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BC through the eyes of a JF Summer Research Program graduate

Aziza Zakhidova / Graduate of the 2002 Johnson Foundation Summer Research Program

03 June 2011

After a full week of running cognitive protocols with the NIR imaging device, it was a special treat to sit around the table each Friday with BC and other students and sift through pages of data. As a young student, I eagerly watched BC mark with his pencil the promising peaks of blood volume and oxygenation levels that signified moments of insight. BC came up with a non-invasive imaging device for the pre-frontal cortex to isolate cognitive signals of 'eureka' - research that many were interested in applying to activities ranging from lie detection to spatial tasks. BC taught us to actively search for the 'aha!' moments - be it while solving brain puzzles wearing this imaging device on our foreheads or engaging in interesting questions during the many summer seminars in the lab or more importantly, in our own pursuits later in life.

I met BC as he turned 89, riding his bicycle early to work daily, and throughout my four years at Penn, had a chance to get to know him and Shoko better. The home on Pine Street was full of hospitality for students from all over the world. BC was always attentive, asked us what our goals and plans were and after listening, would share a comment or two from his life. As I left for graduate school in the UK, I remember BC explaining to me the system of Cambridge colleges.

I am grateful to BC for the opportunity to engage in interesting research and most importantly, learn to think actively, connect ideas across disciplines, and work hard. As we say in Uzbek, he was a true 'oq soqol' [white beard] man - a man full of wisdom from his life's experiences. His spirit is with me at key moments in my life - reminding me of the great potential of the human mental and physical strength - and encouraging me to do my best each time.

– Aziza Zakhidova
student participant of the 2002 Johnson Foundation Summer Research Program
UPenn 2006 College/Wharton Huntsman Program graduate

I am joined in celebration of BC by my father, Dr. Anvar Zakhidov, who had interesting scientific discussions with BC during his visit to UT Dallas, and my cousin, Dr. Khamid Bakhadirov, a neurologist, who also researched in BC's lab.