007 My Chemistry Dreams Come True

Got a picture with Roald Hoffman!

When I was in tenth grade chemistry, my chemistry teacher showed us a video, The World of Chemistry, of her favorite chemist, Roald Hoffman. Ever since, her love for him has rubbed off onto me. When I heard he was a professor here at Cornell last year, I was more than excited when I got accepted. I immediately made it my goal to meet this Nobel Prize winner. I guess I got pretty lucky because out of everyone who went to my high school in the past 4 years, no one has ever been able to find him! However, I saw a sign for a lecture in chemistry. Initially, I thought, Pssh, who would ever want to go to an extra chemistry lecture at night? Then I saw it. His name on the top of the poster. I cancelled all my plans that night, as nerdy as it sounds, to attend this lecture. When I told my friends about it, they all thought I was crazy weird, and I suppose I would have thought so as well. But none of that mattered because I GOT A PICTURE WITH HIM. His lecture was very thought-provoking and talked about protochemistries throughout cultures. It was much, much different than the typical chemistry lectures which deal with quantum mechanics or oxidation-reduction reactions. Instead, he strung a handful of cultural stories using chemistry. He focused more on the importance of pure experiment in order to gain knowledge, rather than the technicalities of chemical concepts he mentioned. It was very interesting and almost philosophical, and made me think about myself as a scientist and student. I was very impressed with his lecture and so amazed that I had the opportunity to learn from him. Although I felt like the only freshman in that room and probably the only student who went up to talk to him after the lecture, none of that mattered because I GOT A PICTURE WITH ROALD HOFFMAN. As a graduation present, my high school chemistry teacher gave me her signed book by Roald Hoffman. I was so moved that I brought it to college, hoping that one day, I would meet the idol of my idol. I brought the book to the lecture and I could tell he was a bit surprised that I had even read it. Anyway, this all sounds pretty creepy and nerdy, but I am so glad I came to Cornell. There are so many opportunities here to meet such highly recognized individuals and it truly is inspiring.

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2 Responses to 007 My Chemistry Dreams Come True

  1. Emily says:

    This is awesome! So glad you got the chance to meet him.

  2. Great story! So interesting

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