Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski has been called a “ genius” and “the next Einstein.”
This Cuban-American says those labels bother her, but they’re hard to avoid. At 16, she became the youngest person ever to build and fly her own plane ( and to document the process on YouTube). That same year, she was accepted to MIT, where she graduated with a perfect GPA, at the top of her class.
Today, at 24, she’s doing her postgraduate studies in high energy physics at Harvard. In her second year there, she worked on an experiment involving the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world. She has been on the cover of numerous publications and invited to elite scientific conferences around the world.
Revolutionary astrophysicist Stephen Hawking , commonly cited next in line behind Einstein as the most intelligent man of the modern age, cited Pasterski’s work in a study about black holes. Pasterski now focuses on quantum gravity, or how gravity affects space and time at the subatomic level, where the laws of physics are different to those we experience in our daily lives. Her findings could change what we know about space and time, which, according to her mentors at Harvard, puts her on a similar level as Einstein and Hawking.
How does she define herself? “I’m just a postgrad student,” she says on her website. “I have so much to learn. I don’t deserve the attention.”
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This story was produced in collaboration with Univision Contigo, Univision's social responsibility team.