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Caltech Essay: Interest about math, science, or engineering?


jfk 2 / 7  
Nov 21, 2010   #1
Prompt: Interest in math, science, or engineering manifests itself in many forms. Caltech professor and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman (1918-1988) explained, 'I'd make a motor, I'd make a gadget that would go off when something passed a photocell, I'd play around with selenium'; he was exploring his interest in science, as he put it, by 'piddling around all the time.' In a page, more or less, tell the Admissions Committee how you express your interest, curiosity, or excitement about math, science or engineering.

Any feedback, comments, or suggestions are gladly welcome!

My interest and curiosity in the world of academia is best embodied in a quality that I consider inherent in my personality; that is, the quality of intellectual vitality. "Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." I once stumbled upon this quote from Albert Einstein while surfing the web, and it has been a constant reminder of how I should approach life. I value this sense of intellectual vitality immensely, as it pervades virtually every aspect of my life. In each day that passes, I find myself asking more and more questions about the world around me, and nothing pleases me more than the pursuit of these answers. From the very basest of questions in every day life, to the most complex questions in theoretical physics, I find myself wanting to learn more and more every single day. The actions of learning, discovery, and wonder are exhilarating to both my mind and spirit.

My passion for learning truly evolved and flourished in high school. Before then, school was just school-nothing more. But it was at that point that I began to develop the intellectual maturity, curiosity, and presence of mind to truly appreciate the action of learning and discovery. Here, I was immersed in a world of intellectual freedom where nothing was impossible or out of reach. Since then, this passion has only grown more dynamic and more vibrant. Every experience I have strengthens this enthusiasm. The greatest way that I express my excitement about science is the unrelenting, indefatigable questioning of the world around me. Some might consider this a matter of imagination, but it is as real to me as the physical universe. Not a day goes by where I don't find myself asking, "How does that work?" or simply "Why does that happen?" It is incredibly thrilling to observe an affect, question it, and to pursue the answers, whether by discussion, reading, experimentation, or plain thought. Oddly enough, the only thing more exciting is to reach the end of the trail, where no one knows the answers; no one knows what is beyond the trail. It is in these seemingly simple pursuits that I find the most engaging, exhilarating crossroads: where the vitality of the mind reaches the edges of the known universe, where the possibilities and thrill of imagination and discovery are literally endless. This is what excites me most about the sciences, and the simple act of questioning is how I express that interest.

The expression of this excitement manifests itself in more ordinary ways as well. I pursue these opportunities academically, as a form of expression. The plain act of signing up for challenging courses in chemistry, physics, biology, and calculus is a way of satisfying my interest and curiosity in the sciences. The fact that I get to face these opportunities every single day is of immeasurable value to me. Even more so, this expression reaches out of the bounds of school. I have engaged myself in Michigan Tech Youth Program explorations, as well as summer engineering programs at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. This previous summer, I volunteered daily in a Materials Science and Engineering lab at UW- Madison. This was by far one of the most engaging and exciting academic experiences I have ever had. I shadowed a graduate student and his research in "Nanostructure Fabrication with Scanning Tunneling Microscope," and I even learned how to operate the STM! Every experience, from the first lab tour to the weekly research paper discussions, satiated my excitement, but at the same time, made me hungry for more.

In a different light, newfound pastimes reading the Scientific American and National Geographic have revealed to me the degree of my interest in the sciences. This passion extends even to the realms of fiction, where authors like Isaac Asimov have quickly become all-time favorites of mine. Reading, and the sphere of imagination is becoming an ever-greater source of expression. Einstein is quoted to have said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Particularly in the realms of science and discovery, he could not be more right. Every day that passes, my passion, interest, and excitement for learning grown only stronger. The expression of this passion comes in different forms and in different manners. Whether in the simple act of questioning, seizing academic opportunities, or in the form of imagination, the ways that I express my interest remain crucial to my intellectual vitality.
andygu 6 / 14  
Nov 25, 2010   #2
I think you talk about too many empty things, no details, and it's a bit wordy.
For example this paragraph "I value this sense of intellectual vitality immensely, as it pervades virtually every aspect of my life. In each day that passes, I find myself asking more and more questions about the world around me(what questions ?????) and nothing pleases me more thathe pursuit of these answers. (how do you pursue ????) From the very basest of questions in every day life, to the most complex questions in theoretical physics, I find myself wanting to learn more and more every single day. The actions of learning, discovery, and wonder are exhilarating to both my mind and spirit.

My passion for learning truly evolved and flourished in high school. Before then, school was just school-nothing more. But it was at that point that I began to develop the intellectual maturity, curiosity, and presence of mind to truly appreciate the action of learning and discovery. (tell more about intellectual maturity...) Here, I was immersed in a world of intellectual freedom where nothing was impossible or out of reach. Since then, this passion has only grown more dynamic and more vibrant. Every experience I have strengthens this enthusiasm. The greatest way that I express my excitement about science is the unrelenting, indefatigable questioning of the world around me."
yojo1 3 / 17  
Nov 25, 2010   #3
I agree with Tianyou. You talk about too much ambiguous concepts.
OP jfk 2 / 7  
Nov 25, 2010   #4
Thanks for the feedback!

I see your point, so I should be discussing more concrete details/examples?

When I was writing this I got into one of those writing fervors, but could you explain a little about how it is wordy/ what i can do to fix that?
saroth 11 / 47  
Nov 25, 2010   #5
That was really good and except for the ambiguous parts it apoke to me really well. You got my attention pretty quick. The best way to specify more would be to add strong concrete examples. Do you go to Rio Americano High School? I have a friend with the same name-Justin Kim. hehe.
OP jfk 2 / 7  
Nov 25, 2010   #6
Thanks for the feedback, and no, I live in Wisconsin =)


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