Following up on my last post, "Building Bridges", I decided to be a man and not take the easy way out. So, I wrote a new essay just for Cornell Engineering, and would like some feedback on it. Specifically, how well does it read? If you guys could also be so kind as to advise me on whether I should submit this essay or develop "Building Bridges", that would also be great! Thanks in advance, and here's the prompt, followed by the essay:Engineers turn ideas (technical, scientific, mathematical) into reality. Tell us about an engineering idea you have or your interest in engineering. Explain how Cornell Engineering can help you further explore this idea or interest.
Gloomily sitting in my toothpick-strewn room early in the morning, I mulled over the checklist one more time. "A fifteen meter drop, one egg, no parachutes, a maximum mass of 200 grams, and, of course, the egg has to survive the drop." These were the specifications for the eleventh grade egg drop challenge. I frowned. The protective, egg-sized toothpick cage I'd made barely survived a two meter drop. Sighing, I lay back on the floor without an inkling how to redesign my prototype.
Throughout the day, I kept telling myself, "Come on, there must be other solutions." On the walk home from school, the roar of a passing Japan Coast Guard chopper put these thoughts on hold, as I turned my attention elsewhere.
"Look at that! If only I had a model helicopter, I could fly the egg down without a scratch."
"What's stopping you from making one?"
"Hmmm..." Not a bad suggestion! I'd never made rotors before (much less a whole helicopter), but the idea stuck. Besides, my surroundings had handed me a rare sliver of engineering inspiration. I wasn't about to reject a godsend like that.
Two days' tinkering and a toothpick-induced scratch across my knuckles completed the contraption. It was a sturdy assembly of barbecue sticks and folder plastic, held together by the tension of several elastics. The egg was safely nestled in the tetrahedral carriage, balanced on its tapered end for maximum strength during ground impact. "One egg, check; no parachutes, check; 200 grams, check; survival..." The test to ensure the last criterion had been met left me smiling. The egg-laden assembly spun six times and survived both the six meter fall and ground impact. Excellent! In fact, that gave me an idea for a name: Eggcellent. Yes, I'd christen my contraption "Eggcellent".
Despite the successful test, I remained nervous on the day of the challenge, and tried to allay my doubts with the scientific principles behind Eggcellent's design. "It will rotate, turning potential energy into rotational kinetic energy rather than destructive translational kinetic energy," I repeated over and over. My fears turned out to be unfounded. Eggcellent passed the eight and fifteen meter drops unscathed. During its final trial, the egg hurl, it careened, barely rotated, and brokenly hit the ground. However, as I worriedly walked over to retrieve it, the wholesome white of an unbroken egg peeked out at me. Eggcellent!
I pride Eggcellent as my first vehicular creation, and the enthusiasm to design many more draws me to Cornell. The highly specialized concentrations available to undergraduates enrolled in the Sibley School are especially appealing to me. These concentrations, involving fields such as aerospace and vehicle engineering, will allow me to cater to individual interests while pursuing a well-rounded mechanical degree. Furthermore, the idea of the Eggcellent was conceived on a walk, and I'm sure that treks through the gorgeous ravines, waterfalls, and lakes surrounding Cornell will prompt more ideas to further develop and broaden my interest in engineering.