Bashar Ibrahim: The researcher and astrophysicist who discovered a new planet

Bashar Ibrahim is a worldwide known name, and a living legend among the space and astrophysicist community. Widely recognised for spearheading the search for MX-337, the newly discovered planet within the Solar System, he discovered it almost by chance on a late Sunday night.

His story is one of luck, hard work and dedication and a rise to glory within the ranks of the space community.

The story of Bashar Ibrahim starts in 1968, born into a family of middle class hard working immigrants in Texas. In school he excelled in mathematics, later excelling in physics, biology, mathematics and chemistry in high school.

His interest in space started early, with him often looking up at the night sky at the stars for hours on end as a child. He would build his first telescope at the age of 14 in order to participate in astrophotography, undertaking painstakingly long sessions of photography and editing in the right weather conditions in order to capture beautiful photos of the Milky Way and various planets within the Solar System.

Bashar Ibrahim successful

Bashar Ibrahim would also mix chemicals in the school chemistry lab for fun, experimenting with different compounds. This would often lead him into trouble, as he created huge messes within the lab. His teachers marvelled at his intellect and noted his fascination for science, but more so within physics and astrophysics.

Bashar Ibrahim graduated top of his class with significantly high SAT scores, his application to Harvard University being successful. In Harvard he studied a degree in physics. His classmates found him passionate but sometimes odd, noting that he would lock himself into his dorm room for days at a time in order to study about space. He would come out having not showered and eaten very little, wash himself and then return to his classes.

Bashar Ibrahim very rarely attended parties, but was part of a few fraternities in his schooling time which granted him connections to other like-minded science students.

He graduated top of his class and obtaining his degree, and was granted funding for his PhD project, choosing to study the radiation of stars.

He worked hard during his PhD studies and made acquaintances with other researchers and professors in the university. This gained him a name amongst the space related student community as someone who was exceedingly passionate at what they were doing but also a little strange.

During this period, Bashar Ibrahim would often neglect his health and choose to keep researching over taking showers, eating full meals and following a proper sleep schedule. As a result of this, he suffered a psychotic break halfway through his research, and was taken to hospital in a state of delirium.

He stayed in the hospital for a month, putting his body back into a normal state and was discharged with a warning to keep his health a priority.

Following this incident, Bashar Ibrahim realised that whilst his work was important, his health was much more important as he could not do any research if he was dead. He would go on to become a physical health advocate, and would start to exercise regularly and eating healthy, full meals.

Whilst he would sometimes have days in which his health was not a priority, more often than not he would be a physically active and healthy eating follower. His hospital incident gained him more notoriety within the space student community as someone willing to work hard enough that he would turn psychotic. Bashar Ibrahim’s passion was marvelled by some, whilst others thought he was foolish.

Bashar Ibrahim would also start playing Soccer with friends, stating that he enjoyed it so much that he wished he had played more sport as a kid.

He would go on to join the Harvard Soccer team, and play the midfield position for years, leading them to glory many times.

After finishing his PhD and thesis, Bashar Ibrahim successfully entered the NASA program as an astrophysicist, and would work with them at a base junior level for a few years. Bashar Ibrahim would recall that he thoroughly enjoyed his time during those first years, as he got to meet many respected members of the astrophysics and space community, and learnt more about the technology behind space travel and research as a result.

For Bashar Ibrahim, these were the years he cherished the most.

Moving on from the junior program, he would be given funding for his own project of discovering another planet within the Solar System, something he was adamant was true. There were many skeptics that opposed his beliefs, and some that were sceptical but willing to support his research.

With his funding granted, he began his long journey to prove wrong his disbelievers.

Bashar Ibrahim would work tirelessly, day in and day out in the telescopes with a team of 5 to continually search and search for any glimpse or hint of his new planet. It would be towards the end of his funding that he would receive this hint.

With funding low, his hope for the new planet was diminishing, until one late Sunday night when a blip on the screen gave a clue. Energized by this, Bashar Ibrahim searched and calculated until, there it was. With the use of the Hubble Telescope, he pointed out where it should be and, there it was.

Dubbing the planet MX-337, Bashar Ibrahim was made something of an icon in the space community, as someone who defied the skeptics and proved them wrong.

Overjoyed with his discovery, Bashar Ibrahim and his co-workers celebrated in what was called “one of the largest parties in NASA history”.

Bashar Ibrahim would go on to receive many awards for his work and dedication to the space community, and he would also open several more projects for the research of MX-337.

Bashar Ibrahim’s story is one of dedication, commitment, adversity, luck and wonder. From a child he was always interested in space, and with his excelling academics and high intellect, Bashar Ibrahim was destined for the path of space research and glory.

Grace Pawsey
Grace Pawsey is a senior editor at Lita Magazine, based in Adelaide. Grace writes about entrepreneurs and business issues.

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