By Leonard Rodriguez

This column highlights inspiring stories of Latino leaders. For more than 500 years, Latino men and wom- en have positively influenced the face of United States society. Let us celebrate these outstanding hispanics.

Walter Alvarez

In the 1970s, Walter Alvarez, with his father Luis Alvarez, the 1968 Physics Nobel Prize winner, developed the “Impact Theory” of dinosaur extinction. Following his discovery of an iridium-rich layer of sediment, commonly found in meteorites, Walter, with his father, theorized that a massive asteroid collided with the earth, which ultimately led to the extinction of dinosaurs.

The impact theory sparked much debate on the extinction of dinosaurs and led to more research in the field of paleontology, geology and astrophysics.

In 1988, Walter and Luis received an honor rarely bestowed to living scientists: The International Astronomical Union named a new asteroid– Asteroid Alvarez– after the father-and-son team.