Monday, February 28, 2011

Elaine Chao

Country of origin: China

Elaine Lan Chao (traditional Chinese: 趙小蘭; simplified Chinese: 赵小兰; pinyin: Zhào Xiǎolán; Wade–Giles: Chao Hsiao-lan; born March 26, 1953) served as the 24th United States Secretary of Labor in the Cabinet of President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. She was the first Asian Pacific American woman and first Chinese American to be appointed to a President's cabinet in American history. Chao was the only cabinet member to serve under George W. Bush for his entire administration. She is married to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the current U.S. Senate Minority Leader.

To read more about Elaine Chao, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Anthony Hopkins

Country of origin: Wales

Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, CBE (born 31 December 1937), best known as Anthony Hopkins, is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television. Considered to be one of the greatest living actors, Hopkins is perhaps best known for his portrayal of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (for which he received the Academy Award for Best Actor), its sequel Hannibal, and its prequel Red Dragon. Other prominent film credits include The Lion in Winter, Magic, The Elephant Man, 84 Charing Cross Road, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Legends of the Fall, The Remains of the Day, Amistad, Nixon, and Fracture. Hopkins was born and brought up in Wales. Retaining his British citizenship, he became a U.S. citizen on 12 April 2000. Hopkins' films have spanned a wide variety of genres, from family films to horror. As well as his Academy Award, Hopkins has also won three BAFTA Awards, two Emmys, a Golden Globe and a Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Read more about Sir Anthony Hopkins on his Wikipedia page

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Billy Wilder

Country of origin: Austria-Hungary

Billy Wilder (22 June 1906 – 27 March 2002) was an Galician-born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age. Wilder is one of only five people who have won Academy Awards as producer, director, and writer for the same film (The Apartment).

To read more about Billy Wilder, read the page about him on Wikipedia.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Chih-Kung Jen

Country of origin: China

Chih-Kung Jen (Chinese: 任之恭; pinyin: Rèn Zhīgōng) (August 15 or October 2, 1906-November 19, 1995) was a Chinese physicist who emigrated to the U.S. and participated in some of the 20th century's major scientific, political and social developments in both the United States and China.

Born in a mud house in a remote and largely illiterate village in China, he was awarded a scholarship funded as a result of the Boxer Rebellion of the late 19th century to attend Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University. As part of that scholarship, he came to the U.S. in 1926 to study electrical engineering and physics at MIT. He completed his graduate studies first at the University of Pennsylvania, and then in physics at Harvard University. Jen was among the first to provide experimental proof of the existence of the ionosphere. In addition, he obtained the first theoretically calculated value for the electron affinity spectrum of the hydrogen atom, a problem of fundamental significance in quantum mechanics and astrophysics.

In 1937, Jen returned to China, and subsequently joined in the "Academic Long March" to set up a wartime refugee university (the National Southwestern Associated University) in Kunming. His wartime teaching and research contributed to the training of what would become the nucleus of the present-day Chinese scientific intelligentsia.

After the war, Jen returned to the Physics Department at Harvard, and eventually settled at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University to carry on pioneering research in trapping free radicals and other topics in microwave spectroscopy.

In 1972, following Richard Nixon's visit to China, Jen led a ground-breaking delegation of Chinese American scientists to that country. The delegation conferred with Premier Zhou Enlai, and initiated what was to become a steady stream of scientific exchanges between the U.S. and China. Jen subsequently made numerous visits to China. He continued to work on strengthening U.S.-China scientific relations, and in addition was a leader in improving scientific education in Chinese universities.

To read more about Chih-Kung Jen visit his page at Wikipedia.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Enrico Fermi

Country of origin: Italy

Enrico Fermi (29 September 1901 – 28 November 1954) was an Italian-American physicist particularly known for his work on the development of the first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1, and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics. He was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on induced radioactivity.

Fermi is widely regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 20th century, highly accomplished in both theory and experiment. Along with J. Robert Oppenheimer, he is frequently referred to as "the father of the atomic bomb". He also held several patents related to the use of nuclear power.

