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  Youngest college professor-world record set by Alia Sabur

[April 22] SEOUL, South Korea--Alia Sabur, who was appointed as a full-time faculty Professor at Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea as research liaison with Stony Brook University set the world record for the youngest College professor.
  The child prodigy from Northport enrolled at Stony Brook University at age 10 and played clarinet with the Rockland Symphony Orchestra at 11.
  Photo by Toby Armstrong (enlarge photo)

   Sabur was three days shy of her 19th birthday in February when she became a professor at Konkuk University, in Seoul.

   The previous record was held by a student of physicist Isaac Newton, Colin Maclaurin, who set the mark in 1717.

   "He's in every calculus textbook there is," she said. "When I found out about it, I thought, 'I can't replace him.' But it's been 300 years and someone had to replace him, so why not me?"

    Konkuk University has an academic partnership with Stony Brook University, where Sabur received a bachelor's degree in 2003 -- when she was 14. Sabur starts in Seoul next month.

   She will be doing some classroom instruction, but mostly will focus on research into developing nanotubes for use as cellular probes, which could help discover cures for diseases such as cancer, she said.

   Down the road, she would like to develop a noninvasive blood-glucose meter for people with diabetes, she said. Her mother, Julia, and her father, Mark, both have diabetes.

   Sabur said classroom teaching in Seoul will be challenging because she doesn't speak Korean. "I can speak math and music," she said. For now, she is teaching math and physics courses at Southern University in New Orleans. The college was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and remains largely housed in trailers, she said.

   While there, she is staying at Mt. Carmel Mother House, a convent occupied by relief workers. She said she wanted to teach in New Orleans to help the city recover. "They consider me a relief worker in a different way," she said.

      Despite her numerous accomplishments -- she started reading at age 2 -- Sabur said she never had earned world record before. "I think one is pretty good," Sabur said.

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