#ResearchGoals: The Story of Football Star and Mathematician John Urschel

I have so much respect for the professional football players who sacrifice so much for their team and fans. But, after reading one particular story, I've started to respect football players for reasons beyond their on-field performances.
I have so much respect for the professional football players who sacrifice so much for their team and fans. But, after reading one particular story, I’ve started to respect football players for reasons beyond their on-field performances.

Over intercession break, I went back home to Charlotte – which is probably the happiest city in America right now. Our very own Carolina Panthers just punched their ticket to the Super Bowl, something the franchise hasn’t accomplished in over 10 years. The day after we clinched our Super Bowl berth, I was laying in bed watching football analysts apologize for estimating the Panthers, when a headline caught my eye. “Ravens’ John Urschel Accepted into PhD program at MIT”. It was one of those tiny headlines in the news ticker, and not a story they were actually covering. So I went on my computer and sure enough, there it was. Baltimore Ravens center John Urschel was just accepted into MIT’s PhD program in mathematics to study spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra, and machine learning. Now, having talked to some of my own math professors about their research, I know how difficult it is to do novel research in such advanced topics, especially in the seemingly inaccessible world that is math. But to do all of that while enduring the physical and mental pressures of playing football for an NFL team? I couldn’t believe it.

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