Saturday, July 12, 2008
A year ago a footage emerged from a remote village in India . The video showed a young girl receiving surgery to separate her fingers, which were badly burned and fused together. Why did this operation make headlines around the world? The surgery was performed by a 7-year-old boy named Akrit Jaswal.
Now 13 years old, Akrit has an IQ of 146 and is considered the smartest person his age in India -a country of more than a billion people. Before Akrit could even speak, his parents say they knew he was special.
'He learned very fast,' says Raksha, Akrit's mother. 'After learning the alphabet, we started to teach him joining of words, and he started writing as well. He was two.'
At an age when most children are learning their ABCs, Akrit was reading Shakespeare and assembling a library of medical textbooks. When he was 5 years old, he enrolled in school. One year later, Akrit was teaching English and math classes.
Akrit developed a passion for science and anatomy at an early age. Doctors at local hospitals took notice and started allowing him to observe surgeries when he was 6 years old. Inspired by what he saw, Akrit read everything he could on the topic. When an impoverished family heard about his amazing abilities, they asked if he would operate on their daughter for free. Her surgery was a success.
After the surgery, Akrit was hailed as a medical genius in India . Neighbors and strangers flocked to him for advice and treatment. At age 11, Akrit was admitted to Punjab University .. He's the youngest student ever to attend an Indian university. That same year, he was also invited to London 's famed Imperial College to exchange ideas with scientists on the cutting edge of medical research.
Akrit says he has millions of medical ideas, but he's currently focused on developing a cure for cancer. 'I've developed a concept called oral gene therapy on the basis of my research and my theories,' he says. 'I'm quite dedicated towards working on this mechanism.'
Growing up, Akrit says he used to see cancer patients lying on the side of the road because they couldn't afford treatment or hospitals had no space for them. Now, he wants to use his intellect to ease their suffering. '[I've been] going to hospitals since the age of 6, so I have seen firsthand people suffering from pain,' he says. 'I get very sad, and so that's the main motive of my passion about medicine, my passion about cancer.'
Currently, Akrit is working toward a bachelor's degrees in zoology, botany and chemistry. Someday, he hopes to continue his studies at Harvard University .
Sunday, July 6, 2008
The longest one-syllable word in the English language is "screeched.""Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".Almonds are members of the peach family.The symbol on the "pound" key (#) is called an octothorpe.The dot over the letter 'i' is called a tittle.Ingrown toenails are hereditary.The word "set" has more definitions than any other word in the English language."Underground" is the only word in the English language that begins and ends with the letters "und."There are only four words in the English language which end in"-dous" tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.The only other word with the same amount of letters is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses, its plural.The longest place-name still in use is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimau ngahoronukupokaiwenuakitanatahu, a New Zealand hill.Los Angeles's full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula" and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size, "L.A." A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.In most advertisments, including newspapers, the time displayed on a watch is 10:10.Telly Savalas and Louis Armstrong died on their birthdays.Donald Duck's middle name is Fauntleroy.Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.The muzzle of a lion is like a fingerprint - no two lions have the same pattern of whiskers.Steely Dan got their name from a sexual device depicted in the book 'The Naked Lunch'.A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.The Ramses brand condom is named after the great phaoroh Ramses II who fathered over 160 children.There is a seven letter word in the English language that contains ten words without rearranging any of its letters, "therein" the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.Duelling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.John Larroquette of "Night Court" and "The John Larroquette Show" was the narrator of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra's "Its A Wonderful Life"A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.It was discovered on a space mission that a frog can throw up.The frog throws up its stomach first, so the stomach is dangling out of it's mouth.Then the frog uses its forearms to dig out all of the stomach's contents and then swallows the stomach back down again.Cranberries are sorted for ripeness by bouncing them; a fully ripened cranberry can be dribbled like a basketball.The male gypsy moth can "smell" the virgin female gypsy moth from 1.8 miles away.The letters KGB stand for Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti.The name for Oz in the "Wizard of Oz" was thought up when the creator, Frank Baum, looked at his filing cabinet and saw A-N, and O-Z, hence "Oz."The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.'Stewardesses' is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand.To "testify" was based on men in the Roman court swearing to a statement made by swearing on their testicles.The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways.The following sentence contains them all "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning "containing arsenic."Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat," which means "the king is dead".The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days of lore when the engines were pulled by horses.The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.