This UAE Teenage Prodigy Wants to Change the World With Science
By Muhammed Aladdin
At a point in life, most teenagers are on the look for what makes them passionate, and how it could help them develop a career, but not Aliaa Al-Mansoori, no. The 16-year-old science prodigy has already figured out what she wants to do with her life; she wants to change the world.
Like all teenagers, Al-Mansoori has a list of things she wants to do before she is thirty. On her list, she wants to explore outer space and plant the UAE flag on Mars.
After becoming New York University Abu Dhabi’s youngest researcher, she intends on making good on her promise. She is looking up to Einstein who discovered the theory of relativity when he was just 26 and said, in a rather famous quote, that if a person does not add a major contribution to science before 30, they would never do so later on.
The young lady hopes she will join a major company once graduated and go on with her research and ideas to leave her mark in science.
The 11th grade at Al-Mawakeb School in Dubai started her research fellowship last week and told The National that she wants to learn more every day to help her in making a major scientific discovery that would revolutionize the world for the better. A few scientists do that, maybe once at the end of their careers, but she wants to do it early on to have room to do more things in the future.
“My dream is to do something related to space; a really big piece of research that would be able to help humans go to space and be able to live there safely and healthily. That’s the goal for me.” Al-Mansoori stated.
In her two-year fellowship at the New York University Abu Dhabi, Al-Mansoori will work on developing her laboratory skills, carrying out tissue culture, staining techniques, and protein extractions. She will also be working with molecular biology as she wants to understand more about how conditions at space affect genes and DNA.
Al-Mansoori first came to the spotlight when she won the UAE Genes in Space Award in 2017, where she worked on an experiment on genes that were placed in the International Space Station. Ever since then, she has been jumping from one achievement to the other.
Last summer, she enlisted in a training program at Harvard University, which helped her figure out her next move. Al-Mansoori plans to study for a bachelor degree in science at either Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Stanford University.
Her passion for knowledge has manifested early during her childhood, and the credit goes to her elder brother Mohammed, who is currently working as a forensic scientist. “Every time we’d have dinner or lunch, we’d sit together and he’d ask me random science questions, and I’d ask him questions,” she said.
But it is not all science that she is passionate about, Alia Al-Mansoori loves doing sports especially Brazilian jujitsu. It helps her feel more confident and concentrate more in the laboratory.