14-year-old Anika Chebrolu was just named the winner of the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge, an annual innovation competition hosted in partnership with Discovery Education. The eight-grader from Frisco, Texas earned the ‘America’s Top Young Scientist’ title for using in-silico methods to identify a molecule that can selectively bind to the Spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in an attempt to develop a potential cure – in the form of a novel antiviral drug – for COVID-19.
When Anika entered 3M’s 2020 Young Scientist Challenge her original goal was to identify a lead compound that could bind to a protein of the influenza virus to develop a novel anti-influenza drug. But she switched gears when the COVID-19 pandemic quickly spread across the globe. In an interview with CNN, the young scientist whose future goal is to be a medical researcher and professor explained, “Because of the immense severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the drastic impact it had made on the world in such a short time, I, with the help of my mentor, changed directions to target the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
Of her reasons for entering the Young Scientist Challenge Anika said, “I have always been amazed by science experiments since my childhood and I was drawn towards finding effective cures for Influenza disease after a severe bout of the infection last year. I would like to learn more from 3M scientists to pursue my drug development and with their help, would like to conduct in-vitro and in-vivo testing of my lead drug candidate.”
In taking this year’s top prize, which includes the ‘America’s Top Young Scientist’ title, a $25,000 cash prize, and a one-of-a-kind 2 day/1-night destination trip, Anika competed against nine other finalists.
Source: Women You Should Know Website
Today in Science –> In 1642 Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei dies in Italy at age 77. Born February 15, 1564, Galileo has been referred to as the “father of modern astronomy,” the “father of modern physics” and the “father of science” due to his revolutionary discoveries. The first person to use a telescope to observe the skies, Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, sunspots and the solar rotation. After Galileo published his confirmation that the Earth orbits the Sun, in favor of the Copernican system, he was charged with heresies (ideas that ran counter to teaching of the church) by the Inquisition—the legal body of the Catholic church. He was found guilty in 1633 and sentenced to life imprisonment but due to his age and poor health he was allowed to serve out his sentence under house arrest.
Notable born on this day in History —> On this date in 1942, cosmologist Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford, England, “300 years after the death of Galileo,” as he points out at his Web site. He attended Oxford, studying physics, then earned his Ph.D. in cosmology at Cambridge. Hawking is celebrated for his work on unifying General Relativity with Quantum Theory.
“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”
“All that my work has shown is that you don’t have to say that the way the universe began was the personal whim of God.”
~ Stephen Hawking
“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
~ Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
Zhang Heng was born in 78 CE in the town of Xi’e, in what is now Henan Province, in Han Dynasty China. At 17, he left home to study literature and train to be a writer. By his late 20s, Zhang had become a skilled mathematician and was called to the court of Emperor An-ti, who, in 115 CE, made him Chief Astrologer.
Zhang lived at a time of rapid advances in science. In addition to his astronomical work, he devised a water-powered armillary sphere (a model of the celestial objects) and invented the world’s first seismometer, which was ridiculed until, in 138 CE, it successfully recorded an earthquake 250 miles (400 km) away. He also invented the first odometer to measure distances traveled in vehicles, and a nonmagnetic, south-pointing compass in the form of a chariot. Zhang was a distinguished poet, whose works give us vivid insights into the cultural life of his day.
Born in the Polish city of Torun in 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus was the youngest of four children of a wealthy merchant. His father died when Nicolaus was 10. An uncle took him under his wing and oversaw his education at the University of Krakow. He spent several years in Italy studying medicine and law, returning in 1503 to Poland, where he joined the canonry under his uncle, who was now Prince-Bishop of Warmia.
Copernicus was a master of both languages and mathematics, translating several important works and developing ideas about economics, as well as working on his astronomical theories. The theory he outlined in De Revolutionibus was daunting in its mathematical complexity, so while many recognized its significance, it was not widely adopted by astronomers for practical everyday use.