What began as a curiosity in a few architectural sites resulted in something
much larger. Over the past five years, David has visited over 600
architectural landmarks in the Midwest and Northeast, exploring the
works of those including Wright, Pei and Eero Saarinen. He did much
of his research while a student at Hamilton High School, where he was
a National Merit Scholar, Tandy Scholar and Wal-Mart Scholar. He has
accomplished all of this in spite of having Lamellar Ichthyosis, a rare
and energy-consuming skin condition. About his condition he says, “It
has caused me to realize my limitations but also to strive with my best
efforts." For his application to MIT, David was asked to write his own
question and then answer it.
Aesthetics and Calculus – MIT
David’s Question: Describe how such seemingly different subjects such as
aesthetics and calculus can be integrated (pun intended) to exemplify a
larger pattern of interrelated creative and applied thought. Include obscure
but pertinent references to Heisenberg, conga drums, Maurice Ravel, the
history of German Literature and Alden B. Dow when applicable.
A principal characteristic that exemplifies my essay is that the question is
more important than the answer, especially when the question requires
thinking outside the box.
This topic is based on my research presentation, The Aesthetics of Calculus
1, which I found extremely interesting as a discovery process. The mathematical
analysis tools of calculus can be applied to the artistic elements of
life including photography, visual art, architecture and music. The relations
described by calculus functions are crucial to a true comprehension of
photography, technical aspects that allow for enhanced artistic expression
within the realm of light and optics, media which allow us to visualize and
appreciate the realm of visual art.
Stimulating and intricate works of art can be created from the math topics
of topology, fractal geometric regression (an example of which I discovered
in a math contest problem) and general aesthetic proportion. Especially meaningful to me are the examples I analyzed in the field of architecture in
which hyperbolic functions of structural caternaries, hyperbolic paraboloid
concrete marvels and other unit-based geometric works by Alden B. Dow,
F.L. Wright and Santiago Calatrava. Finally, I explored the mathematical descriptions
of waves for musical instruments, such as organ pipe lengths and
the volume of wood that allows percussive resonance in conga drums.
This independent research has helped me to clarify that I want to pursue an
education that will allow me to enrich an understanding not only of scientific analysis, but also of the aesthetic creative development. This mathematical
learning has caused me to enjoy such hobbies as photography
and (almost concert-level) piano even more because I can appreciate the
principles supporting them, such as the complex harmony of compositions
by Maurice Ravel. I have learned that architecture best integrates many
different elements of art, music, engineering, history and math to create
a more efficient and beautiful environment to benefit the people who live
and work with these buildings. Therefore, the intellectual environment
of MIT best encompasses the knowledge to pragmatically accomplish the
creative problem-solving for building people up through their architectural
Why This Essay Succeeded
Good essays demonstrate how a student sees his or her fit with the
college. Without beating you over the head, David shows his match
with MIT. This college seeks students who are talented in fields like
mathematics and who can relate their book learning to the real world.
Wouldn’t you agree David has demonstrated he is MIT material? We
certainly believe the admission officers did.
College Admission Essays - College Admission Essays