10 Hispanic Scientists You Should Know

What better image to start with than with this picture of Ellen Ochoa, the first female Hispanic astronaut! Here she is on her third spaceflight, helping to transport supplies from the space shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station in spring 1999. Image courtesy NASA

Over the centuries, many remarkable scientists have emerged from Spanish-speaking lands, cultures and ancestors. Though grouping such a diverse collection of people under a single rubric -- particularly the politically expedient but dubious term Hispanic – isn't ideal, it does make room to explore their wide-ranging array of backgrounds and accomplishments.

Take these two eminent medical men both born in Caracas, Venezuela, whom you'll meet in a little bit. The first, a child of Spanish immigrants, spent his life in his homeland and dedicated himself to the treatment of leprosy there; the second, born of Spanish Moroccan and French Moroccan parents, spent his formative years in Paris and most of his life in America, and studied the genetic causes of autoimmune diseases. Similar, yet worlds apart; that's this list in a nutshell.