Read a list of his pursuits, and you might think that Derrick Boone Jr. is a dabbler. Officially, he’s a sixth-year PhD candidate in applied physics. But he also writes science fiction, lifts weights, delves into linguistics, makes podcasts, throws dinner parties and studies Japanese. Lately, he’s been perfecting his meat preparation—his favorite styles are sous vide and smoked. Oh, and he has a 5-month-old son.
But dabble would be the wrong word. “If I can draw one thread through my entire life, it would probably be that I want to understand,” Boone says. That drive led him from Winston-Salem, N.C., to MIT, where he double-majored in chemical engineering and physics while completing the naval ROTC program. During a five-year tour of duty in the Navy, Boone joined the 2 percent of midshipmen who oversee the nuclear reactors on board aircraft carriers and submarines. Now, he studies experimental condensed-matter physics at Stanford. Next summer he’ll begin a new chapter, as a management consultant at Bain & Co. in San Francisco.
Derrick Boone, Jr. is a 2013 EDGE-STEM Fellow.