Michael Hamilton Zhang was born in Dublin on 3 January 1984 making him a 28 year-old Sagittarian on Crystal Day. His Chinese parents had moved from Hong Kong the year before when they realised that the British Colony would soon return to Chinese ownership. They passed through Britain and moved to Ireland to open a Chinese takeaway restaurant.
Michael’s racial difference made him feel different from other children in Ireland and he was considerably more intelligent than any of the others around him. He began to search for his own understanding of the world and soon settled on science, and in particular on particle physics, to provide the knowledge he sought. But he was also intensely interested in his Chinese origins and studied as much as he could. He had few friends and none of them were close.
His adolescence was dominated by academic study. He had a single attempt at intercourse with a girlfriend when he was 18. When that failed he has been too afraid to try again, considers himself impotent and has convinced himself he is not interested in girls. He gradually withdrew from society while studying physics at Trinity College, Dublin and became almost a monk, devoted to the worship of science.
After he achieved a brilliant joint first-class honours degree in physics and maths and Trinity he moved to the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (the youngest person ever to work there) and began his PhD under the leadership of John O’Brien. He moved to CERN in 2010.
He is driven by the hunger for knowledge. It is an obsession with him. He wants to prove that Chinese brains are better than Irish brains. He is convinced that he is going to discover something Earth-shattering soon and be recognised as a genius. He will stop at nothing to achieve this. It is the complete focus of his life.
He has absolutely no care for his physical appearance. He wears the same stained pink T-shirt and blue jeans for weeks on end and seldom baths, but since he does not sweat much this has no ill effects. He lives alone in a caravan in a wood near CERN, from where he cycles to work early every morning.