Asian American Scholar Forum Launches Education Project Spotlighting the Invisible Stories of Asian American Scientists and Inventors

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May 31, 2023

Media Contact: Mary Tablante, Asian American Scholar Forum,

Washington, D.C.— Today, the Asian American Scholar Forum launched, “Project Pioneer” to educate the public on the history of Asian American pioneers and scholars who have contributed to our country and the world. We are kicking off this crucial project this month by partnering with the National Science Foundation on our first video series lifting up Asian American inventors who have significantly impacted our everyday lives.

We are proud to feature the contributions of the following Asian American trailblazers: 

  • Dr. Simon Sze and Dr. Dawon Kahng (1931-92) co-discovered the floating-gate memory effect in 1967, which enabled the development of flash memory that allows us to store hundreds of feature movies on a USB stick and endless videos on a cell phone.    
  • Dr. Nasir Ahmed invented Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) in early 1970s, which is the technology foundation for audio, images, and video compression.  His invention helps us connect with our colleagues, family and friends in video meetings regardless of the physical distance.
  • Dr. Raj Reddy pioneered continuous speech-recognition technology in 1974 that enables a computer to understand full sentences of a human speech.  Our kids can now talk to Alexa or Siri to make magic happen.
  • Dr. M.C. Frank Chang developed high-performance and low-cost power amplifiers in the early 1990s for mobile communication chips developed during the past three decades for mass production of cell phones.  Today with a small battery, we can spend hours on cell phones instead of minutes.
  • Dr. Teresa Meng invented how to build highly integrated radio-on-a-chip in the late 1990s which revolutionized wireless communication.  Her company Atheros Communications, Inc. pioneered Wi-Fi technologies which allow most devices to connect us together wherever we go.   

“These Asian American pioneers are some of the world’s brightest minds whose groundbreaking work has not only revolutionized several key science and technology fields, but also enhanced our understanding of the world, and improved the way we live, work, and communicate,” said Dr. Kai Li, AASF Vice President. “Their accomplishments have paved the way for future generations, breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes.  It is a great honor to champion the achievements of these remarkable individuals to inspire all Americans, particularly young people and underrepresented groups.”  

“AASF is proud to launch this project to honor the immense contributions of Asian American inventors and pioneers who have paved the way for the technology people in the U.S. and around the world use every day in our modern world,” said Gisela Perez Kusakawa, Esq., AASF Executive Director. “Their inventions have become an integral part of our everyday lives helping us stay connected with our family, friends, and loved ones from being able to do Zoom video calls on our laptops to using our smartphones in all corners of the world. Let us celebrate the achievements of these inventors and send a message of hope for inclusivity for our future. What a pleasure for AASF to launch this project and strive for the inclusion and visibility of Asian American scholars in our American history.”

“Our country benefits from the many Asian immigrants that come to this country. Many, like myself, voted with our feet and came to the United States for the promise of a country where we can be free and pursue life, liberty, and happiness,” said Dr. Yasheng Huang, AASF President. “The United States has always depended on the innovations of Asian Americans and other immigrants and we will work to ensure that the environment is such that all of us can succeed and thrive in the country we call home.”

Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) is a national non-profit that promotes academic belonging, openness, freedom, and equality for all. In response to heightened anti-Asian sentiments and profiling in the U.S., AASF has been a leading national voice fighting for the rights of Asian American and immigrant scientists, researchers, and scholars. AASF membership includes members from the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, in addition to past and current university presidents, provost, vice provosts, deans, associate deans and past and current department chairs.