The prompt was College of Arts and Sciences:Describe your intellectual interests, their evolution, and what makes them exciting to you. Tell us how you will utilize the academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences to further explore your interests, intended major, or field of study.Cheating on Humanities!?
After seventeen years with a scientist, I notice a part of science remains alien to me. Whenever I encountered the periodic table, I saw 117 boxes with random numbers and letters. Yet, as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a scientist.
When I was four, I thought scientists poked at things; doctors occasionally poked their syringes at me. One day, I bumped into the wall in my dad's office. Angry, I poked a key into an outlet in the wall imagining that I could hurt the wall just as the doctors did to me. The result? A crying, surprised boy who didn't know the difference between doctors and scientists. Even until recently, I didn't understand what a scientist did.
It was a cold, dry October morning. My affair with chemistry began in an unseeming location: the dirty, old chemistry room in my school. I walked through the crowded hallways and up the stairs, making my way to the chemistry wing. As I entered the room, the teacher yelled "Take a seat as I set up a cupric chloride solution and cut a strip of iron!" A few seconds later, the blue cupric chloride solution reacted with a strip of iron wire in sodium silicate gel. At first, the entire gel radiated a fiery blue, and the wire projected dark gray. The contents of the test tube, however, transformed overnight; the blue color had disappeared, and the wire had grown fur!
When I analyzed the results, searching for the particularities in the reaction, I couldn't grasp the task. What relationship? What reaction? I was like many spectators; I ventured too close and saw the 29 protons and electrons, and 35 neutrons. When that failed, I tried to sit back, but I saw a furry, gray wire suspended in a gel. Upon examining through a microscope, I touched the truth. A tangled web of copper branches, once-blue copper ions reduced to copper metal, hugged the iron; the mass of rust-colored fur had tricked me. At that moment, I discovered what scientist meant. Whereas anyone can react two elements, only a few can find the optimal viewing frame. The sheer awe immersed my mind as I realized scientists take pictures at the best resolution.
Even if I find that perfect frame, I won't be finished. I know I can overlook or look too much, but mistakes flood my quest. I believe the College of Arts and Sciences, with its focus on learning and experimenting, offers the viewing frames; I once heard a student at Cornell say "Cornell can be summed up simply: Be the best at what we undertake to do". The CAS has more than interesting, cutting edge experiments; it has passionate teachers who show their students how to reach the viewing frame. And in this passionate environment, I know that I will be molded into a scientist. Even though chemistry was so alien, I discovered it offered more than a few beautiful sights. Sorry, humanities, looks like it's me, not you.