Por Dr. Wilson Gonzalez-Espada, Ciencia Puerto Rico
A well-known mathematics postulate states that: “Through any two points, there is exactly one straight line." Our reality, of course, is much more complicated than that. The life journey of a person is more like the curvy roads of PR-1, or “La Piquiña.”
A perfect example of this is scientist James Ayala González, who started his professional life as a jazz musician and today is a behavioral researcher at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Sichuan Province, Peoples Republic of China.
James was born just outside of Queens, New York City. His father, José Ayala Román, was originally from La Perla and his mother, Lourdes González Más, was a “Nuyorican” from the Bronx. Growing up in Jamaica Queens, James’ heart was divided between his two loves: science and music. “I would beg my parents to bring me to the Bronx Zoo, the NY Aquarium or the Museum of Natural History, so naturally I excelled at biology in grade school. However, I also had a deep love for music. In middle school, I began playing the saxophone and attending a special public high school music program to perform jazz.” By high school, James had put his interests in biology aside.
James attended Purchase College, part of the SUNY system, as a jazz performance major. “Jazz is one of the purest art forms, the freedom and expression of improvisation is without parallel. As a child, my father schooled me on the legends: Coltrane, Parker, Davis, Monk, Gillespie, Rollins, and Mingus. These were lessons I never forgot.”