Planeting her future

Sophomore dreams to rock world of astrophysics


Photo by Peyton Sims

While many students’ heads are in the clouds, junior Jessie Gamble’s thoughts are engulfed in the stars.

Story by Stephanie Jumper, feature editor

While many students’ heads are in the clouds, junior Jessie Gamble’s thoughts are engulfed in the stars. Her life’s mission is to study astrophysics, a math and theory-based branch of astronomy. Learning how and why the world works is not an easy feat. However, she is prepared to take on the astronomical challenge with stride. 

How would you describe astrophysics, and why do you like it?

Astronomy is [the] study of the stars and celestial bodies, and astrophysics is more like the math and reasoning behind that along with theoretical things. It’s definitely much more interesting than just studying stars. 

I want to know why [stars] do the things that they do. Also, [the] theories that they could be a part of. It’s illogical to live in a place and not fully understand it, especially in the future society plans to move to a new planet. We have to understand space to travel through it safely.   

When did your interest in astronomy begin?

I first had my real interest in the fifth grade after our elementary school took [an] end of the year trip to Space Camp in Alabama. It was a really cool experience.

 I think the most impactful part of our trip there was whenever we had to simulate a mission on a spaceship. In the mission, you get assigned roles that your instructor think[s] would best suit you based on how you’ve interacted with your group so far. There was a problem in the spaceship, and you [had] to solve the problem and go through with the mission without having issues with your team.

What’s your favorite theory in astrophysics?

I think my favorite one is the theory of soulmates being real. There’s this theory of entanglement, and it’s more a [scientific theory about] how atoms are drawn together even though they’re separated. Some people have claimed it as the scientific soulmates theory. With entanglement, there are atoms that are bound together in the beginning of the universe. Now, no matter what distance they have, they always interact with each other. They’re always entangled. The scientific soulmates part of it is, if you feel really drawn to somebody, it’s because, in the beginning of the universe, your atoms were together.

It’s definitely a thing that I would like to be an actual thing. It’s a really cute idea, and it would be nice if it [were] true. Deep down, I do believe it, but there’s not very much scientific evidence on it.

Has anyone inspired you to continue your hobby?

My sixth-grade science teacher, Mr. Crowell, definitely encouraged it. Once we talked about what we wanted to be in class one day. At the time, I wanted to be an astronomer. Me wanting to be an astrophysicist didn’t come until late seventh grade, but he did help inspire that. He was pretty chill with all the kids, so he talked to us, and he helped inspire that love for space even more.

What words would describe a good astrophysicist?

Open-minded definitely. You have to be able to take in all sorts of theories. Creative because with quantum physics, it’s definitely a lot more theory than actual science. Patient because with more theoretical things, you can’t just expect answers to pop out of nowhere. You have to work for them.

How are you moving toward your dream job right now?

I am taking Earth and space science next year as a class and astronomy in senior year. I do believe the classes will help [me, but] I would have to take more specific classes in college. I’m planning to go to TCU [Texas Christian University], which happens to have an astrophysics program. I’ll definitely be getting way more extensive classes in college, but the high school ones will help me get to that point.

How has your hobby changed you as a person?

My interests have changed. [Before I wanted to be an astrophysicist], I kinda wanted to be an author or an artist. I was bad at art [and] astrophysics are just far more interesting than art or writing could ever be to me. Astrophysics is something I’m super interested in, and I could never see myself falling out of that.