As a senior chess master, Mark Heimann, a senior in Arts & Sciences, has long admired Garry Kasparov, perhaps history’s greatest chess player.
But that’s not what impressed him most about Kasparov’s visit to Washington University in 2012, his freshman year.
“Kasparov was somewhat of a household name for me when I was growing up,” said Heimann, an active member of the Washington University in St. Louis Chess Club. “I never thought I would have the opportunity to hear him speak in person.
“He is a genius on a number of levels. What really impressed me is how he is making his mark in so many different ways, such as politics and writing. He’s not just a chess player.”
Neither is Heimann. He has mastered a variety of traditional instruments and placed in the Bible Bee, the national Bible memory competition. Heimann graduates this May with both an undergraduate degree in math and economics from the College of Arts & Sciences and a graduate degree in computer science from the School of Engineering & Applied Science.
How? In addition to playing chess and practicing the hammered dulcimer, Heimann has taken 21 credit hours every semester but his first. He will start a doctoral program in computer science this fall.
“I didn’t have to take every class I did to be a great computer scientist, but I wanted to try a lot of new things,” Heimann said. “It’s fascinating the ways my education has come together. Like my economics thesis — it’s a mathematical computer science problem that relies heavily on psychology and is being advised by a political science professor.
“I never dreamed I would learn about all of those things when I came here.”