My full Harvard application, including some notes for the "Why Harvard?" question of the interview.

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Optional essay

My Passion for Science and Math

One of my favorite aspects of science is that the conflicts of ideologies aren't resolved with weapons, warfare, and demagoguery but with reason and rationality. Moreover, these conflicts even promote scientific advancement as their resolution and the disproving of one thing or another is in the best interest of the entire scientific community because they are all united by one overarching objective: to uncover the truth about reality. Specifically, I'm drawn to Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science all for the same reason: I want to understand the universe by studying its phenomena and these three topics of study are the tools I need in order to do so. Mathematics is the most fundamental of these; math is direct, descriptive, and concise in representing our world.

I find Mathematics and Physics so profound because the laws discovered in their study not only existed before humans, but have existed since the beginning of time and space. This means we're discovering the indisputable and invariant laws of the cosmos. Thus, these discoveries are the closest to absolute truth one may achieve. This is remarkable. The inherent integration of mathematics and physics with reality provides them with a certain beauty that’s unique to the sciences. It is this beauty that attracts me.

I think that math’s infinite reach and multitude of approaches makes it the most formidable field. Just as there is not only one way to solve a problem, there is not only one way to understand a concept or principle of mathematics. Another appealing quality is the description of perceptibly inaccessible attributes/objects (such as the geometric 4th dimension) using mathematics.

However, the most interesting thing about the world, which Mathematics allows us to identify, is its interconnectedness. The relations between superficially discrete phenomena can become integrally connected from a comprehensive Mathematical view. The depth of Mathematics is incredibly intimidating and to understand even a fraction of it would be an incredible feat. If, as Richard Dawkins has said, science is the poetry of reality, then mathematics is the language of reality.

Research short statement

As I mentioned in the Common Application, I interned at a Physical Chemistry lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this summer. The results of our research have been published in "The Journal of Physical Chemistry". This experience further developed my interest in laboratory research and exposed me to some of the applications of advanced mathematics such as the Fourier series. In the future, I’d like to work on the mathematics behind experiments in order to generate further predictions and analysis. I currently most enjoy creating mathematical models of physical phenomena and mathematically analyzing experimental data.

Why Harvard (for interview)

Math 55 - Likely the most rigorous undergraduate math program in the country 
Harvard College Mathematics Review - Journal produced by undergraduates
Math table - students meet for dinners to listen to talks
Math Concentration - a lot of flexibility 
Joint Concentrations - physics and math
Harvard's success in the Putnam competition 
Cross-registration at MIT - I enjoy combinatorics and logic 
Summer oppurtunites with IBM 
Lisa Randall - Watch her all the time on Charlie Rose, went to Dad's high school, she teaches physics at harvard
The Harvard Legacy - Bill gates, 
Mr. Bryan - High school principle, english teacher, went to Harvard for graduate school. 
Bruce Gordon - friend of my dad's, a lot of fun and very knowledgeable, smart, fun to talk to. 


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