Our lives are defined by experiences, with each one serving as a manifestation of our interests and circumstances. One cannot truly live without intellectual stimulation. Such stimulation can be derived from reading, listening, discussing and simply exercising one’s imagination. I’ve always believed that in order to truly discover yourself, you should fill your life with intellectual experiences.
Looking back on these years, I feel that my most important intellectual experience was one which I only went through recently, and yet has had a profound impact on my development as an individual.First of all, what are “intellectual experiences”? Surely, I’m not just throwing that phrase around in order to sound sophisticated. I define such experiences as those which push our minds in various aspects: whether it pushes your creativity, character or beliefs. I can safely say that if you possess a passion for something, you will find a strong experience related to it down the line. In my situation, it was such an experience which redefined and allowed me to express my interest in Physics. What could that experience be? In simple terms, it was the experience of coming up with a “theory” of nature.
Are you kidding me? A high school senior, with almost no mathematical background compared to the theoretical physicists he idolizes, has the audacity to tackle the question of the nature of reality? Clearly, such a reaction would only be natural and is something that is generally acceptable. However, one cannot go anywhere with that attitude. Even without the opportunity to conduct any research, or study under someone’s supervision, I went ahead and attempted to explain how the world works using a theory I’d like to call, “The Energy Layer Theory”. The theory, in its essence, was an attempt to separate the universe into two different layers of energy, with the lower energy layer all around us, yet not noticeable, while the higher energy layer serves as a stage for all the phenomena we see around us. I hypothesized that every fundamental force in nature had different pairs of these layers and that through movements between these layers, we could provide an explanation for the manifestation of these forces. Through a consideration of the exchange of energy between these two layers, and the gap in energies of these layers, I attempted to account for Entropy, Vacuum Energy, and even the difficulty in finding gravitons. Now is this theory unsound, untested, and very likely to be just the ramblings of a seventeen-year-old? Most definitely! But that’s not the point. What really matters is that I let my creativity, my curiosities, and my hopes express themselves in the form of the 11 pages of writing I expressed.
This experience meant the most to me, as it was my “first date” with the world of theoretical physics, and I felt like I had taken a monumental step into strengthening my ambitions for the scientific community. Every second I had spent framing this theory filled me with only unbound joy, and in spite of the fact that this was in the middle of my School Model Examinations, I only saw this as an opportunity to refine my time management skills. The attempt to correlate the various key concepts in Physics from Thermodynamics to Quantum mechanics made me much better at critical thinking, and the process of devising the basic concepts of the theory pushed my creativity and imagination to its limits. All in all, while this experience is difficult to classify under the conventional terms of “research”, “project”, “discussions” etc, it nevertheless has great significance as an intellectual experience. During the nights spent refining the ins and outs of the Energy Layer Theory, and the time spent juggling my examinations with this, I felt as if I had grown as a person.
My ambition to be a Theoretical Physicist, my passion for the subject, and my desire to contribute to the wealth of knowledge under science only became clearer, and my experience served as a stimulus to rediscover my hidden creativity and portray it just like how an artist expresses his/her thoughts on a canvas. Only time will tell where this experience takes me as a person, but if there was one thing I could say with absolute certainty, it would be that regardless of the outcome, this attempt at expressing my views and beliefs of the world is definitely a turning point in my life.