Several awards, concepts, and institutions are named after Fermi, such as the Enrico Fermi Award, the Enrico Fermi Institute, the Fermi National Accelerator Lab, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station, a type of particles called fermions, the synthetic element Fermium, and many more.

To read more about Enrico Fermi, see his page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gerty Cori

Country of origin: Austro-Hungarian Empire

Gerty Theresa Cori (née Radnitz, August 15, 1896 – October 26, 1957) was an American biochemist who became the third woman—and first American woman—to win a Nobel Prize in science, and the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

To read more about Gerty Cori, read her page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Igor Finkler

Country of origin: Kazakhstan

Recently featured on the CBS reality show “Undercover Boss", Igor Finkler is a hard working father of two who was given a chance to run his own 7-11 franchise store; find out more about Igor at the following links:



Monday, February 21, 2011

Frank Oz

Country of origin: England

Frank Oz (born Richard Frank Oznowicz;[1] May 25, 1944) is a British-born American film director, actor, voice actor and puppeteer who is known for creating and performing the characters Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear in The Muppet Show and for directing films including the 1986 Little Shop Of Horrors remake and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He is also the operator and voice of Yoda in the Star Wars series.

To read more about this amazingly creative individual, see his page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Raul Hector Castro

Country of origin: Mexico

Raul Hector Castro (born June 12, 1916) is a Mexican-born United States politician. He has served in both elected and non-elected public offices, including United States Ambassador and the 14th Governor of Arizona. He was the first Mexican American to be elected governor of Arizona.

To read more about Raul Hector Castro, see his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Benoit Mandelbrot

Country of origin: Poland

Mandelbrot worked on a wide range of mathematical problems, including mathematical physics and quantitative finance, but is best known as the father of fractal geometry. He coined the term fractal and described the Mandelbrot set. Mandelbrot extensively popularized his work, writing books and giving lectures aimed at the general public.

To read more about Benoit Mandelbrot, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pedro Cano

Country of origin: Mexico

Pedro Cano was born June 19, 1920 in La Morita, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. He moved to the United States into the small community of Edinburg, Texas when he was 2 months old. There he served as a farm laborer until he volunteered to serve in the Army during World War II. As a private, he was deployed to the European theater to serve with the 4th Infantry Division where he engaged in battles both in France and in Germany. He exhibited extraordinary courage and valor in battle and later sustained injuries that left him permanently disabled. He returned to South Texas to join his wife and children and resumed his work as a farm laborer.

Private Cano received two Silver Star medals, a Purple Heart, and a Distinguished Service Cross.

After repeated requests during war time to become a U.S. citizen and being ignored by his commanding officer due to other pressing matters, Cano finally achieved his longest-lasting ambition, to become an American citizen, in May 1946. He died six years later on June 24, 1952 at the age of 31 in a tragic automobile accident. He left a wife and three children.

To read more about this American hero, visit his page on Wikipedia

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nick Ut

Country of origin: French Indochina

Huỳnh Công Út, known professionally as Nick Ut, (born March 29, 1951) is a photographer for the Associated Press (AP) who works out of Los Angeles. His best known photo is the Pulitzer Prize-winning picture of Phan Thị Kim Phúc, who was photographed as a naked 9-year-old girl running toward the camera to flee a South Vietnamese napalm attack on the Trảng Bàng village during the Vietnam War.

To read more about Nick Ut, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Alexander Graham Bell

Country of origin: Scotland

Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone.

Read more about Alexander Graham Bell at Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nikola Tesla

Country of origin:Austrian Empire

Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was an inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer. He was an important contributor to the birth of commercial electricity, and is best known for his many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Tesla's patents and theoretical work formed the basis of modern alternating current (AC) electric power systems, including the polyphase system of electrical distribution and the AC motor. This work helped usher in the Second Industrial Revolution.

To read more about Nikola Tesla, visit his Wikipedia page.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ruth Westheimer

Country of origin: Germany

You can either give in to negative feelings or fight them, and I'm of the belief that you should fight them.

- Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Ruth Westheimer (born June 4, 1928) is an American sex therapist, media personality, and author. Best known as Dr. Ruth, the New York Times described her as a "Sorbonne-trained psychologist who became a kind of cultural icon in the 1980s. The Sister Wendy of sexuality, she ushered in the new age of freer, franker talk about sex on radio and television...

