Welcome to my love of science | Alexander Link

What could possibly persuade someone to devote nine years of his life to astrophysics?

  • BY Wire Service
  • Thursday, September 19, 2013 4:32pm
  • Opinion

What could possibly persuade someone to devote nine years of his life to astrophysics? As it turns out, Neil Armstrong lit the first spark in my search for a passion. In third grade I had to choose an interesting, notable figure and assemble a trifold display discussing him, among other things.

I spent nearly a week considering the dazzling array of interesting people who contributed to the betterment of humanity. There were several obvious choices — Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein all made their appearance, but I was looking for someone who contributed both socially and scientifically. After a dozen hours considering my possibilities, I chose to select Neil Armstrong.

I learned a great deal about Neil Armstrong and his work uniting a country, furthering science, and ending the decade spanning scientific feud between the USA and USSR with a single monumental step. My admiration for Armstrong has never faltered for several reasons, including his large role in sparking my interest in his field. My assignment ended in November of 2004, but to this day I have held and fostered an interest in all things science, but especially astronomy.

In order to satiate my ever growing fascination, I read a wide variety of books covering atomics, nucleonic physics, Einsteinian Mechanics, Quantum physics and yes, astrophysics. From Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” to Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time,” I have been quite busy learning everything I can about the universe in which we all live. The more I learn, however, the greater my interest in the subject…and in someone with which to share all that I have learned over time. It is for the former reason that I have chosen to pursue astrophysics, and for the latter that I have chosen to share this with you.

While my largest interest, astronomy is not my only interest. I have been with the Tahoma Robotics Team since 2010, serving on both the junior and high school robotics teams. During this time I have learned a great deal about mechanical engineering, including the use of a CAD program called inventor and a Fabrication Interface, a program which takes a CAD file and translates it into instructions allowing a machine to cut metal in the shape of the CAD program. If I made a chair in CAD, this program would tell a mill how to cut the chair. Once done, it simply takes the push of a button to make this chair a reality. This year I plan to learn programming, a skill which is both useful to the team and may well be useful later in life.

I am also on the Tahoma Math Team, where I serve as vice president and teacher coordinator. This year, we hope to attend nationals in Florida, and are taking a more competitive approach this year, which I am greatly looking forward to. On the rare occasion when I get free time, I often spend it doing community service — I spent almost 100 hours at the Maple Valley Food Bank over the summer — writing science fiction stories, and, naturally reading more scientific works. I also had the opportunity to read Hyperspace by Machio Kaku over the summer.

I hope you enjoy reading what I have to say as I am certainly excited to share it with you!

Alexander Link is a junior at Tahoma High School. He is a self-described math nerd currently taking two Advanced Placement math courses in addition to his interest in science. He can be reached at editor@maplevalleyreporter.com.

 


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