Monday, January 8, 2007

Chapter One Preview

As I mentioned on my primary blog, I'm in the process of writing a book. It will take me quite some time, especially considering that I don't write on a daily basis, but I hope that it will be completed by the close of 2007. Here is a preview of a section of Chapter 1, which will almost be a biography-esque chapter --
...But what else has happened in the life of Matthew Newman? I was a dork my entire life. While some children yearn to be astronauts, superheroes, or firefighters; I was playing with my “Too Gross” mad scientist set saying that I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up. In elementary and middle school we learned about the sciences in lumps, with little to no rhyme or reason behind anything. We'd talk about dinosaurs and fossils one week, followed by a simple chemical experiment. Throughout that time I learned all about mathematics, I absorbed it and when I began to learn algebra in seventh grade, I was enthralled. To me, math had always been like a puzzle – one which I actually had enjoyed doing, unlike those ridiculous piece puzzles that showed pictures of puppies or famous works of art. With the realization that I loved math combined with the fact that I was really good at it, I decided that I wanted to find a way to merge my love of math into my love of science that I carried on from childhood.

In high school we began to delve more deeply into the specific sciences and continue my diving into mathematics. The first of my high school scientific explorations was earth science, or as I liked to call it “Rocks 101.” We learned about rocks of all shapes and sized, we learned about how the rocks were formed, and so on. It was the most boring class I believe I've ever taken and I've taken years of math courses during my undergraduate career. My sophomore year we learned about biology. I thought this would be interesting, but the memorization was all manner of irritating. It did not feel like a science class as nothing appeared to be quantified; everything was observational with little to no structure. I hated it, despite doing well in the course. Following that came the science I had always dreamed of, chemistry. I became enthralled by chemistry; it was a science that I could understand, that was straightforward and easily accessible to one who could figure out patterns, and it was incredibly quantitative. I loved it, so much so that I took physics the following year merely to build a better foundation for my chemistry knowledge. I knew that this was the type of scientist I wanted to be when I grew up – I wanted to be a chemist.

At seventeen, I began looking into colleges. Being the valedictorian of my class, I knew I could get into most universities, but first I needed to know how I would use my love of chemistry to get a job in the real world beyond my schooling. I looked into the chemistry related fields and found chemical engineering – the application of chemistry, commonly in industrial settings. It sounded magical, perfect even. I said to myself, “I'll take it.” I applied all across New York being accepted into all five of the schools I applied. In the end, my school decision came down to money and name recognition, which led me back to the city I was born, Troy, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

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