Inspired by science

If the world wants more scientists to solve problems like climate change, depleting resources and uncured diseases, then it must energize up-and-coming minds early.

That’s the mission of the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders, a symposium near Boston, Massachusetts. There, high school and college students meet today’s leading innovators and Nobel Prize winners for inspiration.

New London High School junior Thomas Grove, son of Brenda and Duane Grove, earned the opportunity to attend in late June.

“It was crazy,” Grove said of the thousands who attended the Congress at the Tsongas Center hockey arena. “If everyone were to go on the floor of the stadium, you could fill up most of it just shoulder to shoulder with people.”

Some the influential scientists who presented during the three-day event were:

• Robert M. Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet.

• Amy S. Hess, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch.

• Neil Gershenfeld, director of MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms.

• Aneesh Chopra, President Obama’s first chief technology officer of the United States from 2009-2012.

“I feel like it made me want to go into science more,” Thomas Grove said.

New London High School biology teacher Laura Turner said Grove was a great selection to represent New London on a national stage. He displays great moral character, he doesn’t fear the unknown and his retention is “undeniably impressive,” she said.

“He is a reliable, intuitive and self-directed young man who loves to learn,” Turner said. “His natural aptitude, curiosity, and desire empower him to choose a career encouraging modern innovation with the potential to change the world. As he masters his strengths and works to improve shortcomings, Tommy recognizes opportunity where others see failure. He believes there is always something to be learned.”

That was apparent when Grove said a major lesson he learned is most of the scientists in attendance experienced failure and learned from it before making it to where they are today.

Grove remains undecided on his future, but his possible career choices include peer mathematician, chemist or theoretical physicist.

As he one day takes on his own profession, he said the scientific breakthroughs he hopes to witness in his lifetime are a reduction in pollution and humanity’s colonization outside of Earth.