Inventor of portable cellphone speaks for TPHS club

The inventor of the portable cellphone, 95-year-old Del Mar resident Martin Cooper, spoke at an event organized by the TPHS Biomimicry, Innovation, Entrepreneurship club in the TPHS lecture hall on Jan. 16.

The presentation covered a variety of topics such as the inspiration behind the cellphone, the history of its invention and Cooper’s thoughts on current smartphone technology.

“I wanted the students to know about the experience, about the enjoyment of continuing to learn for the rest of their lives and how important it is to practice learning, because that practice will allow them to stay young for the rest of their lives,” Cooper said.

Armutha Challa (12), an aspiring engineer, was “blown away” by Cooper’s wisdom.

“He said that the purpose of technology should always be to make someone’s life better. I think that’s really beautiful,” Challa, who was drawn to the event out of her interest in the topic, said. “And I think that’s what I want to do with my life.”

Club adviser, biology teacher Julianna Newell, heard about Cooper through the parent of one of her students and reached out to him in December, wanting to “hit the innovation and the entrepreneurship side of the club.”

The presentation drew 62 attendees, BIE club members and other students as well.

“I think the most valuable part of the lecture [was that it] was heard by dozens of our students, students who aspire to become engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers, and a lot more,” BIE vice president Jenny Ryu (10).

Nafis Aboonour (12), a co-president of the BIE club, agreed the presentation was a success.

“Originally, I thought it was just going to be in our classroom, but then we gained so much interest after we posted on Instagram about it, so that it’s like, ‘Ok, let’s put it in the lecture hall,” Aboonour said. “When we finally got there, the entire lecture hall was pretty much filled. You know, it was well worth it.”

Aboonour’s goals for the club this year include teaching kids about biomimicry and its applications and to bring “like-minded students together who are excited to learn about innovative technology of our modern world.”

Cooper echoed Aboonour’s thoughts on the importance of excitement in invention, saying he gives presentations such as his Jan. 16 one to “capture the imagination of lots of people and to convince some of them that they can create even more exciting inventions in the future.”

Photos by Hope Dennis/Falconer

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