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Immigrants in the Sciences (2017 Exhibit)

Exhibit Dates and Location


On view Fall Quarter 2017



Biomedical Library (Research Commons and Stacks)

Science and Engineering Library/Boelter (Main Reading Room)


Scientist Posters (Virtual Exhibit)

Carl Djerassi

"Austrian-born U.S. chemist, novelist, and playwright who contributed to the development of the female contraceptive and to many other areas of biochemistry. He later went on to write numerous novels, poems, and plays, and devoted his fortune to fostering artistic activity at his artists' colony in California."

"Djerassi was highly productive in many areas of chemistry. He was involved in the development of antihistamine drugs and corticosteroids. He studied techniques of physical measurement, such as mass spectrometry, and functional artificial intelligence techniques to aid in chemical analysis."

Djerassi, Carl,” AccessScience, accessed October 30, 2017,

Kalpana Chawla

"US astronaut. She was the principal operator of the robot arm on the space shuttle mission launched in November 1997 to carry out microgravity experiments. From 1988, Chawla worked for NASA's Ames Research Center for research into fluid dynamics before her selection as an astronaut in 1995. She died when the space shuttle Columbiabroke up on re-entry in February 2003 after a 16-day mission to the International Space Station."

Dasch, E. Julius. "Chawla, Kalpana." In A Dictionary of Space Exploration. : Oxford University Press, 2005.

Albert Baez

"Known by friends and family as "Professor Al," "Abo" or "Popsy," Mr. Baez was born in Puebla, Mexico."

"Mr. Baez was a scientist, a physics professor and a pacifist who refused to use his considerable expertise to advance the nuclear arms race during the Cold War."

"Mr. Baez co-invented the X-ray reflection microscope, which has been an indispensable tool for almost 60 years in the study of living cells and, more recently, in the study of galaxies."

"Over the years, he served on the faculties of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley and other universities."

Fimrite, Peter (March 25, 2007). "Albert Baez -- scientist, author, father of Joan Baez". The San Francisco Chronicle.

Flossie Wong-Staal

"Flossie Wong-Staal, a molecular biologist, is one of the world’s authorities on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). She was born on August 27, 1947 in communist China. Her name originally was Yee Ching Wong. Her family fled to Hong Kong in 1952."

In 1965, at the age of eighteen, Wong-Staal went to the United States to attend the University of California, Los Angeles. There she chose biology to be her major. She graduated three years later, magna cum laude and with a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology. She earned a pH.D. in molecular biology in 1972 from UCLA."

"In 1973, Wong-Staal moved to Bethesda, Maryland to work at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Here she studied retroviruses with Robert Gallo, a pioneer in the study of AIDS. The two were searching for the cause of AIDS, which had recently entered the population in the U.S. In 1983, simultaneously with Luc Montagnier in France, Wong-Staal and her colleagues discovered HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Wong-Staal was the first researcher to clone HIV, which she did in 1985. This led to the first genetic map of the virus, which aided in the development of blood tests for HIV."

"Flossie Wong-Staal." Retrieved 2017-10-30.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

"Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was an Indian-born American astrophysicist and applied mathematician whose work on the origins, structure, and dynamics of stars secured him a prominent place in the annals of science. His most celebrated work concerns the radiation of energy from stars, particularly white dwarf stars, which are the dying fragments of stars. Chandrasekhar demonstrated that the radius of a white dwarf star is related to its mass: the greater its mass, the smaller its radius. Chandrasekhar made numerous other contributions to astrophysics."

"For his immense contribution to science, Chandrasekhar, who died in 1995, received numerous awards and distinctions, most notably the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics for his research into the depths of aged stars."

"Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar." In Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed., 426-429. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Gale Virtual Reference Library (accessed October 30, 2017).

Rita Levi-Montalcini

"Levi-Montalcini was born in Italy and grew up in Turin. She earned her degree in medicine at the University of Turin where she was employed until 1939 when she was barred by the Fascists from practicing medicine and from working in the university. Undaunted she continued her cell research by conducting experiments in an improvised laboratory in her bedroom with embryos from eggs which she had begged for to feed "needy children." Since she was a member of the "Jewish race," the results of the experiments could not be published in fascist Italy, but they did appear in Belgium, establishing her scientific reputation. The family fled to Belgium, but with Hitler's invasion of the country in 1940 returned to Italy. In 1947 Levi-Montalcini accepted a teaching and research position at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, with Professor Viktor Hamburger. There in June 1951 she made the discovery for which she and Dr. Stanley *Cohen , who worked with her at that time, were awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for medicine, the isolation of the nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein which stimulates the growth of sensory and sympathetic nerves in animals and in cultures.

Levi-Montalcini, who holds both United States and Italian citizenship, returned to Italy in 1977 to head a research laboratory of the National Council of Scientific Research in Rome. She was the first woman elected to the Pontifical Academy of Science and the sixth woman to be accepted into the National Academy of Sciences (1968). In addition to the Nobel Prize, Levi-Montalcini received the Feltrinelli International Prize in medicine in 1969, the St. Vincent Prize in 1980, and the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for 1986."

