Physics Student, admitted to Harvard, Caltech, Cornell
My motto has always been The first and the best. I follow it since high school. In seventh grade I started to win different contests, and in eleventh had the highest score at Russian National Physics Olympiad. I have three strong points that help me to win.
The first feature is ability to approach the target gradually and inevitably. If I set a long-time goal, I always get it, step-by-step, never reducing it or ceasing. That allowed me to graduate from high school in my fifteen with Gold medal. By this time, I have already used this idiosyncrasy in actual research. I participated in Young Physicists Tournament that required a half-year everyday work on about fifteen problems that included experiments and theories far beyond the high school program. In ninth grade I collected my team, and in eleventh we got the third prize at Russian National Round. It was funny to find in the January 97 issue of Notices of AMS the words of Richard Feynman about being the genius, as I used the twelve-problems-in-mind technique since my eighth grade of high school.
I continue to benefit from that feature in college. I have only excellent grades. I found myself having a very high physics motivation. On my first year I attended the Institute for Low Temperature Physics and Engineering and under Dr. A strenuously prepared for theoretical studies of low-dimensional systems. Once Dr. B gave me a problem on laser cooling, and I found it appealing. I have read many reviews and decided to dedicate some part of my future research to Bose condensation. To get prepared for the field I entered MIPT quantum radiophysics group, and at once started research in related areas. Under Dr. C I took part in He-3 experiment at Lebedev Physics Institute, my task was analyzing the mode structure of lasers used. That half-year practice gave me an extended knowledge of various instruments and techniques, and labs on advanced optics added experience. Recently I have discovered another applications for that trait. These are extracurricular activities. I search for some innovative idea, develop it and organize people to implement it. Due to my energy and constancy, it is brought to life.
The second trait that helps me to adhere to my motto is the unique brainstorming aptitude. I fully unfolded it in Olympiads. Solving fixed set of problems in short time, especially in competition I love that passionately. Procrastination is a bad trait, but it is sometimes delightful to see that I can collect all my power and solve a two-months assignment in one big strike.
The third quality is good analytical and mathematical thinking. In high school I took Analysis, Geometry and Differential Equations at university level. I won my first XX Region Olympiad on Mathematics in seventh grade, and in 10th and 11th I was a candidate to National one. On my first year I attended Department of Mathematics lectures and seminars and especially enjoyed Abel Theorem special course. My grandfather always provides me with different books on group theory and mathematical physics. At MIPT in 1997 I won highly competitive Math Problem Solving Contest conducted for students of all years.
All the above will help me much in pursuing my career of researcher. My career decision has formed in early childhood. Both my parents hold Ph.D. in physics and mathematics and are active researchers; my living example was not someone distant but my own grandfather, member of Russian National Academy of Sciences. My most favored field has always been Condensed Matter. At Institute of Solid State Physics, preparing a report, I first came across quantum dots, and enjoyed the subject. Next semester I will have a ten hours per week of solid state lab sessions at ISSP, and I hope to get ready to study that issue.
I am very well prepared for experimental science. I am confident that I have the greatest background among all MIPT students. In addition, I am the first to perform all lab assignments, I had the best experimental scores on all olympiads, and think I will be very good in experiments. However, my family still sees me as theorist in Fields and Particles, and I always keep in mind careful theory preparation.
My interests are English language and computers. I think I have rather good experience in both. For example, in 1996 I won XX City Olympiad in English, and was offered admission to Foreign Languages Department of XX University. I three times was a candidate to XX team to National Olympiad on Informatics, and the material self-studied in high school allowed me to write unofficial GRE Computer Science for 60% rank. I also worked with Dr. D, the Institute for Low Temperature Physics leading programmer, in developing the applications for data analysis. Now my computer interests shifted to networks and Internet resources, and I think that practice will be very helpful in my future research.
Though I see myself as a researcher and would prefer RA as a source of funds, I am well prepared for Teaching Assistantship. I worked as an instructor in the School by Correspondence, assisted in conducting contests for the IPhO team candidates with Prof. E, and organizing committee of Young Physicists Tournament annually invites me to consult the teams and judge the rounds.
People sometimes doubt the ability of 18-year old person to cope with life problems. My parents first received a job abroad when I was fourteen, so I live on my own for the last four years and I am financially independent for the last two. I am sure I am ready for graduate studies, and my experience of everyday English usage in my month-long trips to Australia and the USA, combined with English study since age of four, gives me assurance I will have no problems of language barrier or cultural shock.
The latest changes in fSU countries have brought about a dramatic decrease in R&D funds. As experimental science requires intensive funding, I wish to continue my education in the USA. I think it would be a good chance to receive the top level education under guidance of prominent scientists and excellent teachers, and to have access to first-class equipment.
I understand that the above statement is rather immodest, and will require an outstanding performance after admission. I am absolutely sure I will justify your hopes.