Sharing intellectual interests is an important aspect of university life. Describe an experience, literary work, class, project or idea that you find intellectually exciting, and explain why.
The hum of the centrifuge sharpened to an insistent whine, clicking softly as the safety lock disengaged. I collected my vial and reached for the pipette — that sixth extension of my hand. My fingers shook slightly, but I was careful not to drop the vial, for it contained precursor B cell receptor proteins in a concentration high enough to crystallize — my goal for the past month. Ever since my sixth birthday, when I read Cell Wars, a picture book on the immune system, I had wanted this moment of fruition and anticipation. I felt as if I were on the verge of entering the mid-game in chess. And in a sense, research feels much like that pastime. The first moves are procedural — everyone must move out the pawns and knights. From there, it gets interesting. My work requires the same combination of intuition and analysis as chess does — to probe the many possibilities not for the best moves, but for the optimum crystallization conditions. I must always think a couple steps ahead and compare each experimental result to my overarching hypothesis. And I do have an opponent — time. It took a few weeks before I was able to look through the Leica microscope and see baby crystals. They were not pretty rubies or sapphires, but they represented a beautiful checkmate.