I haven't yet decided if this will be my common app essay or an essay for a supplement, but I wanted some feedback just for now. thanks for reading!Topic of Your Choice
Standing at a shore, I notice the fluid movement of the rushing waves crashing along the shore. Each wave is composed of masses of atoms, far away from each other, yet forming white waves in unison. Far long before there were eyes on our earth to see, different atoms where following the same rhythmic movement, performing on their humble stage before a dead planet. Deep in the sea, all molecules follow the same pattern until new ones are formed, more complex and intricate in their design. Their multiplication begins and thus begins a new dance. Growing in size and intricacy, forming new bodies of mass with DNA and proteins, life is formed. Out of the sleepy, oceanic womb where life was conceived, onto dry land, and following the elegant rules of natural selection. Until finally, I stand before the shore, thinking about the grandiose creation of life when essentially I am nothing but atoms with consciousness, matter with curiosity. This, is scientific wonderment.
Aristotle perceived physical laws to be governed by logic. He thought that a heavier object would fall quicker to the ground than a lighter object, which we know today is not true due to Galileo and Newton. In fact, as we delve into the extreme conditions of nature, logic is nowhere to be seen. When talking about subatomic scales, particles act completely bizarre to our everyday standards, if you were to visit a bar at the Planck Constant's length (smaller than a proton), visitors would simply walk through and into walls, and your subatomic cocktail would disappear before you would get the chance to sip it down. In quantum theory, a particle doesn't have a certain past or "history" in fact, its past is all of the available histories. Quantum theory postulates that on subatomic scales, knowing the history or future of an atom is not in practice impossible but in principle impossible. Instead, we can calculate the probability that a particle will follow a certain path. The repercussions of such a theory are immense, and surely chilling to many philosophers. To think that the laws of nature are governed by chance was frightening to imagine during the rise of quantum theory in the 1930s. As the late, great physicist Richard Feynman said: "If you think you understand quantum theory, than you don't understand quantum theory."
The true beauty of science is its uncanny, yet inevitable correlation to mathematics. Mathematics is a human invention striving to culminate our rational thought into numbers. Our natural numbers ( 0-9) were chosen thousands of years ago by ancient cultures. The wonderment emerges when looking back at history, we can see several times that a mathematician worked on a piece of theoretical math and only years later did it fit precisely with a then, unexplainable physical phenomenon. The mathematician Fourier developed his Fourier Series and years later, we use the Fourier series to explain the recurring wave phenomenon found in physics and even the way our ear translates different pitches into smooth sound. How is it that we humans developed a completely subjective and theoretical piece of mathematics, and later we find that it fits perfectly with the laws of nature governed by forces of cosmological proportions unknown to us humble beings. This bond between the two fields of study is phenomenal as it is mysterious.
As a naturalist, one who admires the intricacy and beauty of the laws of nature, I feel compelled to learn more about the complexity of nature out of admiration for its incessant rules. The laws of nature go far beyond the boundaries of human imagination and ability, and studying science, is a humbling experience in itself. We humans are mere sculptors, chiseling slowly but surely into the marble that hides the true face of nature, until we form our own sculpture of the way we perceive nature to be, but not necessarily how it really is.