By Kabir Basu, Grade 8
Science is a torch used to shine light upon the mysteries of this world. A torch that is held by not one, not two, but the collective hands of humankind. And perhaps the best reflection of this are the people who have contributed to this field. There have been various people with differing abilities who have increased our knowledge of the world around us, three of whom I will elaborate on in this article.
One of the most famous scientific thinkers of all time, Albert Einstein needs no introduction. Acknowledged as the greatest physicist of his time, Einstein is known for his theory of relativity as well as his work in quantum mechanics. From a young age, he suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome, which caused difficulty in communicating clearly and made him socially awkward. Einstein could also have had dyscalculia, a learning disorder that makes one visualize mathematics differently from others. However, this could have been what allowed him to formulate theories that are still relevant today. Einstein is an example of how different ways of thinking can lead to progress.
He’s not the only one. Sir John Cornforth was an Australian chemist who suffered from otosclerosis, a condition that causes the bones of the middle ear to stop transmitting sound. However, this did not hinder his interest in chemistry. After graduating at the top of his class, he studied at the University of Sydney. Even though he was not able to clearly hear lectures, he spent most of his time reading original research and scientific literature to make up for that. Cornforth went on to receive a Nobel Prize in 1975 for his achievements in the field of stereochemistry; demonstrating that no matter your difficulties, determination, and passion for what you enjoy ensures fulfillment.
Sang-Mook Lee is a Korean scientist working in the field of computational techniques. In 2006, he suffered a car accident that left him paralyzed below the shoulders. But he described it as a transformative experience. He began investing in education for differently-abled students and creating various technologies that allowed the use of computers without employing one’s limbs, which in turn, opened up careers in computation for differently-abled students. His is an impactful story of how the urge to help can turn weaknesses into strengths.
Inspired by the figures I have spoken to, I believe humankind is about the paradox of unity in difference – we are elevated by our individuality. Science reflects this in how it can be divided into the unique fields of chemistry, biology, and physics, but is only complete when they are studied together.