Anyone remotely interested in science has watched the popular TV show The Big Bang Theory, and whether or not you are a fan, you would have thought of the character Sheldon as purely fictional. As rare a happening as that might be, there are real people as genius as that. While most of us regular people graduate at the age around 23 and spend a few years figuring out the path of our lives, the physics girl Sabrina Pasterski had it sorted as a teenager.
A native girl of Chicago, Sabrina Gonzales Pasterski has already become one of the most renowned physicists of the world, having been hailed as the Einstein or Stephen Hawking of the future. Pasterski graduated from MIT with the highest possible GPA of 5.0 and recently got into a Ph.D. program at Harvard.
Enlisting all of her achievements may take a while, but the most remarkable one has to be the fixed wing single engine plane that she built at the tender age of 13. In 2006, Sabrina began working on the N5886Q aircraft at the age of 12 in her father’s garage. In the next one year and, a half, she completed the construction.
It is worth mentioning that she got her pilot’s license in 2004, well before building the plane so she could even fly her creation. Her YouTube channel goes by the name “PhysicsGirl” and also features the video titled “Sabrina 2006: Building an Airplane for My Dad,” where she explains the process of her airplane building.
“At 10, I had bought an engine rebuild stand, cheap eBay red tagged (damaged) crankcase/crankshaft/cylinders/pistons/etc to repeatedly practice building and tearing down an O-200A engine in the foyer outside my bedroom. It was then disassembled, painted, and transported to KARR. It was certified as an airworthy E-LSA on January 11, 2008, and flew its maiden flight four days later, on January 15th. It was kept in Phase I flight testing for my first U.S. solo which I conducted in it on August 24th of 2009 at age 16.” her website reads.
Despite the marvelous achievement, she did not restrict herself to aeronautical engineering and dove into the deep world of physics, exploring the complex queries still in question by the genius minds like Stephen Hawking. Just the previous year, a paper was published co-authored by Stephen W. Hawking, Malcolm J. Perry, and Andrew Strominger, citing three of Sabrina Pasterski’s papers.
Pasterski is clearly not the one who would be looking for a job when she finally gets out of academia, it will be huge companies desperately looking for minds like hers. The Blue Origin founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has already announced that she will have a job at his aerospace company whenever she is ready. The airplane building child in her was meant to do something along the same lines.
Her major research revolves around “quantum gravity”, and she aims to explore the nature of black holes and the ideas of gravity and space-time. Our understanding of the universe will change immensely if she reaches her goal of explaining gravity in the context of quantum mechanics.
“Years of pushing the bounds of what I could achieve led me to physics. Physics itself is exciting enough. It’s not like a 9-to-5 thing. When you’re tired you sleep, and when you’re not, you do physics,” she explained.
Sabrina Pasterski hopes to do something great in life, and the rest of the world is holding on to her hopes.