By Matthew Zacher ’18
Dr. Ramon Tussell addressed the Phoenix March for Science regarding the importance of immigrant contribution in the science community.
The march, held on April 14th, featured a series of 15 speakers ranging from Congressman Ruben Gallego to science students, teachers and professionals from across the Valley. Roughly 1,000 people attended.
Dr. Tussell, an immigrant himself, said he wanted to speak out about his journey coming to the United States and earning a PhD in chemistry.
Dr. Tussell said he would not have been able to earn his PhD without support from the transgovernmental organizations that funded his research: the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health.
“Basically this funding is an investment from the government to advance science,” Dr. Tussell said. “I spoke to the importance of having diversity in science and in the United States in general.”
Dr. Tussell added that there are countless immigrants who have come to the United States to do research and basically revolutionized the world as we know it.
“Albert Einstein came to the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany and he revolutionized the field of physics,” he said.
Dr. Tussell also brought up Maria Goeppert-Mayer, another immigrant physicist who won a Nobel Prize for developing the nuclear shell model.
Science Department Chair Mr. Andy Mazzolini was at the march with Dr. Tussell.
“All these things do not get discovered without a group effort of people with very diverse viewpoints of looking at the same topic,” Mr. Mazzolini said. “That is where you get the strength of diversity within science–when you have people looking at things slightly differently.”
Dr. Tussell said that while there were concerns in the past that these research funding organizations were going to be cut, but they have indeed been funded recently.
“As a nation, we always need to invest in science and research,” Dr. Tussell said. “Those programs should not be cut.”
Senior Roberto Peralta ’18 is in Dr. Tussell’s AP Physics II Class, and he said Dr. Tussell has a remarkable understanding of physics and chemistry.
While Peralta was unable to attend the march, he said that Dr. Tussell’s message of the importance of immigrants in science could not be truer.
“I think that immigrants are some of the most important people in building our future in that they are especially driven and innovative people,” Peralta said. “Their unique perspective is integral to advancing science and I think that Dr. Tussell fully embodies this idea. He is always finding new ways to connect our education to real-world experiences.”