My application to Stanford.read more
NAME YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS, AUTHORS, FILMS, AND/OR MUSICAL ARTISTS. Brave New World, Our Posthuman Future, Einstein: His Life and Universe, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Chaos: Making a New Science, Ishmael, Pi, Gattaca, The Pianist, Good Will Hunting, "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman", What do you care what other people think?, Goodfellas, Inside Man, Flatland WHAT NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, AND/OR WEBSITES DO YOU ENJOY? engadget.com, damninteresting.com, betterexplained.com, xkcd.com, slashdot.org, engineerguy.com, ted.com, worrydream.com, nytimes.com, wolframalpha.com WHAT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE THAT SOCIETY FACES TODAY? The most significant challenge society faces and has been facing for decades is the acceptance of differences, whether it be religious, racial, geographical, cultural, or even methodological. Society needs to be more accommodating of those who think and act differently. HOW DID YOU SPEND YOUR LAST TWO SUMMERS? I spent my most recent summer working at a Physical Chemistry lab at UNC Chapel Hill. The prior summer, I was accepted to a Summer Ventures in Science and Mathematics program where I learned about computer applications in physics and completed a project on nonlinear dynamics and chaotic behavior. WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITE EVENTS (E.G., PERFORMANCES, EXHIBITS, SPORTING EVENTS, ETC.) THIS PAST YEAR? Watched Women's World Cup, attended Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, Louis C.K. Live at the Durham Performing Arts Center, The Universe, Then and Now: Reflections from the 'Big Bang Machine'" by John Parsons WHAT HISTORICAL MOMENT OR EVENT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE WITNESSED? I wish I had witnessed the moon landing; the energy and unity of the entire world over such a fantastic accomplishment must have been incredible. WHAT FIVE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU? Curious, logical, intelligent, engaged, and passionate. 1. STANFORD STUDENTS POSSESS AN INTELLECTUAL VITALITY. REFLECT ON AN IDEA OR EXPERIENCE THAT HAS BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOUR INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT. In the beginning of my 10th grade year, prior to taking Calculus or even being aware of what it entailed, I investigated the equation for finding the area of a sector of a circle. I wanted to be able to visualize the equation at work. In what came to be common practice for endeavors like these, I imagined each part of the equation as a geometric object on my piece of paper. I was then faced with the challenge of rearranging a square area to fit in a circle. To fit the circle's curvature, I imagined taking a very large number of nearly width-less rectangles whose length was the circle's radius from the square area and staggering them so that they began at the center of the circle and ended on the circle's edge. Maintaining all quantities in the formula, I was able to rearrange the equation to embody this new outlook by taking the sum of these very small but numerous rectangles. All the other terms in the equation simply represented how much of circle's area was being calculated. I brought the idea to my math teacher and she said that I had discovered integral Calculus. I found it remarkable that I had been able to discover an entire area of study by pursuing a simple question asked of a simple formula. Since that time, I've always been eager to further explore what I learn in school and I've developed a personalized methodology oriented around spatial reasoning to enhance my learning. 2. VIRTUALLY ALL OF STANFORD’S UNDERGRADUATES LIVE ON CAMPUS. WRITE A NOTE TO YOUR FUTURE ROOMMATE THAT REVEALS SOMETHING ABOUT YOU OR THAT WILL HELP YOUR ROOMMATE – AND US – KNOW YOU BETTER. Hey, If you're reading this then you've survived the college application process. So, let me not be the first to congratulate you. I'm somewhat of an unusual character. I enjoy interspersing obscure vocabulary words into daily conversation. My computer's keyboard layout is different (I type in Dvorak). I like dubstep and classical music. I approach problems differently from most people. However, I think it's better to be strange and interesting than bland and boring. I'm apathetic about various parts of my persona that many people care about, yet I'm remarkably passionate about others that most do not care about. I'm not too much of an extravert (INTP, if you are wondering) but I don't think I'm a misanthrope. I love to talk to people. I'm not saying I like the circuitous banter we can often find ourselves involved in; I thrive on deep discussion. I never back away from, or try to prematurely conclude, a philosophical, mathematical, or scientific conversation. In fact, I've found that I often ask the question or challenge the opinion that starts them. I hope to continue offering a unique vantage point; I'm a strict determinist (I don't believe in free will) and I fall between agnostic and atheist on the religious spectrum. I am unyielding when it comes to understanding a concept. I'll investigate if I overhear something that I find interesting. If it's explained to me and I still don't understand, I'm going to pursue the topic on my own until I do. It's often the case that the things I don't understand are those that interest me the most. 3. WHAT MATTERS TO YOU, AND WHY? My curiosity and desire for a profound understanding matters greatly to me. This curiosity is what drives me to learn and to really understand. I act on this curiosity whenever it reveals itself. When an instructor or peer says something that's taken to be true, I test it in my head. I try to find an exception and try to uncover faulty logic. If I don't do this, then I'm bored. I can't help but ask these questions to stay interested. I'm not living life just to get through it; just to have work run over me. I'm living to embrace it. I'm living to understand it. As we see from the scientific method, true understanding starts with questioning. It takes curiosity to uncover a new world or way of thinking and it takes creativity to explain that new world using personally developed tools. It is thus my curiosity that has developed my creativity. This is also why I choose not to follow in a great person's footsteps but to take an untraveled path. Rather than ask the questions that led someone to accomplishment, I ask the questions that haven't been asked before. The path isn't what makes the traveler successful, it's the kind of mind that chose the path. Curiosity is at the heart of my mind. If you can't win at a game, you invent your own. That's what I do every day. I don't want to compete directly against others on understanding a concept using the same method; I want to create my own way of understanding the concept. Curiosity matters to me because we are seen by the paths of interest we take, and curiosity is what has led me on my path.