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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

July 22, 2010

Written by C.N.

5 Asian Americans Who Changed the World

The following is guest post by Louise Baker, a freelance author and journalist. Her post is a brief profile of Five Asian Americans Who Changed the World. Feel free to nominate other possible famous Asian Americans who changed the world in the comments section.

1. Bruce Lee: One of the most famous martial artists of all time, and one of the most influential pop culture figures of the twentieth century. An athlete, actor, and philosopher, Lee’s exceptional talent and pan-racial appeal helped him to break many color barriers for protagonists in American cinema. During his lifetime, Lee’s name became synonymous with Asiatic martial arts, and remains so to this day, nearly forty years after his death. Lee’s enduring legacy and cross-cultural personal appeal place him in a rarified pantheon of iconic American actors of ageless popularity.

2. Jerry Yang: Co-founded Yahoo!, one of the first popular search engines of the internet era. Debuting in the mid-1990’s, Yahoo! offers both experienced and novice web users a way to search for entertainment and information, and did double duty in its early days as a web directory for a variety of topics. One of the architects of the internet as we know it today, Yang’s massive contribution to the world began as a side project with his friend, David Filo, while both were pursuing doctoral degrees at Stanford University. Today, Yahoo! remains one of the most popular sites and networks on the web.

3. Tiger Woods: One of the best golfers of all time, and one of the first minorities to achieve superstardom in that sport, Woods’s youth, charisma, and star appeal brought an element of glamour to his profession that had previously been absent. Having shattered the stereotypes of the typical professional golfer in both age and race, Woods has singlehandedly made his sport of choice seem far more accessible, more inclusive, and more glamorous to the general public than ever before. The global influence of Woods on golf can be seen in the popular champion’s vast number of endorsement deals.

4. Steven Chu: A Nobel Prize winning physicist, who won the aforementioned award as the result of his groundbreaking work in laser cooling technologies, Chu is the current Secretary of Energy of the United States. Chu’s current focus as Energy Secretary is largely on the development of alternative fuel technologies, with particular attention to the possibilities of a “glucose economy,” wherein the various byproducts of sugar might be cultivated and used as fuel on a scale large enough to power the modern world. Chu’s vision, precision, and commitment to excellence might just set the tone for new technologies to come.

5. I.M. Pei: Considered one of the masters of modern architecture, Pei is responsible for designing such iconic buildings as the Bank of China building in Hong Kong, the Louvre Pyramid, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Boston’s Hancock Tower. With his work firmly ensconced as part of the backdrop for many world-class cities, Pei’s work has been an unmistakably powerful influence on art and architecture around the globe.

Louise Baker is a freelance author and journalist. She currently writes about online degrees for Zen College Life, where she most recently ranked the top online colleges.