (the site of a meteor impact theorized to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs). Ocampo has worked on numerous planetary imaging projects, including the Viking mission to Mars, the Voyager mission, and the Galileo mission. (Biography and video (NASA))
Scientist: Ellen Ochoa Ellen Ochoa, astronaut and engineer is an astronaut and engineer and was the first Hispanic woman in space on the space shuttle Discovery in 1993. She logged almost 1,000 hours in orbit and went on to serve as Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. (Biography)
Scientist: Severo Ochoa Severo Ochoa, biochemist was a biochemist and shared the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology for the discovery of a bacterial enzyme related to the synthesis of RNA. (Biography)
Scientist: Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski, physicist is a physicist whose research led to the discovery of the “spin memory effect” for evaluating the effects of gravitational waves. Named to several “Top 30 Under 30” lists, Pasterski is also an advocate for STEM for girls. (Biography)
Scientist: Sarah Stewart Sarah Stewart, microbiologist was a microbiologist whose research showed that viruses could cause cancer, a discovery that led to the development of vaccines to protect against certain kinds of cancer. (Biography)
Scientist: Lydia Villa-Komaroff Lydia Villa-Komaroff, biologist is a biologist whose research on recombinant DNA uncovered a way to use bacteria cells to make insulin. (Biography)
Scientist: Evangelina Villegas Evangelina Villegas, chemist was a chemist whose work centered on cereal grains and the genetic engineering of wheat and maize with improved nutritional content to help fight malnutrition in areas around the world. (Biography)