who i am

To Freud, I am my id, ego, and superego. To Locke, I am the sensations and reflections which have shaped my mind from a tabula rasa. To Festinger, I am the discomfort that I experience after the person I think I am and the person that I act like I am clashes. To Darwin, I may share a common ancestor with apes.

But to me, I'm just Zhirou. A generally weird person who happens to be especially weird for science and social science.
Exhibit A: On social media websites, I sometimes used to write "Zirconium" for my first name, and "Gallium" for my last name. Zr Ga. Zhirou Gao. Not going to lie, I thought I was being really funny and original. Yeah, I was neither.

I'm also kind of obsessed with chemistry, philosophy, and every little intersection between them; to me, both subjects are the special sort of synapse-firing understanding where there is always more to be unearthed. In chemistry, every simple, deceptively easy-to-understand concept is a promise of infinitely more complexity. In philosophy, there are always more questions than answers to them; this is a breathless kind of forever. In school, neither are subjects that students could just pass in using pure memorization.

They are the things that make me who I am, and I don't know what I'd do without them.
I frequently indulge in my obsessions on my blog. Just a warning, though—I don’t have a cohesive theme which every entry centres around, so they’re pretty scattered. Topics range from active galactic nuclei to “Apropos of the Wet Snow”; from Wittgenstein to Wegener.
Also, find me on Socratic where I try my best to answer science questions!