Dr. Ruth really has had an interesting life; go read more about her at Wikipedia.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mohamad Bazzi

Country of origin: Lebanon

Mohamad Bazzi is a Lebanese-American award-winning journalist. He is the former Middle East bureau chief at Newsday and a current faculty member of New York University. Bazzi was the 2007-2008 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is currently an adjunct senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

While at Newsday, Bazzi covered the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, where he focused on militant Islamic movements, regional politics, and the war on terrorism. He was Newsday's lead writer on the Iraq war and its aftermath. He also covered the 2000 Palestinian uprising, the 2001 war in Afghanistan, and the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

Mohamad Bazzi left his native Lebanon for the United States in 1985, when he was 10 years old. He became a United States citizen in 1994. His Middle Eastern background and fluent Arabic have recently played an important role in his rapidly rising career in journalism. He graduated magna cum laude in 1997 from CUNY.

Read more about Mohamad Bazzi at Wikipedia.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Irving Berlin

Country of origin: Russian Empire

Irving Berlin (May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989) was an American composer and lyricist, widely considered one of the greatest American songwriters in history.


He wrote hundreds of songs, many becoming major hits, which made him "a legend" before he turned thirty. During his 60-year career he wrote an estimated 1,500 songs, including the scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood films, with his songs nominated eight times for Academy Awards. Many songs became popular themes and anthems, including "Easter Parade", "White Christmas", "Happy Holiday", "This is the Army, Mr. Jones", and "There's No Business Like Show Business". His Broadway musical and 1942 film, This is the Army, with Ronald Reagan, had Kate Smith singing Berlin's "God Bless America" which was first performed in 1938. Smith still performed the song on her 1960 CBS television series, The Kate Smith Show. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Celine Dion recorded it as a tribute, making it #1 on the charts.

To learn more about Irving Berlin, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Francesca S. Cabrini

Country of origin: Italy

Francesca S. Cabrini was the first American citizen to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. She founded sixty-seven schools, hospitals and orphanages in the United States, South America, and Europe. To read more about Francesca S. Cabrini, see her Wikipedia entry.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Country of origin: India

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, FRS (Tamil: சுப்பிரமணியன் சந்திரசேகர்), (October 19, 1910 – August 21, 1995) was an Indian-born American astrophysicist who, with William A. Fowler, won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics for key discoveries that led to the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars. Chandrasekhar was the nephew of Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930.

If you would like to read more about Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar visit his page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Joseph Pulitzer

Country of origin: Hungary

Joseph Pulitzer (pronounced /ˈpʊlɨtsər/ POOL-it-sər, as in "pull it sir";[1] April 10, 1847 – October 29, 1911), born Politzer József, was a Hungarian-American newspaper publisher of the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the New York World. Pulitzer introduced the techniques of "new journalism" to the newspapers he acquired in the 1880s and became a leading national figure in the Democratic party. He crusaded against big business and corruption. In the 1890s the fierce competition between his World and William R. Hearst's New York Journal introduced yellow journalism and opened the way to mass circulation newspapers that depended on advertising revenue and appealed to the reader with multiple forms of news, entertainment and advertising.

He is most famous for establishing the Pulizer Prize. Read more about Joseph Pulitzer at Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Piers Anthony

Country of origin: England

Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob (born August 6, 1934 in Oxford, England) is an English American writer in the science fiction and fantasy genres, publishing under the name Piers Anthony. He is most famous for his long-running novel series set in the fictional realm of Xanth.

Many of his books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list. He has claimed that one of his greatest achievements has been to publish a book for every letter of the alphabet, from Anthonology to Zombie Lover.

To read more about Piers Anthony, see Wikipedia.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ieoh Ming Pei

Country of origin: China

Ieoh Ming Pei (born 26 April 1917), commonly known as I. M. Pei, is a Chinese-American architect, often called a master of modern architecture. He designed a wide variety of landmark structures, including the iconic glass-and-steel pyramid for the Louvre museum in Paris, making him the first foreign architect to work on the Louvre.

