The Ultimate List Of 15 Asian Scientists To Watch – Yi So-Yeon
By Juliana Chan | List
May 15, 2011
We have traversed the far-flung corners of science, medicine, engineering, and technology to come up with this list of 15 scientists who represent the movers and shakers of Asia.
#11: Yi So-Yeon (이소연), Astronaut
Now here’s an amazing career.
On April 8, 2008, at 30 years of age, Dr. Yi became the first Korean and the second Asian woman (defined as a female resident of an Asian country) to fly in space, after Chiaki Mukai of Japan. She makes South Korea the third country, after the United Kingdom and Iran, to have a woman as its first space traveler.
Originally a South Korean scientist and PhD graduate of KAIST University in Seoul, Korea, Dr. Yi was launched into space on board Soyuz TMA-12, with two Russian cosmonauts.
During her mission, Dr. Yi carried out 18 science experiments for KARI. In particular, she took with her 1,000 fruit flies and monitored the way the changes in gravity alter the behavior of the flies, or their genome. Other experiments involved the growth of plants in space, the study of the behavior of her heart, and the effects of gravity change on the pressure in her eye and shape of her face. Dr. Yi also observed the movement of dust storms from China to Korea, and measured the noise levels on board the ISS.
After her flight missions ended, Dr. Yi is now a researcher at KARI and one of Korea’s space ambassadors.