Every year the National Hockey League awards the Hart Memorial Trophy to the league's most valuable player. This past season they chose Sidney Cosby, the Canadian-born Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Cosby's achievements certainly warranted recognition. Cosby took the league by storm becoming when he entered in 2005 and last year scored the most goals, the first time a teenager every accomplished this not only in hockey, but any North American major professional sports league. Cosby won the Art Ross Trophy last season for scoring all those goals. He also won the Lester B. Pearson Award which is presented to the player chosen by the NHL Players Association for the most valuable player. Cosby is just the seventh player in NHL's 90 year history to win all three awards in the same season.
When I was a kid, I loved Popular Science Magazine. I just loved to read about amazing discoveries, new technologies, and the flying car future we were all promised back in the 70s. I stopped reading the magazine when I became all serious and pre-law. But I recently re-discovered the magazine and now remember why I liked it so much. This month, the magazine is featuring its 6th annual Brillian Ten list of promising young American scientists. Not surprisingly, several are immigrants. So I intend to feature a few of them in this column.
I'm starting with Gaspar Bakos, a young Hungarian astronomer who has made a number of exciting discoveries using a relatively inexpensive telescope he helped to invent.
Tony Plana is the Cuban-born actor who plays Ignacio Suarez on the hit ABC sitcom Ugly Betty. Suarez has had a long and distinguished career on stage and screen. His role on Ugly Betty has a particular significance to this forum because his character, Betty's father, is an unauthorized immigrant from Mexico and his immigration problems have been an important part of the show's storyline. Ignacio Suarez represents one of the twelve million here without status and the creators of the show have done a tremendous service by humanizing their plight. Ignacio is not a criminal or someone simply out to steal a job from an American. He's a good man who works hard and tries to pass on good values to his children and grandchild. The antis have done everything they can to paint unauthorized immigants as a collective "other" who warrant no sympathy. But when Ignacio is arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and later deported, the audience of this top-rated show got to see just how much pain it caused the family. No other prime time show on a major television network has, to my knowledge, addressed this issue before in such depth and for that Mr. Plana should take some pride in doing more for the cause of the unauthorized immigrant than almost anyone else in the country.
Frans Pretorius is included on Popular Science Magazine's Brilliant Ten annual list of outstanding young scientists in America. He was born in South Africa and received his university education in Canada and at CalTech. Dr. Pretorius is being honored for his development of computer simulations predicting what happens when black holes collide.
The fourth of the immigrants on Popular Science's Brilliant Ten list is Emin Gün Sirer. Sirer, an immigrant from Turkey who is a professor at Corneill, has his work described by Popular Science as follows:
In 2004, Emin Gün Sirer figured out how to hijack the FBI's Web site. The problem wasn't with the Feds; it was with the structure of the Internet itself. Anytime you type an address like "www.fbi.gov" into your browser, your request feeds through several servers that act as the phone booths of the Internet. Sirer realized that many of these directories were insecure and that a hacker could easily reroute all traffic meant for the FBI to a malicious doppelgänger site. "No one even knew this problem was there," says Ken Birman, Sirer's colleague at Cornell. "Gun showed it was there, and he showed how to fix it."
His modest solution? Reorganize the entire Internet. Sirer created a scheme that eliminates the need for vulnerable central servers by distributing information among thousands of smaller computers. The strategy now helps safeguard Web sites through the PlanetLab worldwide academic network—and could someday protect the Web as a whole.
Sirer is now working on a project to help identify doctored photos and emails.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.