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"the weights" - Bard College DSS Scholarship


yf8651 16 / 31  
Jan 15, 2010   #1
Prompt: Write about a stimulating and enjoyable experience you have had in science, mathematics, or computing. This might be a course you took, an experiment you performed, a book or article you read, a program you attended, a theorem you proved, or a problem you solved.

10 pounds, 20, 30...the weights were added one after another. My heart stood still as I watched the bridge slowly deformed. People in the room held the breath like me. About to broke, the bridge designed by our team changed the shape greatly...

In my middle school, there was a bridge design program (model contest) every year. The program was unique because its judgment criterion was not bridges' aesthetic level but the carrying ability. Every team had one week to design the works before the presentation time. Using either wood or bamboo, the bridge that could bear the most weight would win no matter how ugly it looked. As an enthusiast of science, I took part in the program with two other science lovers as a team. We gathered together to talk about the design. As we tried to figure out whether to buy wood or bamboo, a new idea suddenly struck me. Why not stop buying the material from markets as most other participants did. Why not use the stuff from Mother Nature. There was a bamboo grove near my grandma's house in the village. The bamboo there was very hard that I could use it to make the "heavy machine gun" in my childhood. Soon, I took the action with the help of my grandmother.

Having collected the ideal material, we began our construction. The procedure was relatively easy to handle since we had obtained much knowledge of mechanics and bridge before. Everything went smoothly until the day before the presentation, when we almost finished our "masterpiece". As I examined and checked the finished product, I spotted a small crack bared by the bamboo, which soon brought me into a dilemma. "What should I do?"If I replaced the flawed bamboo with the intact one, the whole bridge had to be rebuilt, which will be very troublesome; if I did not, the defect might affect the performance of the bridge even though the influence was trivial. Finally, I decided to get new bamboo despite the efforts because every detail in science, as I perceive it, counts.

The bridge collapsed when the load finally reached six three pounds. I was very surprised when finding that the bridge coming second only hold two pounds less than our bridge. Thanks to our right choice and remaking, if we took the original bridge to the presentation, it was hard to tell whose bridge would lead.


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