Read more about Ieoh Ming Pei at Wikipedia.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Vladimir K. Zworykin

Country of origin: Russian Empire

Vladimir Kozmich Zworykin (Russian: Влади́мир Козьми́ч Зворы́кин - Vladimir Koz'mich Zvorykin) (July 29 (17), 1888 – July 29, 1982) was a Russian-American inventor, engineer, and pioneer of television technology. Zworykin invented a television transmitting and receiving system employing cathode ray tubes. He played a role in the practical development of television from the early thirties...

Read more about Vladimir K. Zworykin at wikipedia.

In spite of his work pioneering television technology, when asked about his favorite thing on television, he said, "The switch. The switch to turn the damn thing off."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Carlos Santana

Country of origin: Mexico

"The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace." -- Carlos Santana

Carlos Augusto Alves Santana (born July 20, 1947) is a Mexican American rock guitarist. Santana became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered rock, salsa and jazz fusion. The band's sound featured his melodic, blues-based guitar lines set against Latin and African rhythms featuring percussion instruments such as timbales and congas not generally heard in rock music. Santana continued to work in these forms over the following decades. He experienced a resurgence of popularity and critical acclaim in the late 1990s. Rolling Stone named Santana number 15 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2003. He has won 10 Grammy Awards and 3 Latin Grammy Awards.

Read more about Carlos Santana at Wikipedia.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day #4: Tom Lantos

Country of origin: Hungary

Thomas Peter Lantos was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1981 until his death; he was the only Holocaust survivor to have served in the United States Congress.

To read more about Tom Lantos visit wikipedia.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day #3: Albert Baez

Country of origin: Mexico

In 1948, along with Stanford University professor Paul Kirkpatrick (1894–1992), Baez developed the X-ray reflection microscope for examination of living cells. This microscope is still used today in medicine. Baez received his PhD in physics from Stanford in 1950. After graduating, he developed zone plates—concentric circles of alternating opaque and transparent materials to use diffraction instead of refraction to focus X-rays. Unfortunately, much of his work had to await the development of synchrotron X-rays sources several decades later.

You can read more about Albert Baez at wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day #2: John Dau

Country of origin: Sudan

Dau, also known as Dhieu-Deng Leek, was born into the Dinka tribe in war-torn Sudan. In 1987, his village of Duk Payuel in Duk County, Jonglei was attacked by government troops involved in the Second Sudanese Civil War between the Muslim-controlled government in northern Sudan and the non-Muslims in Southern Sudan. The violence scattered his family, and Dau was forced to travel on foot for three months until reaching the relative safety of Ethiopia.


Dau has succeeded in the United States and can proudly say that he is living the American dream. Not only was he able to bring his mother and sister from Sudan, but while working 60 hours a week working three jobs, he received an Associates degree from Onondaga Community College. He is currently pursuing a degree in Policy Studies at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Additionally, Dau is an experienced social entrepreneur. He has founded three non-profit 501(c)3 organizations. In 2003, he helped establish The Sudanese Lost Boys Foundation of Central New York which raised over $35,000 for books and medical expenses for Lost Boys living in the United States. In 2005, Dau was instrumental in founding the American Care for Sudan Foundation which solicited funds to build and operate the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in Southern Sudan. He has raised more than $400,000 for the clinic. Currently, Dau is the President of the John Dau Foundation which was founded in July 2007 to develop health facilities that currently do not exist for most of the populations of Duk, Twic East and Bor South Counties in the State of Jonglei in South Sudan.

Read more John Dau at wikipedia.

John Dau's incredible story was documented in his memoir God Grew Tired of Us (as well as a film by the same name).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day #1: Albert Einstein

Einstein became an American citizen in 1940. Not long after settling into his career at Princeton, he expressed his appreciation of the "meritocracy" in American culture when compared to Europe. According to Isaacson, he recognized the "right of individuals to say and think what they pleased", without social barriers, and as result, the individual was "encouraged" to be more creative, a trait he valued from his own early education.

Read more about Albert Einstein at wikipedia.

What is this blog?

My goal is to document 365 immigrants that made (or make) America a better place to live, one per day for the next 365 days.