Reprising my essay written for the Society of Plastics Engineers – Automotive Division (written at their request).
I was always scientifically and mathematically inclined. Some of my earliest memories are of growing mold on a piece of bread (deliberately); building towers out of blocks and trying to make them be both tall and strong (not understanding the concept of trade-offs); and arguing about the concept of infinity with a fellow preschooler (with me hopping mad that my fellow student said “infinity plus one”).
In elementary school I joined the after-school science club. We distilled water, looked at onion cells under a microscope, and– surreptitiously – I tried to make gunpowder…unsuccessfully.
In high school I took a science class every semester, and doubled up on classes my junior year. When the space shuttle launched, I swore I’d be on one someday, even if I had to superglue myself to the outside. To that end I made my own solid-fueled rocket, and test-fired it nose-down in the ground in our…
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