Entry for January 30, 2007

Interview. Finally.

I was asked the questions I was expecting – such as:

What made you want to go into a technical profession? – Cuz Mommy and Daddy were and I like math and science.

Why did you choose MSE? – Cuz they gave me money to do it and I was going to transfer to ME after my sophomore year.

What was your favorite of all the research listed on this form? – Senior Thesis.

We covered other topics too before this point, which I can’t remember, which is why I wanted to write about it earlier. Sigh…

Anyway, after this point is where it begins to get hairy. He has me explain my senior thesis to him, and he asks pertainant questions like, what’s the motivation, why did you chose the particular alloy, doesn’t lead already have a really fine microstructure, what are the atomic numbers of the elements in your alloy, since you are dumb and don’t know that, can you rank them according to their weight/position on the periodic table, how do the characterization techniques (EBSD, DSC, XRD) work (which I also messed up a little bit – just because I wasn’t thinking straight. I do actually know that stuff.) .

When we had pretty much come to the end of my knowledge on that subject, he asked about my interests for grad school. I said fracture mechanics and mechanical properties. He said, so what’s that about, and I tried to tell him, but he wanted equations, and I wasn’t about to start deriving all of the Mechanics of solids equations, so I just said things like the griffith equation, crack length, stress, things like that. So then he asked how I would apply that to concrete, so with my small amount of knowledge about concrete, I attempted to answer his question.

Then he asked me what must have been geared at being a “general material science” type question. “So if I wanted to build a house that is light and strong, money is no object, what material shoudl I use?” I told him titanium because it’s light and strong and expensive, but he seemed to want more reasons than that and I didn’t have any.

Finally, he asked me a logic question that I still don’t understand and I failed completely: There are three doors. Behind one of them is money for you, if you pick it. You pick one door, then out of the two you haven’t chosen, one is opened to show that it doesn’t have the money. Are you better off keeping the door you initially chose, or switching your choice to the unopen, unchosen door? Apparently the right answer is to switch to the unchosen door, because it now has a 2/3 chance of being behind that door. I think it now has a 1/2 chance of being behind that door, but apparently I’m just dumb.

So, overall thoughts on the interview. The interviewer was a computer scientist. This means he has a very superficial knowlege of materials. This means he asks me questions about concrete, the numbers on the periodic table, doors with money behind them, and light and strong houses. I guess those are things that I should know, but I thought that they were sort of unknowledgable questions. What I mean by that is that I don’t think that those questions necessarily would prove my knowledge of materials, math skills, and other skills that I’ll need in graduate school.

Having said that, I think I did pretty badly and that I won’t get called back for the second round of interviews. However, this is alright, because I have gotten emails from three of my four grad schools of choice basically offering me money to go there. Won’t be as nice as a big nationwide fellowship, but there are some suckers out there who have to pay for graduate school, so I’m grateful.

In the next two weeks, you can look forward to a post summarizing the Federal Vision view of justification as opposed to the traditional reformed view of justification. I’m sure you will be overjoyed to read this, but I need a way to summarize what I’ve read in the huge justification report so that I remember it, and this would be a useful way.


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January 2007
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