Harvard Woman Who Built a Plane at Age 14 Being Wooed by Amazon and NASA

Sep 4, 2017

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If you think what you did in your teenage years doesn’t matter, consider Sabrina Pasterski. At the age of 14, the Chicago native built her own single-engine airplane and flew it across Lake Michigan. The 24-year-old — who graduated from MIT in just three years and at the top of her class, the first female in 20 years to do so — is one of the world’s most respected physicists. Her work has been cited by Stephen Hawking and she’s been dubbed the “Next Einstein” by National Geographic, among others. And at this very moment, she’s a PhD candidate at Harvard who is reportedly being recruited by both Amazon and NASA. No, Pasterski is not your average millennial.

Though she has a website, PhysicsGirl, which she updates regularly, ScoopWhoop reports that Pasterski does not maintain any personal social media accounts — no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, not even a LinkedIn page — nor does she own a smartphone, not that she’d need it. She has never had a boyfriend, smoked a cigarette or consumed an alcoholic beverage, telling MyDomaine that, “I’d rather stay alert and hopefully [be] known for what I do, and not what I don’t do. 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.”

What Pasterski does have is a standing offer from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who she has cited as one of her role models, to come join his Blue Origin team whenever she is ready. NASA has offered her pretty much the same deal.

While, for the moment, she seems content to continue her research into black holes and space-time, she has never forgotten her roots. “When I was little, I wanted to design spacecraft,” Pasterski told Marie Claire in 2016 of the desire that led her to build that airplane nearly a decade ago. “When you’re little, you say a lot of things about what you’ll do or be when you’re older — I think it’s important not to lose sight of those dreams.”

H/T: The Sun

Featured image courtesy Rich Polk/Getty Images for Young Women’s Honors.

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