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7-Year-Old Science Whiz Visits NASA Space Flight Center

Romanieo Golphin Jr. and Peter Sooy
Romanieo Golphin Jr., age 7, toured NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on March 23. Here, Peter Sooy, an employee at Goddard, explains robotics in space at the Satellite Servicing Projects Division office. (Image credit: Rebecca Roth)

While most second-graders are busy learning vocabulary and arithmetic and playing soccer and video games, 7-year-old Romanieo Golphin Jr. has been bumping up his proverbial résumé. After visiting renowned scientific institutions such as CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), he just added a NASA visit to his busy schedule.Romanieo Golphin Jr. visited the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland Friday (March 24), where he learned about robotics, Earth science and satellite servicing, and even viewed the James Webb Space Telescope, which is undergoing testing before its 2018 launch.

"Do you want to come to Goddard to work with us?" Center Director Chris Scolese asked Romanieo, adding, "Say yes."

"I can help you," Romanieo answered, according to a NASA statement.

Romanieo has been homeschooled his entire life, and his knack for science has been featured in places such as The Huffington Post and The Washington Post. When he was 2 and a half, Romanieo was shown on YouTube identifying elements by their atomic number (such as hydrogen, whose one proton is represented by a single billiard ball). 

Romanieo's parents, Romanieo Golphin Sr. and Cheri Philip, run a small company called the Robeson Group, which encourages young learners to immerse themselves in their fields of interest. According to the February article in The Washington Post, they spend as much as $1,000 monthly to create a curriculum for their child, and they have taken advantage of an estimated $1 million in free educational opportunities.

A recent highlight was a trip to the Large Hadron Collider, run by CERN. The trip cost the family $11,000, much of which they received through fundraising. Romanieo's enthusiasm on the trip caught the attention of experimental physicist Steven Goldfarb, who named the boy a CERN ambassador to the Washington, D.C., area to attract other young people to science.

The young boy makes frequent trips to local museums and has already met with science luminaries such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of the science TV series "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. 

Romanieo already has a scholarship ready for him at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he has observed university classes. Besides studying science, Romanieo also makes time for play, art, Legos, meditation and guitar; he has perfect pitch, according to the NASA statement.

"It's incredible getting your hands dirty and making the abstract concrete in terms of the science, for at least one day," Golphin Sr. said in the statement.

Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace, or @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook and Google+. Original article on  

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is pursuing a Ph.D. part-time in aerospace sciences (University of North Dakota) after completing an M.Sc. (space studies) at the same institution. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @HowellSpace.