Posts Tagged ‘Extraordinary Scientists’

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Our planet has a lot of things to offer us, than when you look at history, countless developments and improvements have been made to make life more convenient for mankind. However, there are some times when developments slow down because of stagnation and the fear of change. Fortunately, there are those, who even in their young age continues to build upon what others have started and never stops looking for ways to make things better, people like Danielle Fong.

Danielle Fong is a young entrepreneur and scientist who is most popular for being one of the founders of LightSail Energy, Inc., an organization focused on improving technology for the betterment of people’s lives. Since she started her work, Danielle has greatly inspired many budding young scientists to stand up and not let the obstacles keep them from making their mark in changing the world.

Because of her determination and courage to face disappointments for the sake of advancing science, Danielle has been recognized and awarded by many publications and institutions. Among these are being included in Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” list, being named as one of the “Top 35 Innovators Under 35” by the MIT Technology Review, and honored among the “30 People Under 30 Who are Changing the World” by TIME Magazine, to name a few.

Danielle’s story is unique and extraordinary – she dropped from school when she was twelve years old, but not because of normal reasons like lack of finances or interest – rather, she was so ready for advanced studies that she entered her college studies at twelve, earning her degree five years later. She also dropped out of her doctorate studies, but later on went to become one of the most popular figures in the world of science and technology for her work.

Danielle says this in an interview when she was asked about her greatest accomplishment:

“Honestly, the two proudest moments in my life were dropping out of junior high and dropping out of graduate school. I’ll always remember to listen to myself if something’s just not feeling right – and I’ll always remember to strive to find something that does. I don’t know if that qualifies as an achievement, in the common idiom, but it’s something I’m proud of.”

All of this, because of her unyielding determination to improve the lives of others and her courage to stand against even the biggest of disappointments in her career. Danielle’s attitude towards failure is very remarkable – for her, failures do not keep you from succeeding – rather, they are there so you can figure out how to become more successful. Because of this, Danielle was able to stand back up and move nearer to the success that she has always been hoping for, in spite of all the disappointments that she faced along the way.

Danielle’s work may not seem that huge now, but in ten years or more, people would look back and say, ‘look at the things we enjoy today because someone like Danielle Fong stood up and not let her disappointments keep her from fighting for her dream of improving technology.’ Her story is an inspiration for everyone that if you keep on believing, there is nothing that will ever hold you back from achieving your goal.

“In five years, I hope to have caused the replacement of fossil fuels sufficient to power ten thousand people. In ten, I hope to have made renewables the economical choice for almost everywhere on our planet. And I hope to have helped hundreds of young entrepreneurs follow their dreams, and strike out, toward the unknown.”


  1. Danielle Fong is a co-founder and chief scientist of LightSail Energy, a highly successful organization that aims to improve technologies, more particularly the energy area, for the benefit of mankind.
  2. She entered college at age 12 and graduated with honors at only age 17.
  3. She left school twice, but emerged to become one of the most successful young scientists today.
  4. She was named by the MIT Technology Review as one of the “Top 35 Innovators Under 35 of 2012”.
  5. Her idea of using Compressed Air Energy Storage, once shunned by many experts, is now being widely accepted in the energy field.
  6. She was included in the “30 People Under 30 Who are Changing the World” by TIME Magazine.
  7. She was named as one of the “Sexiest Scientists Alive” by the Business Insider.
  8. Her remarkable resilience, determination and courage has enabled her to move forward in spite of the disappointments and criticisms she faced.
  9. She was named as one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” energy standouts.
  10. She became a member of the Thiel Fellowship.







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Gary Paul Nabhan is an ethnobotanist, agricultural ecologist and writer who is most known for his work in preserving the native plants and cultures of the Southwest regions of America, as well as his establishment of Native Seeds/SEARCH, a research organization focused on the local food movement. Once called the “lyrical scholar of genetic diversity,” Gary has been significant in the success of the local food industry because of his advocacy on preserving traditional food and culture.


An advocate for cultural preservation since his early teens, Gary has spent his career going from place to place, encouraging the locals to maintain the ‘uniqueness’ of their food culture. He believes that the only way that we can save the perilous situation of the American agricultural and food economy is by ‘re-localizing’ the food systems and promoting the local farmers.

As Gary says in an interview:

“My great joy lately has been moving from one foodshed to the next, from Alaska to Texas, helping to reinforce existing efforts that will conserve the unique flavors, fragrances and textures of each region on the continent. By re-localizing food systems, revitalizing historic foodways and providing producers with high-value niche markets that truly pay them what they’re worth, we can rescue America’s imperiled agriculture and food economy. There’s incredible momentum to democratize and rediversify our food system.”


Gary places an emphasis on building relationships, and that is why he loves to travel to different places and speak with farmers personally than supporting them from afar. For Gary, the best way that you can help innovate the local food industry is by building a relationship with the shops where you buy your food from and encourage them to use sustainable methods in producing the food they sell.

Gary elaborates this in an interview:

“It’s about relationship building. If we want to go back to that pork producer and say, ‘I’d feel a lot more comfortable with buying your pork if you had some perennial forages rather than a dry lot with open mud there. I’d really help promote your products to my neighbors if you could improve your practices.’ And then I hear, ‘I’ve always wanted to do that, but I’ve never had the incentive for it.’ We built a relationship that’s positively reinforcing—he’s challenging the way I eat and I’m challenging the way he farms in a positive way.”

In the process of building connections between the food producers and consumers, both parties get a better understanding of the needs of each other and can thus work together for their benefit. As Gary explains in an interview:

“Agricultural science and agricultural activism have become too distant from the needs of farmers and other food producers. The only way to heal the urban/rural divide that we have in this country is for more interplay, more inner-city people to be growing food on rooftops and patios, going out to work on farms during the weekend, and to have farmers in dialogue with consumers so that farmers understand why people want animal-welfare beef, or grass-fed lamb, or free-range turkeys. We’ve broken that dialogue. Very few urban people regularly have access to knowing what farmers and ranchers are struggling with.”


  1. Gary Paul Nabhan is a pioneer in the field of cultural and agricultural preservation, as well as the local food movement.
  2. He is a co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, an organization dedicated to preserving the cultural diversity in the food industry as well as the native plants of the Southwest region of the United States.
  3. He is a MacArthur Foundation fellow.
  4. His work with the local food movement has significantly helped in the popularization of “re-localizing” the food system, helping local farmers.
  5. He has often been named as the “father of the local food movement” for his work in the field.
  6. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology.
  7. He was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing in 1987 for his articles on the area of nature preservation.
  8. He received the Emil Haury Award from the Western Parks and Monuments Association.
  9. He has written critically acclaimed and bestselling books such as “Where Our Food Comes From: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov’s Quest to End Famine” and “Gathering the Desert”.
  10. He is widely considered as a pioneer in the local food movement and the agricultural preservation movement.