Boyang Qin, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, attributes his initial love of science to his father talking about physics and watching him perform science demonstrations when he was younger. One he particularly remembers was when his father would curl up a piece of paper into a vertical tube, put a ping-pong ball on top of the tube, and then blow from the bottom to try to knock the ball off. However, no matter how hard he tried, Boyang couldn’t blow the ball off the tube. These simple experiments sparked Boyang’s interest in science and curiosity in the world.
Although these early years may have sparked his love for science, he remains a passionate scientist because he gets to be at the forefront of what is known. As scientists like Boyang, we are always at the cutting edge and asking questions that no one has answered before. After graduating from high school in Beijing, Boyang continued to pursue his interest in science by attending Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and studying mechanical engineering and math. He is now studying fluid dynamics at graduate school- a research topic partially chosen because of his love for swimming! Fluid dynamics is the study of how fluid flows. Specifically, Boyang is interested in learning how small, hair-like structures found in the human airway, called cilia, clear debris and mucus. To address this question, Boyang studies how green algae called Chlamydomonas swim through a thicker, more mucous like fluid by beating their tail-like flagella as if swimming the breaststroke. These structures and type of swimming pattern are similar to that of cilia in the airway. By understanding how these algae alter their swim pattern, he hopes to better understand how other structures like cilia are influenced by fluids with different properties.
Following graduation, Boyang plans to continue in academic research by getting additional training through a post-doctoral position. He believes it is important to communicate your work and interests to a wider audience and to try to always reach out to inspire others. We’re glad Boyang is a part of our Open Labs team and is inspiring the future generation of scientists!
Want to read more about Boyang's research on fluid dynamics? Check out his paper here and an article about his research here! If you have any questions for Boyang or about Open Labs, please email us at email@example.com! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!