MCLR - 1994 Roundtable


Presented By:

Refugio I. Rochin, Michigan State University


Although the representation amonng our group differs from that of the others, many of the problems are similar. Our group was composed of professionals in experimental biology, theoretical mathematics, applied social sciences, health care, and social work.

We found very little literature on the history of science that addresses the contributions of Latinos in Ihe Midwest. We do have some scattered literature on world Hispanic and Latin American heritage, e.g., Domingo DeSoto, whose work was used by Galileo and Francisco Hernandez. There also exists some literature from Mexico on Mayan science and on Aztec health and nutrition, the latter hy Bernard Ortiz de Montellano at Wayne State University.

There have been several contributors to science who are virtually unknown and do not appear in Men and Women in Science, Who's Who, or other similar publications. The Alvarez family has not been given due credit in the history of science textbooks for their contribution to astronomy. Scientists like these need to be written about to balance the record and develop a profile for Latinos in science.

We believe the following factors have retarded the development of a literature on Latinos in science in the Midwest:

(a) The general lack of relevant and consistent data on Latinos in the Midwest. This is one-half of a negative circle because it is difficult to justify funding requests for research without the data to support proposals submitted for national or state funds.

(b) Thc competition for funds in an environment in which Black/White issues are perceived as of primary importance.

(c) Geographical and disciplinary obstacles to collaborative networks among the few and scattered Latino scientists.

An area in which the absence of research is cause for serious concern involves new aproaches to make science education as a field study attractive to Latino youth. We are losing ground to television and feel it is impossible to fight back. The future appears bleak when science does not seem to offer a solution to the social problems that have beset our youth.


  • The following recommendations are made to promote research on Latinos in science:

  • Establishment of collaborative networks to share research.

  • Compilation of a national directory of Latino scientists to facilitate individual and organizational networking.

  • Compilation by MCLR of a directory Midwest Latino scientists. Given the small numbers, this should not be a difficult task.

  • Creation of a database to identify resources encourage scientists to do Latino research.

  • Creation of an academic environment that values and promotes research on and by Latinos in the sciences. An important way to do this is through the development of culturally relevant curricula that incorporate questions and examples of Latinos. The exchange of syllabi should be promoted. For example, Calixto Calderon (University of Illinoig Chicago) gives a course, the History of Calculus, in which Latino examples are included. The publication of a book on syllabi for developing scholarship would be a valuable resource.

  • Recruitment of Latino students into science who would have a cultural interest in advancing research with a Latino perspective. Presently, the science field is the minority within the minority with respect to Latino participation and representation.

    Click on Juan Mestas to see a large (36k bytes) picture of:

    Dr. Juan Mestas, Deputy Chair
    National Endowment for the Humanities

    Click on Group to see a large (96k bytes) picture of:

    Dr. George Sanchez, The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    Dr. Victor Ortiz, The University of Illinois
    Dr. Felix Masud-Piloto, DePaul University.

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    Last Updated: March 11, 1996