Critique my statement of purpose for Perimeter Scholar Program

In summary, the author is a post-graduate in Physics from Cochin University of Science and Technology and has completed a number of research projects which include work on cosmology, artificial neural networks, and graduate research interests.
  • #1
hareesht23
6
1
This is a draft of my SoP that I plan to send out to the Perimeter Institute for Perimeter Scholar Program. The program is designed for a 10-month duration focusing on theoretical physics. Please give opinion and suggestions for improving my statement of Purpose.

'
Motivation and Research Background
I am a post-graduate in Physics from Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Kerala, India. Like many others, my initial interest in theoretical physics was a result of many popular science books I have read about the topic. My initial enthusiasm took a formal turn when I joined for masters at CUSAT, where I got an opportunity to study the subject in detail and carry out some research work. While at CUSAT, I took advanced courses on cosmology and quantum mechanics which I passed with a grade point of 9.0 out of 10.0 in both. As a part of my coursework, I got the chance to study an elective course on quantum field theory and learn in-depth about the canonical quantisation of fields. I also took an elective course on Computational Physics in this period. During the course, I did programming in Python and used numerical techniques, like finite difference, and Runge-Kutta method to solve problems like finding the energy levels of a particle in a potential well. In the backdrop of the exposure I had, I find myself inclined towards theoretical physics, with my specific interests lie in the understanding of the evolution and nature of our universe.
Projects Completed
I would like to classify my completed projects based on the specific domain they fall into.
Cosmology
For my master’s project, I worked on the emergent cosmology paradigm. The postulated expansion law for the universe in emergent cosmology had uncertainty regarding the choice of volume for a non-flat universe. For my master’s project, I analysed the thermodynamic properties of the apparent horizon to solve this problem. The Journal for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (JCAP 1912 (2019) no.12, 024) recently published our results. During the time of the project, I had the opportunity to learn about the more generalised gravity theories like Gauss-Bonnet and Lovelock gravity and the modified Friedmann equations in these approaches. The research exposure gained during this period has ignited my passion for continuing the research in a world reputed institution.
Artificial Neural Networks
During my master’s program, I took an elective course on Artificial Neural Networks. As a part of the course, I completed a project on optimising the performance of the network for classification problems. We tried to classify 20 different alphabets from a mixture of data of 20000 characters distributed randomly and studied how the efficiency of the network can be improved. Currently, I am pursuing an online course on data analysis in astronomy. As a high amount of observational data will be generated in the next few years, I believe that my knowledge in machine-learning techniques and data analysis will give me an edge for theoretical modelling.
Graduate Research Interests
I have gone through the coursework of the Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) program. I understand that the PSI program is the perfect spot to enhance my understanding of every regime of theoretical physics. Moreover, the dynamic research environment maintained by the
Perimeter Institute inspires me to be a part of it. I would consider myself as someone with good communication, research and scientific writing skills, and my IELTS score of 7.5 on 9.0 stands as a testimony for that. I believe that my prior background and the demonstrable research experiences make me a suitable candidate for the PSI program.''
 
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  • #2
It looks pretty good reading it briefly but you could make it much stronger. I know its hard to write about yourself and sometimes you'll also have to do it when you need a recommendation and the recommender asks YOU to write your own letter of recommendation so they can edit it and sign it. (Basically it means they don't know enough or remember enough to write a letter from scratch and need your help so they can help you).

One thing I noticed is the extra fluff you put in that can be removed to make your statements more decisive:
Like many others, my initial interest in theoretical physics was a result of many popular science books I have read about the topic and took a formal turn when I joined the masters program at CUSAT and performed some research work in cosmology. The work focused on ...
...
During my master’s program, I took an elective course on Artificial Neural Networks. As a part of the course, where I completed a project on optimizing the performance of the network for classification problems. We tried to classify classified 20 different alphabets from a mixture of data dataset of 20000 characters distributed randomly and studied studying how the efficiency of the network can be improved.

Perhaps running it through a tool like Grammarly would help although you might have to get a subscription.

Do you have an English teacher or lawyer you trust to help you with streamlining it? One time I wrote something that I thought was pretty decent and gave to a recently minted lawyer she sliced it up, kept the meaning and really nailed what I wanted to say while making it much shorter.

Some of Strunk's words could apply here:

"Omit needless words", "Vigorous writing is concise" and more quotes that apply in the web link below:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/6437238.William_Strunk_Jr_

Try to simplify without losing the meaning. Also be mindful of spelling errors a few of your words like quantization and optimizing were marked as misspelled (could be English vs American spelling though)

Perhaps @ZapperZ or @Dr. Courtney could review it too.
 
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  • #3
I encourage students I mentor not to repeat too much stuff in their essays that is readily apparent elsewhere on their applications. The essay is an opportunity to present new, favorable information that may be carefully chosen to align with what is most likely wanted by those evaluating a given application. I encourage students to review carefully the program they are applying to as well as all the named faculty or faculty-level scientists to consider what to emphasize in their essays. There are occasions where the best approach to the essays is to give new and more detailed information relating to a high level item (such as a project or publication) listed elsewhere on the application. There are other occasions where the best approach may be to discuss experiences or accomplishments that are not even listed elsewhere on the application. Often motivations and the occasions that produce them occur much earlier than one begins to gather the accomplishments that appear elsewhere on these applications.

Each student or other applicant has a huge bucket of experiences and accomplishments. Each research program has specific needs and biases regarding what they are looking for. The goal in preparing applications is to draw material from one's bucket of experiences and accomplishments that are the best match for what a specific program is looking for. Advising the specifics requires a fairly thorough knowledge of what is in the applicant's bucket as well as the needs and biases of a specific program.
 
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  • #4
Good points @Dr. Courtney! Omit repeated info and focus it on the reader and their needs.

@hareesht23 Even though it’s a statement of purpose you need to focus on who is reading it and emphasize what the reviewers may be looking for that you have experience in.

This is the same advice we give for job applications. Write your resume highlighting those things the job is looking for ie write a new resume for each job. Save everything you send to them in case you get an interview as it is what they will use to ask questions.

Grad school apps are not unlike job apps.
 
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  • #5
Thank you for your response. I will surely proceed as per your directions.
 
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Related to Critique my statement of purpose for Perimeter Scholar Program

1. What is the purpose of the Perimeter Scholar Program?

The Perimeter Scholar Program is a one-year master's level program in theoretical physics designed to provide students with a strong foundation in theoretical physics and prepare them for further studies in the field.

2. What are the eligibility criteria for the Perimeter Scholar Program?

To be eligible for the Perimeter Scholar Program, applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree in physics or a related field, have a strong academic record, and demonstrate a strong interest in pursuing a career in theoretical physics.

3. What sets the Perimeter Scholar Program apart from other graduate programs in theoretical physics?

The Perimeter Scholar Program offers a unique and intensive curriculum, with a focus on foundational and cutting-edge topics in theoretical physics. It also provides students with the opportunity to work closely with world-renowned researchers and participate in cutting-edge research projects.

4. Can you provide an overview of the curriculum for the Perimeter Scholar Program?

The curriculum for the Perimeter Scholar Program includes courses in quantum mechanics, general relativity, statistical mechanics, and other foundational topics in theoretical physics. It also includes seminars, workshops, and research projects to provide students with hands-on experience in current research areas.

5. What are the career prospects for graduates of the Perimeter Scholar Program?

Graduates of the Perimeter Scholar Program have gone on to pursue successful careers in academia, industry, and government research institutions. They have also been highly sought after for PhD programs in theoretical physics at top universities around the world.

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