Let’s dissect this young man, shall we?
1. He’s gay.
Let’s just get this out of the way. It’ll be everybody’s first thoughts upon watching that video.
In theory, it’s wrong to generalize somebody based on observing them for only a few minutes. But it’s as evident as can be. He acts the part, sounds the part, and even used the words “sky” and “majestically” in the same sentence. As sure as I am that the grass is green, the sky is blue, and that I will not get laid this weekend — that kid is gay.
He has every right to be as ecstatic as he wants, he just won a $75,000 scholarship for Christ’s sake. But his celebration is very overly flamboyant, and of course, that is going to attract ridicule. Just look at the first YouTube comment that has 17 likes, saying “That dude’s totally gay.”
2. He’s a hell of a lot smarter than you and me. Combined.
Once you get past his flamboyant jubilation, his high-pitched voice and his diatribe about majestic skies, he begins to elaborate on the project he created. And that’s when you start to forget about everything else and think, “this dude’s really, really frickin’ smart.”
His creation supposedly detects pancreatic cancer in its earliest stages, and he explains how it works by throwing terms like antibodies, molecules, atoms, Carbon and proteins in our faces.
I tried as hard as I could to listen and follow what he was saying; heck, I even listened to it twice. I just couldn’t. I zoned out somewhere between ninth grade earth science and tenth grade biology, and that’s where my science career ended.
You can even see as he’s explaining his project, at the 3:20 mark, the slightest trace of a smirk on his face, and even though he doesn’t miss a beat while explaining his scientific concoctions, you can tell that he’s looking at his interviewer straight in the eyes and thinking, “This dude has no fucking clue what I’m talking about.”
3. He will save lives.
While I sure as hell couldn’t explain the science behind it, what I understand is that his project is a simple paper sensor that is able to detect pancreatic cancer. Apparently an excess of a certain type of antibody causes the cancer, and if you contain that excess, the paper sensor will somehow show it.
The brilliance lies in the fact that it’s extremely simple, and the materials he used to make it cost him not dollars, but cents. Also, the importance is that it detects the cancer before it becomes invasive, and thus it can be treated before it’s too late.
Of course, people still don’t make a habit of regularly checking themselves for pancreatic cancer, no matter how simple the test is, so plenty of people will still die. But maybe doctors will begin administering the test during yearly physicals. Either way, it sounds like it does have the potential to save a lot of lives.
That’s not too shabby of a science project. I get excited when I create a drinkable cup using a piece of paper. This kid created a cancer sensor. And he’s 15.
4. In 100 years, he will be remembered — you won’t.
I’m sure somewhere during the next century, another invention will come along that will innovate cancer study equally as much as this one, if not to a greater extent. But if this kid’s creation is really as simple a sit sounds, then it will really take a hell of a creation to top. At the very least, he has officially set the bar as far as cancer detection goes.
Jonas Salk created the polio vaccine. That was in 1955. I know his name because he accomplished something extraordinary. Salk apparently had two younger brothers, but I do not know their names. That is because they did not accomplish something extraordinary.
Polio was a deadly disease, killing 3,100 people in 1952 in the U.S. alone. Because of Salk’s vaccine, the disease is now practically nonexistent.
Will this kid become as famous and memorable as Jonas Salk in fifty or a hundred years? Who knows. But his accomplishment will still be known.
Oh, and the kid’s name is Jack Andraka.
5. If I were his father, I couldn’t be more proud of him.
Umm, duh. Your son may have just cured three forms of deadly cancer. He won $75,000. That calls for a celebratory family dinner.
Everyone dreams, upon having children, that they will go on to accomplish something great. Maybe you even wish for them to accomplish the things that you were never able to accomplish.
Would it be nice for your kid to grow up to have the same exact interests in you? Sure. But I think, first and foremost, you want them to try hard, live life the right way, and make a difference in the world.
I think detecting and preventing cancer qualifies.
What was this kid’s sexual orientation again?
Does it matter?