Ethan Solomon

Hello! My name is Ethan Solomon, and I'm a sophomore at MIT in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a Ward Melville High School alum. I've had prior research experiences at Stony Brook in Pathology, Pharmacology, and most recently, Neurobiology. In those labs, I studied p53 (an apoptosis-inducing tumor suppressor gene), Notch (a transmembrane cell-fate determining protein which may play a role in cancer) and neuregulin knockout mice as models for schizophrenia.

The relationship between schizophrenic mice and optics may not be immediately obvious, but my first year at MIT strengthened my conviction that physics and biology are very compatible disciplines. As a student in neuroscience, in fact, two semesters of physics (Newtonian mechanics and electricity and magnetism) are prerequisites for introductory courses in neuroscience. I really likely my physics courses, especially E&M with Frank Wilczek, so I decided that I would like to explore lasers and optics after my stint in Neurobiology ended. After all, the fluorescent microscopy that is so crucial to life science research is directly dependent on innovations in the field of optics and lasers. Not to mention the fact that visual processing, from when light hits the cornea to when neurons fire in the occipital lobe, is a process that can only be explained by the fundamentals of optics and electrical potentials.

Despite the fact that I'm a student in neuroscience, I've always had a keen interest in physics and mathematics. I want to further my understanding in physics beyond my introductory courses because it will make me a better neuroscientist. But in addition to academics, I have a strong interest in politics and work as the opinion editor for MIT's newspaper, The Tech. I also participate on MIT's varsity pistol team. This summer, I look forward to getting hands-on experience and learning as much as I can about optics. And beyond this summer, I plan to continually strive to connect physics and biology - a very natural combination.