From here on Earth to far out in space, great minds have changed the world. Hispanic Americans made their marks as inventors, astronauts, and more. September 15 to October 15 is a time to honor these people. It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! Keep reading to learn about some star scientists.
Victor Ochoa was born in 1850. The inventor had his eyes on the skies. One of his most famous ideas was the Ochoa Plane, from around 1910. This flying machine had two bicycle frames with a motor. The plane had collapsible wings so it could be stored away. Ochoa also created a type of motor, an electric brake, and a windmill!
While Ochoa wanted off the ground, Ynes Mexia focused on what was in the ground. Born in 1870, she was a Mexican-American botanist. Mexia explored parts of South America and Alaska. She collected samples of plants. In her life, Mexia discovered more than 500 new plant species. Many of them are even named after the expert!
Franklin Chang-Díaz was born in Costa Rica. He dreamed of becoming an astronaut. When Chang-Díaz moved to the United States in 1968, he couldn’t speak English. But that didn’t hold him back. Chang-Díaz studied hard, and in 1986, his dreams came true. He became the first Hispanic-American astronaut in space!
Ellen Ochoa also had some out-of-this-world adventures. In 1993, the astronaut became the first Hispanic woman in space. Ochoa blasted off four times and spent nearly 1,000 hours in orbit. She also became the first Hispanic director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center! The leader is also an engineer. She helped invent systems that let computers see!
Jaime Escalante knew numbers. He also had a special way of connecting with students. That’s what made him a great math teacher! Escalante got a lot of attention in the 1980s. He was working at a high school in Los Angeles, California. The school was known for having difficult students. Some educators had given up on the teens. But Escalante taught them well. His students proved that they could pass a hard math test. A book and a movie told the story of Escalante’s success.
Updated September 24, 2018, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Ashley Morgan
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