Mackenzie Roman, a 17-year-old student at Glen Lake Community School, will receive a $500 scholarship from MichiganScience for her winning submission to our contest, "If You Had the Chance to Address One Global Issue Right Now Scientifically, What Would You Do and Why?" In her essay, "Fixing Stupid," Roman states that she would find a way to increase the functionality of the human brain. She argues that finding such a means through meditation, technology or medicine might expedite the discovery of innovative and creative solutions to the world's problems.

Roman will graduate this spring in the top 10 in her class. She was recently accepted to the University of Michigan, where she will seek a degree in nuclear engineering and radiological science.

Fixing Stupid
by Mackenzie Roman

The formation of a world in which everyone commands an immense amount of intellect seems philosophical, but I do not propose a utopia where people can take a pill and become smart. My plan will instead "fix stupidity" through the study of the brain and how people can maximize their capacity for knowledge. The brain is the storehouse of knowledge and therefore must be unlocked by discovering methods that help people learn to develop their mind.

It has been hard for the average human mind to keep up with the advances of technology and, although people are still advancing to new levels of intelligence, there are still many problems that have not been solved due to the immaturity of the human brain. It is also said that humans only use 10 percent of their brain, but many call this a myth. Myth or not, it is true that humans do not use all of it, especially at once. Science has proven that the brain has multiple parts that deal with specific thoughts, so in order to solve the brain problem humanity must make it a priority to discover exercises, tactics or chemicals that can help individuals utilize each area.

There are already many ways that people have discovered to tap into their own mind and into those of others. The medical community already has the technology, called magnetic resonance imaging, which shows certain activity in certain parts of the brain. There are also physiological ways to tap into different parts of the brain, like hypnosis. There are even some religions that allow people to study and observe the brain through meditation.

The fact that society has already gotten this far shows the potential of the little amount of brain that humans do use.  Humans have landed on the moon, discovered flu vaccines, created an atomic bomb and even cloned animals -all things that were thought impossible not more than 100 years ago. The mysteries of time travel might be solved, or, more realistically, humans could find a way to live and travel further into space. Using all of the brain might even unlock the power to control the elements — earth, wind, fire and water — through telepathy or other means. The possibilities could be endless.

The brain has many unlocked mysteries and it has already helped the human race in extraordinary ways. The brain has brought the human race this far; it would be a crime not to take a deeper look. Being able to utilize the brain would open up more chances at finding cures to diseases; inventions for making life easier; and more effective ways to treat mental illnesses. For students, it would open up new techniques in learning and a greater understanding on how they, too, can help "fix stupid."