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Roger Y. Tsien’s family original came from China. After his mom and arrived in America in January of 1947, life was a struggle because his Dad could not find a professional job as an aircraft engineer, which he was when he was in China. This was the case because he needed a security clearance, which a Chinese citizen could not get. Because of this, his father started a tiny import-export business in New York City And later an engineering consultancy firm in Westchester county which provided them enough to survive, but not enough to live comfortably. After a few years of getting by, his brother was born in October of 1949. When he went to school he needed to get an American name so they changed his name to Richard, since he wanted to be called “Dick” and made his original chinese name his middle name, but translated into english. According to his Mom, she always wanted to have three children. After two sons, even his Dad was looking to have a girl, but in February of 1952 they got Roger instead. His dad picked his Chinese name, Yongjian,which translated to Yonchien in English and became his middle name, but Dick insisted that his American name should be Roger.When Roger was young, he did many home chemistry experiments. He did experiments at as young an age as 3 or 4. He would build sand paths at the beach across a strip of pebbles that would hurt his feet when he walked over them. He loved to draw maps and imagine cities that he would create in his mind. This led to his obsession of bridge-building and map creating. Sometimes his parents would buy him chemistry sets in elementary school but he didn’t particularly like them because he thought they were too “tamed”. He found more interest in trying experiments that he found in the books at his library and can remember sketching some of them. He continued to do experiments throughout his school career and ended up going to Harvard University before receiving a Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Cambridge in 1977. He stayed at Cambridge and researched until 1981. He then went to the University of California at Berkeley. He eventually became a professor their as well. HE had a research laboratory at the University of California in San Diego. In 1994 he began the research that led to his Nobel Peace Prize. He won this honor in 2008 and later went on to be part of the National Academy of Science. Tsien won his Nobel Peace Prize for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP”. Green fluorescent protein, or GFP, is a protein made up of 238 amino acid residues that show a bright green fluorescent color when exposed to light in the blue to ultraviolet range. It is also called Aequorea victoria. The gene coding for a protein is normally put together with the gene for a fluorescent protein. This makes the protein to glow when it is inside the cell, but can only happen when the cell is exposed to ultraviolet light. This allows scientists to see where to protein is in the cell in real time. This fluorescent protein was created in Tsien’s lab and is used by scientists every day. An example of where you can see this is when you take a picture of a jellyfish. Photographers will shine this ultraviolet light on the jelly fish, or use it as flash when taking a picture of a jellyfish which will often times give them a fluorescent glow that you can see. This is one of its simple uses. GFP is also used when tagging genes to locate where they are and how they react in the cell, acting as a biosensor or cell marker, seeing how proteins interact with each other, visualizing promoter activity, and a lot more. Scientist use this to solve medical problems and help people figure out what is wrong with them. They also use it in experiments to find different functions of cells and proteins for the benefits of humans. It has saved people’s lives. Tsien claims that his achievements were “pre-coded into his genes”. In my opinion, I do not think that this true. I think that anyone has the capability to achieve anything, as long as they really want it. Tsien had a harder childhood than most and really wanted to make his family proud. He also had a very strong passion for what he wanted to do since a young age. This gave him time to really discover what he wanted to do in chemistry and achieve something great. Even if you don’t know what you want to do until the first day you get to college, you can still be great at what you do. It also helps if you are creative. Tsien showed from a young age that he would experiment and figure out problems that needed to be solved at the young age of 3 or 4. This showed his creativity and willingness to explore new topics. If you are creative and have the determination, you can achieve anything you want. We see this in the historical and scientific figures Albert Einstein. He did not excel in his schooling. He did not have the attention span or the interest, but once he found the thing that he loved, he was completely indulged in it. Some people just know what they want to do while others have to find their path and once they do, they can be very successful. Anyone can do it, as long as they have the determination.

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