Ever watched a movie and was completely swayed by it? Well, that isn’t very rare; we have great movies coming up every now and then and most of them manage to leave us in awe. But that’s all, right? Have you ever been inspired by it and thought of implying that in your life, rather than just talking about it for a couple of weeks and poof! everything’s gone. I certainly know the latter is the case with most of us. Very few of us actually sustain the thoughts we gained after watching the movie.
You ought to be made familiar with a student’s journey. Minhal Ahmed, a fifth-year bioengineering student in the Northeastern University shared his experience; how Star Wars inspired him to fight disease. During his freshmen year in the Northeastern University, he had an epiphany while he was diligently listening to a Ted talk by Eliane Hsiao on mind-altering microbes living in our digestive tracts; studies showing their contribution in diseases ranging from inflammation to diabetes and even disorders such as depression. At that point of time, the reminiscences of his childhood when he watched the first episode of Star Wars, “The Phantom Menace” came across him; Anakin’s impressive midi-chlorian (Intelligent microscopic forms, living inside cells of living beings and allowing their host to detect the pervasive energy field; the force) count that led Qui-Gon to title him “The Chosen One,” the prophesied Jedi who would restore balance to the Force. He recollected everything: a crystallization of his worldview, his love for science, the metaphor from Star Wars and the thought that the meaning of his religion Islam is “submission”.
Considering the microbiota to be real life midi-chlorian, he devised a microfluidic device—a plastic chip with small channels to culture cells. Thus, that can be used to mimic how sensory cells in the gut communicate with the brain, which is a connection that has become an emerging area of study in recent years. Putting forward his views in front of the Hodgkinson Award committee helped him to score Harold D. Hodgkinson Achievement Award. Also, this made Ahmed become one amongst the several honorees celebrated by President Joseph E. Aoun at Academic Honors Convocation at the Northeastern University. Minhal Ahmed’s story is an inspiration. He managed to amalgamate his knowledge of science with fiction to fight disease.
People, I would suggest each one of you should gain something from your bingeing time.