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"Why Cornell" Essay - Cosmology and Quantum Theory

Isabellaalmeida 11 / 26 5  
Dec 11, 2017   #1
Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests?

Cornell offers me a lot

A zombie cat that is 50% dead and 50% alive until one opens the box, or a diamond planet orbiting a neutron star; the perfect adjustment of Electromagnetic Force, or a planet being set a the right distance from the right star in the right place of such hostile Universe in order to make life possible: the exploration of such weirdly fine-tuned place is what drives me to Cosmology and Quantum Theory.

Studying cosmology means comprehending not only the beginning and evolution of the Universe, but also the matter, forces and energies that shape the most beautiful supernovas, the largest black holes and the most beautifully structured galaxies; it means, essentially, comprehending us: why are the physical constants perfectly adjusted for life? How does a black hole's singularity, where neither space nor time exist, work? If there is a "place" where even space, maybe the most certain true we hold, does not exist, is there anything we actually can be certain about?

Similarly, studying Quantum Mechanics conveys understanding the Socratic Paradox that little, very little do we know about things: Heisenberg's Uncertain Principle suggests, for example, that our exploration of reality itself has a limit; Quantum Tunneling shows that we can cross the walls. I am not saying that we live in a Matrix-like reality, but the idea that everything is harmonized shapes who I am today, not only stupefying my curiosity, but deeply impacting my perspective of life, purpose and the world around me. In this sense, I am deeply fascinated by the beginning of the Universe, but we find difficulties in unrevealing this mystery due to the apparently divergence between the physics of the astronomical and the tiny.

Since my interests lay on the intersection between Cosmology and the Quantum Theory, I need to pursue an education that allows me to explore both fields and to do independent study, considering that I may eventually come across topics not deeply addressed by regular classes during my undergraduate studies. Cornell perfectly meets this goal through its Advanced Study and Research, which allows me to explore guided readings not covered during classes, and engage in individual work guided by faculty members through the Independent Study classes offered in the Physics major. Also, when it comes to connecting both Astronomy and Physics, Cornell offers me the possibility of pursuing the Astrophysics concentration, through which I can customize my studies. In this context, one of the reasons that allured me to Cornell is its Physics curriculum, that covers over than 17 classes on Modern Physics broadening from Cosmology to Quantum Mechanics to General Relativity. Also, since my purposes also lay on expanding Science by bringing my lectures to the next level, I am deeply interested in the "Learning and Teaching Physics" classes.

Likewise, I found that the Astronomy Lunch ideally addresses my ideal of mutual growth and knowledge exchange, by creating an environment that allows interaction between Astronomy-lovers not founded in many others places, also stimulating a deep exchange of ideas, and bringing the possibility of making life-friends and research partners.

Likewise, since I am pursuing a researcher career, a research experience during my undergraduate experience is crucial to my professional goal. In this context, REU called my attention due to the possibility of developing my own research, and interacting with other prospect scientists through group activities. Also, considering my purpose of converging "the big" and "the small", I would love to learn from and work with Professor Liam McAllister, whose article "String Cosmology: A Review" furthered my idea of converging the cosmic and the quantum worlds.

I strongly believe that Cornell gives me not only the flexibility I need to pursue my academic endeavors, but also a cooperative, challenging and socially enriching atmosphere that are key factors to my personal and academic development.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 14,797 4780  
Dec 12, 2017   #2
Isabella , maybe leave out the reference to the zombie cat at the start? It doesn't sound like it relates to your complex interests in Cosmology and Quantum Theory. The diamond planet sounds more interesting and related to the presentation though. You can open with that reference instead. Maybe you can add a sentence at the end that humorously explains how these interests brought you to the steps of Cornell CAS as well. That way you immediately connect your interests with the university. Now, for each reference that you present, immediately relate that to some specific department at Cornell. Don't wait till the last paragraph to make everything come together. You want to make sure that the reviewer knows some specific and related information the minute his scans your essay. That way, you have a better chance of having him thoroughly read your paper. Paragraphs 5 and 6 both start with the same word; "Likewise". Try to not create a redundancy in the presentation even though it is in 2 separate but succeeding paragraphs. Start one with "Likewise" then start the next one with , "In addition to that..." or something similar.
MessyMix - / 1  
Dec 21, 2017   #3
Holt, the "zombie cat" is actually a reference to Schrodinger's cat, a quantum theory thought experiment. But it's true that the "zombie" makes it sound informal / childish. The general gist of the essay is sound, and I like the flow of the first half of the essay. :)
johanessuhardjo 1 / 1  
Dec 24, 2017   #4
Hi Isabella,
I think your essay is very great. Perhaps, it is the most convincing essay for univeristy entrance I've ever read in my life. You have a very big dream there with converging "the big" and "the small", I encourage you to pursue it. Anyway, you shouldn't be worried about your entrance, I think you must be accepted with even scholarship maybe. If you are going to university next year then we should be at the same age, and with all your knowledge about quantum and cosmology, I wonder, where are you from? And what are you studying right now? Are you joining some kind of physics olympiad? I will be happy to know you more and to help each other since I am also interested in those subjects. And if you have some time, would you please check my essay that i will post in near future (this is the first day I join the forum) because I think I'm not so good in writing.
jlee18 4 / 5 3  
Dec 25, 2017   #5
I really like this! As a fellow lover of physics, I found it really intriguing and fun to read. I think one way you can make it even stronger is to throw in a personal example of something you did in high school and write how that experience made you want to be apart of the program or you want to continue it at Cornell.

for example [ making this up]
"As a member of the science olympiad team at high school, the lessons I've learned from the team emulate the experiences Cornell's learning atmosphere will give me"

really bad example but something like that.
tmuk 1 / 2  
Dec 27, 2017   #6
hie Issabella
A well composed introduction and an amusing flow of ideas, I like the way you describe your intellectual interests although they are not very distinguishable.

Paragraphing is a good idea, but a bit more clarity can be shown by stating rather...
However your essay is an excellent script and a few grammatical corrections will make it suitable to be handed in

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