Magazine article New York Times Upfront

A Young Scientist's Life: It's Not All in the Lab

Magazine article New York Times Upfront

A Young Scientist's Life: It's Not All in the Lab

Article excerpt

It was the final week of the Intel Science Talent Search last March in Washington, D.C., and I was having dinner with some new friends. Boris and Linda were sitting on my right. They were exploring math problems on a dinner napkin. To my left was Andrei--he was talking about The Simpsons. I had a tie around my head (as did Boris) as we ate.

It was silly and smart--the perfect culmination of our time together. All of the talent-search finalists got to experience the intellect, interests, and good humor of some of the brightest science students in the nation.

The young researchers I met there were not the same kind of students I was used to seeing in school, where at times I felt I didn't belong. Crass humor was replaced with scientific wit:

"A bar walks into two guys. Oh, wait! Wrong frame of reference." It may not have been the funniest joke in the world, but I surely appreciated it more than the jokes I was used to hearing from some of my high school peers.

Another thing I love about meeting fellow students through science competitions is their diverse interests. My roommate at the Intel finals was a rock climber. The aforementioned Linda taught me how to swing dance.

As for me, in addition to now being a swing dancer and a novice rock climber, I love playing my alto saxophone in the jazz band. I love watching the New York Mets dominate the lower half (or if I'm lucky, the upper half!) of the National League. And I live to see my favorite punk bands play live. …

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