For Manolis Kellis, a deep interest in biology arose partly from an immersion in multiple languages. Kellis ’99, MEng ’99, PhD ’03, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, spent most of his childhood in picturesque Athens, where he had a view of the Parthenon from his family’s balcony. He excelled in school and had a natural affinity for subjects such as math and science. When he was 12, his family moved to France, and Kellis enrolled in a French-speaking school with his brother and sister — a move that forced the siblings to learn the language, quickly. Kellis found he had to work twice as hard, translating math problems first into Greek to solve them, then translating the solutions back into French. As he grew more comfortable with the French language, literature and philosophy, he recognized connections between his native Greek and French. When his family moved...
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