"Levi-Montalcini, Rita." In Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed., edited by Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, 706. Vol. 12. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. Gale Virtual Reference Library (accessed October 30, 2017).


Ahmed Hassan Zewail

"Egyptian-born US chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1999 for his use of femtosecond spectroscopy in the study of the transition states of chemical reactions. The technique has had such a significant impact that a new branch of science, femtochemistry, has been named after this area of physical chemistry. Zewail was born in Damanhour, Egypt. He received his BSc and MSc degrees from Alexandria University, Egypt, in 1967 and was awarded his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, USA, in 1974."

“Zewail, Ahmed H,” AccessScience, accessed October 30, 2017,


Maryam Mirzakhani

​"Maryam Mirzakhani was one of the greatest mathematicians of her generation. She made monumental contributions to the study of the dynamics and geometry of mathematical objects called Riemann surfaces. Just as impressive as her theorems was her ability to push a field in a new direction by always providing a fresh point of view. Her raw talent was rare, even among the most celebrated mathematicians, and she was known for having a taste for difficult problems."

She was the first woman and first Iranian to win the Fields Medal, considered the highest honour in mathematics. For women, Mirzakhani was a role model, pursuing a successful career in a male-dominated field. For Iran, she represented the country's tradition of intellectualism. And for young scientists, she was a calming force that rose above the pressures of academia. She died aged 40 from breast cancer on 14 July."

"Maryam Mirzakhani (1977–2017)," by Kasra Rafi, Nature, September 7, 2017

Nawal M. Nour

"Dr. Nawal Nour actively researches the health and policy issues regarding female genital cutting (FGC).  She has spoken in numerous academic and national conferences regarding the medical management of women who have undergone this practice.  Committed to the eradication of FGC, she travels throughout the country conducting workshops to educate African refugees and immigrants on the medical complications and legal issues of this practice."

"Dr. Nour is a board certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist and is the Director of the Ambulatory Obstetrics Practice at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. She is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. She also established the African Women's Health Center which provides appropriate health and outreach programs to the African community in Boston. Dr. Nour was honored as a 2003 MacArthur Foundation Fellow for creating the country’s only center of its kind that focuses on both physical and emotional needs of women who have had or undergone FGC."

Brigham Health. (2015,  September). Nawal M. Nour, MD, MPH - Bio. Retrieved from

David Ho

"Molecular biologist David Da-I Ho (born 1952) has dedicated his career to identifying a cure for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). His greatest contribution to the worldwide battle against AIDS came in 1996 when he combined state-of-the art AIDS medications in a way that stopped the progression of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which leads to the deadly AIDS condition.

AIDS researcher David Ho was the fourth scientist to identify the cause of AIDS as a virus that attacks the body's immune system. Now chief executive officer and scientific director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC), Ho has been at the forefront of the worldwide battle against the AIDS epidemic and remains hopeful that HIV can be eradicated."

"Ho was born on November 3, 1952, in Taichung, a small town in Taiwan where transportation was by means of bicycle and the only form of communications technology was a small radio. Fluent in English, he enrolled in an advanced engineering degree program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), determined to make a better life for his growing family."

"David Da-I Ho." In Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed., 145-148. Vol. 23. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Gale Virtual Reference Library (accessed October 30, 2017).


Gerty Cori

"CORI, GERTY THERESA (née Radnitz; 1896–1957), Nobel laureate in medicine and physiology. Cori was born in Prague, where she graduated in medicine from the German University in 1920. That year she married her fellow student and lifelong scientific collaborator, Carl Cori, and converted to Catholicism from Judaism. The Coris joined the staff of the New York State Institute for the Study of Malignant Disease in Buffalo, New York (1922–31), before moving to Washington University, St. Louis, in 1931 where she was professor of biochemistry from 1947 until her death. The Coris became U.S. citizens in 1928. They were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1947 (shared with Bernardo Houssay) for their work on carbohydrate metabolism in which they discovered how glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles, and broken down to glucose as an energy source (a process termed the Cori cycle). They also described the effects of insulin and other hormones on glucose metabolism. The Coris' honors included election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences."

Denman, Michael. "Cori, Gerty Theresa." In Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed., edited by Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, 223. Vol. 5. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. Gale Virtual Reference Library (accessed October 30, 2017).

Mario Molina

"Mario Molina is a Mexican scientist who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1995. Born March 19, 1943, the son of a prominent lawyer who later became a diplomat, Molina obtained his bachelor's degree from the National University of Mexico in 1965 and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972. He took a position at the University of California, Irvine, where he and his colleague, F. Sherwood Rowland, published research demonstrating that chlorofluorocarbons, which were widely used in spray cans and air conditioners, were harmful to the ozone layer, eventually leading to efforts to ban their use. From 1982 to 1989 he worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, and then taught at MIT beginning in 1989. In 2005 he took a teaching position at the University of California at San Diego and also established a strategic studies center in energy and the environment in Mexico City. He is the only Mexican to have won a Nobel Prize in the sciences."

