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I like to work with Andrew!
Student and author Andrew Sheldon Collins pursues diverse intellectual and personal interests ranging from theology to nanotechnology.
Andrew Sheldon Collins relies on a background in theology, academics and politics to inform his present pursuits. He advocates for charitable causes and lives his life filled with a desire to learn.
As an undergraduate at Sydney’s University of New South Wales, Andrew studied English. He graduated from the institution with a double major in English and politics. Using his English skills as well as his own theological insights, Andrew wrote, “From Darkness, He Came.” As he notes, the book is an accurate description of his own spiritual struggle and search for grace.
Andrew Sheldon Collins lives a life that balances scientific inquiry and curiosity. That odyssey is faithfully chronicled in Andrew's novel. While the novel is not strictly autobiographical, it does reflect some of Andrew's own struggles as he grappled with spirituality. In the end, Andrew moved away from faith and became agnostic. Unable to reconcile the two pictures of reality, he chose the path of science, cosmology and philosophy over faith.
Andrew is still unsure about the existence or nature of God. He believes that, if a God or gods were to exist, they may reveal themselves in different ways to different people. The important thing is to be open to the manifestations of God in your own life, says Andrew. There is no right way or wrong way to view God, notes the philosopher and theological inquisitor, just as there is no single right or wrong religion.
Andrew Sheldon Collins was born into a scientifically-inclined family in Melbourne in 1986. His father worked in the field of industrial chemistry while his mother worked in a cancer ward as a nurse. Andrew was raised to believe that scientific fact supplied a true frame of reference.
As Andrew grew older and attended university, he became interested in a host of new experiences and perspectives. His intellectual and theological curiosity led to an enriching and contemplative young adulthood.
Many people marvel at Andrew Sheldon Collins's ability to finish writing a novel at such a young age. Andrew admits that writing a novel wasn't easy, but it was one of the most rewarding things he's ever done. He felt that writing a work of fiction would allow him greater creative license than penning a memoir.
Andrew’s experiences have allowed him to encourage and inspire other young writers. If you have a story that you feel is compelling, here are some tips from Andrew Sheldon Collins for getting it all down on paper:
• Know the difference between plots and stories. The plot of your novel involves all the things that actually happen to your protagonists during the novel. Your novel's story, on the other hand, involves your protagonists' emotional reaction to the events. Another way of thinking of this dichotomy, says Andrew Sheldon Collins, is to think of "action" and "reaction." Plot is action; story is reaction.
• Outline your novel before you start to write it. Every new author starts out with a bang. After pounding the first 20 pages out on their keyboards in practically no time flat, something curious happens: the author can't figure out what to write next!
You can prevent this block from happening, advises Andrew, by first writing a detailed outline of what happens to your characters. Outlining is the method that the majority of professional writers use.
• Begin with a character. The best fiction is fiction about compelling characters. Readers don't necessarily have to like these characters, but they must be interested enough in the characters to care what happens to them. Andrew didn't like particularly like the character of Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby." He found the character so charismatic, however, that he wanted to know what happened to Gatsby – and as a result, he kept reading.
• Give your character a problem. Conflict is at the heart of every great story. Conflict can be external or internal, but it must shape your character in some unalterable way.
• Make your story believable. Notice, Andrew does not say, "Make your plot believable." Andrew is a great fan of science fiction and fantasy. He believes that you can write novels about situations that couldn't possibly happen in real life. The emotional resonance of the story, however, must be authentic.
What Is Nanotechnology?
After completing his novel, Andrew Sheldon Collins decided to go back to school. In 2011, he enrolled at Murdoch University. He is currently pursuing another joint bachelor's degree program. This time, Andrew is majoring in physics and nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology is a relatively new field. It is the study of engineering systems that work on an incredibly small scale. Many materials react completely differently on the molecular level than they do on the macro level. If they are engineered a certain way on the molecular level, however, those molecular properties will carry over to larger-scale implementations.
Nanotechnology derives its name from a measurement known as the nanometer. A nanometer is exactly one-billionth of a meter. The physicist Richard Feynman founded the concept of nanotechnology in the 1950s. Scientists didn't actually begin working on molecular manufacturing until the 1970s, however. Eric Drexler pioneered nanotechnology techniques at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Nanotechnology has many amazing applications, notes physics student Andrew Sheldon Collins.
• Medicine: Scientists are developing nanoparticles that will be able to deliver medications directly to diseased cells. This development could revolutionize current procedures like chemotherapy which destroy healthy cells as they target cancer cells.
• Electronics: The trend in electronics is toward ever-smaller devices that weigh less and take up less space. Nanotechnology-based devices would use much less power than current electronic devices but deliver stronger and faster results. Andrew Sheldon Collins notes that scientists are developing computer chips right now with one terabyte of memory per square inch.
Food: Nanotechnology is revolutionizing the food industry. Silicate nanoparticles, for example, are being used as barriers to prevent the oxidation of packaged foods. Food spoilage may soon become a thing of the past!
Solar Cells: Nanotechnology-engineered cells are cheaper to manufacture and cheaper to install. Currently, nanotechnology solar cells aren't as efficient as larger solar cells. In the long run, however, scientists are confident that nanotechnology can be engineered to deliver those power efficiencies.
Andrew was pleased to find a university that offered a degree in nanotechnology. Many students who are interested in the field will have to cobble together a program from other types of coursework. Many schools offer nanotechnology as a specialty within fields including chemistry, engineering or medicine.
There are more opportunities for nanotechnology specialization on the graduate than on the undergraduate level.
Only a few two-year programs offer nanotechnology degrees. These programs are designed to train you to work as a nanotechnician, performing routine functions in a laboratory. A higher-level research or academic job will likely require the pursuit of a graduate degree in nanotechnology.
As nanotechnology comes to have a greater impact on everyday life, there will be more and more jobs in the sector. Predictions claim that products incorporating nanotechnology will account for five percent of the U.S. gross national product by 2020. The market value of these goods will be well in excess of one trillion dollars. Andrew is fascinated by nanotechnology applications in biotechnology, medicine and aerospace.
Andrew believes that nanotechnology is one of the most significant scientific innovations of the 21st century. Andrew Sheldon Collins is thrilled to be studying this dynamic and globally vital field.
Andrew Sheldon Collins's mother is an oncology nurse, so he is aware how devastating cancer can be to sufferers and families. Nanotechnology promises significant new treatment breakthroughs in cancer therapy.
Nanotechnology-mediated cancer treatments will use nanoparticles that can detect cancer cells at the molecular level. Researchers have already begun experimenting with specially-modified bacteria that are a fraction of the size of human cells. These bacteria are impregnated with anticancer drugs. The antibodies in the bacteria allow them to latch on to cancer cells so that they can deliver anticancer medicines to the body.
Scientists do have some concerns that there may be negative health effects associated with nanoparticles due to their small size. These particles may be absorbed into healthy cells and DNA where they might be able to do bodily harm. There are also concerns over what might be the best way to dispose of nanoparticle waste. If nanoparticles impregnated with potentially volatile medications ended up in the groundwater, they could cause serious health problems.
As of yet, only a small body of research is available on these concerns in Australia, the United States and elsewhere. The Food and Drug Administration has a task force on nanotechnology but it has issued no guidelines yet.
Andrew notes that there is a period of adjustment with all new technologies. He is excited by the new health and technology opportunities that the application of nanotechnology has opened to the world. In addition to applications for computing power and portability, Andrew Sheldon Collins thinks that nanotechnology innovations might bring us one step closer to a cancer cure.
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