Tom Wagg, a 15 year old intern at Keele University in England, was analyzing data from the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) computer program and noticed a small dip in front of a star that turned out to be a planet passing in front of it. This isn’t too unusual except for the fact that the planet he noticed, which was 1,000 lightyears away, had never been noticed by anyone else, ever. Wagg discovered a new planet on the third day of his internship. It took the university two years to confirm his findings, but it is indeed an undiscovered planet they are currently calling WASP-142b.
This is insane and I’m sure made all of the other interns and probably the full time staff feel pretty incompetent, as it should. It also made me realize that our intern is just sitting at his table not discovering any planets.
I’m fully aware we aren’t an astronomy lab and that maybe this is a high expectation, but I believe in this kid. I don’t think a lot of people in the office do. I think they’ve written him off as just another intern passing through for the summer. But this story of Tom Wagg is just too inspirational and I think if our intern puts his mind to it, he, too, can discover a planet.
I shot him an email this morning.
I got this response about twenty minutes later. (He accidentally exploded the microwave and had to clean it up.)
Perfect! I knew if I just gave him to opportunity to discover a new planet, he’d be motivated to do it. I think that is what’s wrong with the internship system these days. Most companies just use these young minds as extra menial laborers that they don’t have to pay. Well, I think that is a waste. Interns are an untapped resource to help us discover new planets. And just imagine, the first comedy website to discover a planet. It’d be incredible.
I looked over at the intern (unfortunately, I cannot remember his name), furiously working on his computer, when I received this email from him. My heart skipped a beat, perhaps he’d made progress!
Totally fine, I thought to myself!
At lunch I asked him how his work was going. He said “good”, which gave me high-hopes. We were on our way to discovering a planet. He said nothing else at lunch, probably thinking hard about where to look. He was on his phone, mostly. Was there an app for planetary exploration? I’m so behind on apps these days. I mostly just use the texting app and the weather app. Those are my two favorites.
I had a hard time concentrating on any of my work. At 4pm, I sent him this.
I looked up from my computer and the intern was not there. Did he leave? I couldn’t believe it. He had discovered a damn planet, skipped out of the office, and was out telling other people about it before me. He was going to take his own credit for it and not give me any. What the fucking fuck.
And to think I was the only one who believed in him. Everyone else in the office wanted him to reorganize the supply closet. Well, fuck me. I guess I learned my lesson. I guess I’ll go back to not emboldening the minds of our country’s youth, especially if they aren’t going to even cite me as their mentor. Insane. It’s a sad day for our country and with this work ethic, our interns will never be discovering planets at the rate England is.