Aug 26, 2009 #1

1. Stanford students are widely known to possess a sense of intellectual vitality. Tell us about an idea or an experience you have had that you find intellectually engaging.

Satirical, analytical, whimsical, mathematical, and downright bizarre, the concept of uniting fictional two-dimensional characters within a three-dimensional world is a story straight out of science fiction. While some students searched the page's contents for pictures or tried to doze off, I eagerly traversed through Flatland with the idea that mathematics can be applicable in any sort of reality. Edwin A. Abbott's classic opened my previously one-sided, strict Catholic mind to a completely new way of thinking, as was the author's intention.

Why stop there? I discovered the DVD version of Flatland to provide a visual aid. I mentioned it to my Honors Geometry teacher who initially denied the existence of such a movie. When I brought in the movie she included it in a class presentation.

I continued this expedition by reading Sphereland. These concepts were more difficult to analyze and comprehend. For example, I still grapple with how to imagine what a hypersphere would appear like. The hotly-debated issue of the fourth or fifth dimension began to unfurl in my mind and led to an inevitable progression in Flatterland.

Exploring dimensional concepts further in Flatterland almost overwhelmed me with the idea of an infinite amount of universes, a mathiverse, and advanced references to Calculus. I am confident that I will understand many of these concepts better as I take AP Calculus this year. A great idea that I have taken from this engaging experience is that multidimensional/multivariable mathematical models can become infinitely complex. I fully expect to further explore multidimensional, mathematical modeling in my future career, albeit without the aid of cute fictional characters.

Satirical, analytical, whimsical, mathematical, and downright bizarre, the concept of uniting fictional two-dimensional characters within a three-dimensional world is a story straight out of science fiction. While some students searched the page's contents for pictures or tried to doze off, I eagerly traversed through Flatland with the idea that mathematics can be applicable in any sort of reality. Edwin A. Abbott's classic opened my previously one-sided, strict Catholic mind to a completely new way of thinking, as was the author's intention.

Why stop there? I discovered the DVD version of Flatland to provide a visual aid. I mentioned it to my Honors Geometry teacher who initially denied the existence of such a movie. When I brought in the movie she included it in a class presentation.

I continued this expedition by reading Sphereland. These concepts were more difficult to analyze and comprehend. For example, I still grapple with how to imagine what a hypersphere would appear like. The hotly-debated issue of the fourth or fifth dimension began to unfurl in my mind and led to an inevitable progression in Flatterland.

Exploring dimensional concepts further in Flatterland almost overwhelmed me with the idea of an infinite amount of universes, a mathiverse, and advanced references to Calculus. I am confident that I will understand many of these concepts better as I take AP Calculus this year. A great idea that I have taken from this engaging experience is that multidimensional/multivariable mathematical models can become infinitely complex. I fully expect to further explore multidimensional, mathematical modeling in my future career, albeit without the aid of cute fictional characters.