Statement of Purpose
Since I was a little boy, I have had a voracious curiosity about the inner workings of the universe. I would often ask my teachers questions for which they didn’t have the answers, so I would take it upon myself to learn the answers. I frequently found that my questions had to do with Physics and Chemistry, where the most complex processes in the universe can be described by theory. The most wonderful thing about the time period that we live in is that a wealth of information is more available than it ever was. This ability to access information makes answering some questions pretty quick, but often leads me to realize that researchers are currently trying to answer the same questions. One of the most alluring things of research is that it is on the edge of what is known. Physics opened up a Pandora’s box of unsolved problems which will continue to lead my curiosity until the day I die. For that reason, I have chosen to do Physics for the rest of my life.
I had not started my university degree as a Physics major. In fact, I began my schooling as a Chemistry major, because I believed that I would have a higher degree of job security if I studied Chemistry and then went into industry. I was unhappy during my freshman year of schooling, because I constantly had the dream of becoming a Physicist in the back of my mind. My curiosity eventually drove me into doing some research into the possibility of becoming a Physicist. I realized that graduate school was my goal, and that I needed to start working harder to be accepted. Since that point, I have been working to my full potential, and have improved tremendously along the way.
I have been doing undergraduate research in the area of population dynamics with Michel Pleimling at Virginia Tech for two years. This research allows me to explore emergent phenomena from random interactions between species to better understand how to predict the fate of ecological systems. I was exposed to a small area of Soft Condensed Matter Physics through an undergraduate Polymer Physics course during my junior year. I couldn’t get enough, often being multiple chapters ahead of my professor in the prescribed textbook, and I started finding articles to read that were relevant to the material we were covering in class. I was hired as an intern at Lawrence Livermore National Lab over the summer between my junior and senior years, which exposed me to Solid State Physics. My research project was to find classical potentials to describe Iron at high pressures. I was introduced to molecular dynamics software, and wrote codes to find the most stable crystalline phases of Iron for certain potentials. Comparing our most stable phases to the stable phases obtained by density functional theory, we progressed towards classical potentials that didn’t require as much computational power as methods used by density functional theory. After my Summer experience, I enrolled in a graduate Solid State Physics course to prove my capability in studying graduate level physics.
I have chosen Condensed Matter Physics as my preferred area of study, because I am fascinated by the physics of quasiparticles, collective excitations, and unusual states of matter. I am highly interested in learning more about topological materials, their properties, and their applications. Add Specific researchers here.