AAPI Heritage Month: Contributions to STEM Fields

May 12, 2023

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. In celebration, Capitology Blog is highlighting the various contributions made by AAPI individuals in science, engineering, programming, and other STEM fields.  


Michio Kaku 

A renowned theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku has made significant contributions to the field of string theory. His work on unified field theory –– which aims to describe all fundamental forces and the relationships between elementary particles in a single theoretical framework –– has advanced our understanding of the universe. Kaku's ability to explain complex concepts in a relatable manner has made him a central figure in popular science communications and inspired countless individuals to pursue careers in physics and astrophysics. 


Chien-Shiung Wu 

Known as the "First Lady of Physics," Chien-Shiung Wu was a Chinese-American experimental physicist. She played a crucial role in disproving the law of conservation of parity through the famous Wu experiment, which showed that neutrinos preferentially spin in one direction. Her groundbreaking work in nuclear physics paved the way for future advancements and challenged long-held scientific beliefs. 


Sundar Pichai 

As the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai has been instrumental in shaping the world of technology. His leadership has guided the development of innovative products and services, including Google Search, Android, and Chrome. Pichai's strategic vision and technical expertise have made him a prominent figure in the global tech industry, driving advancements and enhancing user experiences at one of the largest companies in the world. 


Feng Zhang 

An influential bioengineer and neuroscientist, Feng Zhang co-invented the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system. His breakthrough research has revolutionized genetic engineering, enabling precise and efficient editing of genes. Zhang's work has immense potential for treating genetic diseases, advancing agriculture, creating genetically modified organisms, and understanding the complexities of the human brain. 


Ei-ichi Negishi 

A Japanese chemist, Ei-ichi Negishi won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2010 for his development of palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. His innovative techniques have had a profound impact on organic synthesis, enabling the creation of complex organic compounds more efficiently. Negishi's contributions have advanced the field of organic chemistry and provided tools for pharmaceutical, materials science, and chemical industries. 


Fei-Fei Li 

As a computer scientist and the co-director of Stanford University's Human-Centered AI Institute, Fei-Fei Li has made significant contributions to the field of artificial intelligence. Her research focuses on computer vision and machine learning, with applications in health care, education, and robotics. Importantly, Li has advocated for ethical AI development and diversity in AI research, emphasizing the need for fair and inclusive technology that benefits society at large. 


Tak Wah Mak 

A prominent medical researcher, oncologist, and biochemist, Tak Wah Mak’s discoveries have had a profound impact on public health globally, particularly in immunology and cancer research. Notably, Mak identified and cloned the T-cell receptor gene in 1984. This groundbreaking discovery provided crucial insights into how T-cells recognize and respond to antigens, leading to advancements in immunotherapy and targeted cancer treatments. He also played a pivotal role in the development of genetically modified mice, known as knockout mice, which has significantly contributed to our understanding of various diseases, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. 

These individuals represent a small fraction of the many AAPI scientists, engineers, programmers, and STEM professionals who have made extraordinary contributions to their respective fields. Their achievements highlight the importance of diversity, innovation, and collaboration in driving scientific progress, and Capitol Tech is honored to recognize all members of the AAPI community who have advanced our understanding of the world.