Camp, Roderic Ai. "Molina, Mario (1943–)." In Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, 2nd ed., edited by Jay Kinsbruner and Erick D. Langer, 654. Vol. 4. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008. Gale Virtual Reference Library (accessed October 30, 2017).

Hedy Lamarr

"LAMARR, HEDY (Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler; 1914–2000), actor, inventor. Born in Vienna, Austria, Lamarr attended Max *Reinhardt 's famous acting school in Berlin as a teenager. . Lamarr had an extensive career as a movie actress, appearing in such films as Algiers (1938), Ziegfeld Girl (1941), White Cargo (1942), and, most notably, as Delilah in Samson and Delilah (1948). Professionally, Lamarr also played a much different role, that of inventor. From 1933 to 1937, as the wife of Fritz Mandal, a manufacturer of military aircraft, Lamarr was first exposed to the field of control systems. In 1940, Lamarr presented her concept of "frequency hopping" to her Hollywood neighbor, the avant-garde composer George Antheil, who is best known for his revolutionary Ballet Méanique. Lamarr was working on a way to protect radio signals from being heard or interfered with by outside parties; Antheil proposed a design based on the player-piano, by which the radio signal would travel at 88 constantly shifting frequencies. Lamarr and Antheil received a patent in 1942, but their ideas were not put to significant use until the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, when they were used to provide secure communications among American ships. Lamarr's "frequency hopping" is the basis for today's "spread spectrum," a design now applied to such mainstream technology as the cellular phone."

Schwartz, Casey. "Lamarr, Hedy." In Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed., edited by Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, 442. Vol. 12. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. Gale Virtual Reference Library (accessed October 30, 2017).

Enrico Fermi

"Enrico Fermi became a professor at Rome University, where in 1934 he discovered how to produce slow (thermal) neutrons. He used these to create new radioisotopes, for which he was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize. In 1938 he and his Jewish wife emigrated to the USA. In 1942 he led the team that built the first atomic pile (nuclear reactor) in Chicago. Fermi was an influential theoretical physicist who, independently of Paul Dirac, discovered Fermi–Dirac statistics. He also proposed the first proper theory of weak interactions in 1933."

(2015). Fermi, Enrico. In Law, J., &; Rennie, R.(Eds.), A Dictionary of Physics. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 30 Oct. 2017, from

Chien-Shiung Wu

"Born in 1912, Chien-Shiung Wu was a Chinese American nuclear physicist who has been dubbed "the First Lady of Physics," "the Chinese Madame Curie," and the "Queen of Nuclear Research." Her research contributions include work on the Manhattan Project and the Wu experiment, which contradicted the hypothetical law of conservation of parity. During her career, she earned many accolades including the Comstock Prize in Physics (1964), the Bonner Prize (1975), the National Medal of Science (1975), and the Wolf Prize in Physics (inaugural award, 1978). Her book Beta Decay (1965) is still a standard reference for nuclear physicists. Wu died in 1997 at the age of 84." Editors. (2016, June 2016). Chien-Shiung Wu Retrieved from

Elias Zerhouni

"Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., was named the 15th NIH Director by President George W. Bush in May 2002 and led the nation’s medical research agency until October 2008. Dr. Zerhouni, a world renowned leader in the field of radiology and medicine, spent his career providing clinical, scientific, and administrative leadership. As one of the world’s premier experts in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), he had extended the role of MRI from taking snapshots of gross anatomy to visualizing how the body works at the molecular level. During his tenure as NIH Director, Dr. Zerhouni oversaw a number of milestones including: reauthorizing the NIH, demonstrating renewed confidence in NIH; initiating the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research; developing a new office to improve trans-NIH initiatives; establishing an NIH-wide research initiative to address the obesity epidemic; supporting the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint; making health disparities a research priority; and ensuring public access to NIH-funded research results."

(2015, October 22). Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. Retrieved from

Nikola Tesla

"Nikola Tesla was the eccentric inventor of the polyphase alternating-current (AC) motor and the polyphase AC power distribution system, as well as many other electricity, X-ray, radio, and radio-control devices. Tesla was born on 10 July 1856 to Serbian parents in the town of Smiljan, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but is now part of Croatia. Tesla moved to the United Atates in 1884 and teamed with two partners to patent Tesla’s AC motor and power distribution system. The group received the patents in 1888. Tesla was a skillful inventor at this time, but unlike his contemporaries Thomas Edison, Elihu Thomson, and George Westinghouse, Tesla was not also a good entrepreneur, nor was he interested in being one. In 1893, Tesla’s two-phase AC motor was demonstrated in grandiose fashion at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In the same year, Tesla played a key role in getting his two-phase AC power distribution system selected for the Niagara Falls hydroelectric project. Both of these demonstrations were crucial to the selection of alternating current as today’s standard for power distribution."

(2014). Tesla, Nikola. In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Science, Medicine, and Technology. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 30 Oct. 2017, from