Thursday, December 11, 2014

Post 20.109 Introspection

20.109 was easily the most intensive class I took during my Junior Fall. Between spending ten hours a week in lab or lecture and then working on FNW assignments and completing the major assignments for each module, I spent (on average) about 22-26 hours a week on 20.109 alone. With so much time invested in the class, 20.109 also provided a good environment for introspection.
First, working with Marco was a tremendous partnership. While I prefer analysis to experimentation work, Marco preferred experimentation work to analysis. Similarly, my primarily interest lies in big picture thinking rather than experimental details; while the opposite is true for Marco. In this way, we formed a very complementary partnership and were able to best utilize both our interests and our strengths to bring each research module together.
20.109 further showed me that, while I enjoy research, my enjoyment primarily stems from the work that occurs outside of the lab. Reading the literature, finding gaps that can be explored, analyzing experiments and understanding how they fit into the greater scientific body of literature are the parts of research I enjoy most greatly. With that in mind, I want to look for a Ph.D. experience that focuses on these aspects.

Finally, the 20.109 proposal was the most exciting project I’ve done at MIT. I loved looking through scientific literature and trying to synthesize multiple ideas into a novel research project. I was also impressed by the quality of the proposals from my peers in 20.109! The ideas seemed truly novel and, in most cases, feasible. I only wish the experimental work was less labor and time intensive, such that like for computer science students, we could pursue these projects aside from our classes without making them our primary research focus.

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