Note: I wish to state my reasons for applying PhD research. Recently I received a reminder from professors indicating I am more suitable for master program, I am surprised about why he would say so. After a scrutiny of my application material, I found it may come from my entrepreneurship experience and diverse interest. There are several reasons that I wish to pursue PhD research, which I failed to state explicitly on my SoP.
The reasons that drive me to pursue PhD
I liked to read about science magazines when I was young, so my parents booked 6 along my childhood. Since the first time I read about Scientific American Chinese Edition in 2006, I have been fascinated by the power of advanced technology. In high school, I found science is the drive behind the technology and I fell greatly attracted. After college, my goal is to shorten the marathon between researches and innovative technology. For example, I am impressed by the nano science but I found there is still a distance from systematic application.
To achieve my goal, I think the first step would be building up my systematic thinking and gain insights into innovative research. At the same time, I tried to understand and learn to push forward the frontier. Finally, I start from my research domain to study and accelerate such transformation. These concerns drive me to purse a PhD research. I felt my heart calling when I found the research picture on world-class universities’ websites looks just the same as my 2006 Scientific American. So I can work on my childhood dream? It is unbelievable.
Specifically, I choose to became a PhD with following reasons.
Firstly, it is about fulfilling my curiosity. Since my childhood, curiosity and innovation are two most important things in my life. I discovered the innovative role of hi-tech startup. It is important but not the first priority for me. In microscale, there are a lot of unique properties that will change our current understanding on energy conversion. We have no systematic understanding on this.
Secondly, I also love to build up my systematic thinking. I like to draw laws and conclusions when I am observing the world. But I found master student are not that curious about how the world works and deepening our understanding. Being a PhD is the best way to do so.
Thirdly, I found the PhD research can better shape my ability to overcome difficulty and challenge the impossible. So I am more interested in researching on the emerging field, micro scale transport for my coming years. For longer time, the spirit I raised in research can be used in my other experience.
For my entrepreneurship experience, as in my SoP "In the future, I want to be an entrepreneurial scientist." I want to be a scientist who have a spirit of entrepreneurship, that willing to explore the unknown field with most opportunity.
For my diverse interest, I just offered a window to share my interest to all the professor, I think every people with curiosity of the world will have a lot of interesting findings from daily life or various fields. I know clearly the importance of focusing on one field, which you can tell from my continuous research updates on microscale transport
1. Lay solid foundation on quantum effects and statistical mechanics for micro/nano scale transport.
2. Improve the multi-scale modeling and simulation. From senior design( degree paper), try to extend my understanding on using network method, heterogeneous modeling method(HMM) to link the nano information to macro modeling.
3. Learn about nano fabrication in clean room for basic nano materials. CNT, grapheme, silicon tubes, etc.
4. (Advanced) Research on novel nano/micro devices for thermal transport and energy conversion.
Career Objective: Teaching, Engineering Practice, or Research?
My lifelong goal is to shorten the marathon between researches and innovative products. Teaching is important for educating others to innovate, but it does not necessarily provide me enough authentic opportunities to create. Also, according to my current knowledge, the professional practice is requires innovation but basing on current technology, not directly from scientific discoveries. According to my interest in understanding Mother Nature and studying how discoveries becomes the technology. Being a researcher could satisfy my curiosity as well as the desire to innovate. Besides, considering my tendency to thinking in deep as well as taking challenges, I would choose research.
In the future, I would love to be a scientist exploring a field with rare people and probably working on an interdisciplinary direction. From my startup experience, I learnt to pinpoint a field with most opportunity and be less afraid of failure. I hope this can make me a better fit for challenging PhD topics
My degree paper topic is defined as the multi-scale thermal transport modeling for nanostructured electrodes. The major work is inspired by the process of my literature review of nano material and the paper Combined Microstructure and Heat Conduction Modeling of Heterogeneous Interfaces and Materials . The content is listed below:
1. Multi-scale informatics
With the emerging of nano science, scientist collected a lot of interesting information from micro structures, which is . However, the engineering paradigm is still macro modeling. How to accommodate the new information became a critical issue. I am building up the "multi-scale informatics" thinking. my idea about material transport properties while doing senior design. I am trying to link the nano structure material transport properties to macro properties. But I just started and looking forward to discover more topics to talk about.
2. Complex system and design optimization Also , I am interested in thinking about engineering from complex system and using data analysis . Complexity is one of the major characteristics for the future technology development. Using data tools to facilitate science exploration and engineering design is my prospective for the future. As a consequence, I am reading about graph theories and applied them into a complex network analysis. You may find it out on my web http://www.letianwang.me/network-analysis.html. I also came up with an idea using data to facilitate the electrode research for Lithium-ion battery: http://www.letianwang.me/engineering-design-for-nano-electrode.html
Last two weeks, I have been working in SUTD (Singapore University of Technology and Design) with the supervision of Prof. Katja Otto. Our project is to develop a metric to measure the innovation degree of various products. My work is first to be trained as an evaluator and then to improve the metric according to my training process and further data processing.
Understanding The Products
After I studied the evaluation diagram developed by Prof. Otto and her colleagues, I draw a graph that shows a product can be abstracted as an structure that interact with the environment and user to offer some functionality. I also learnt the basic process of product design by going through some of your slide.
Innovation Have Patterns
Product evaluation takes much effort but it provides me with down-to-the-earth understanding on how people innovate. Innovative product has similar pattern in structure innovation and interaction innovation. I need more time to detail the patterns.
Background Matters How People Look at Products
The evaluation process of product is basing on the background of people in terms of his life experience and culture background. Though it cast obstacles to our evaluation, but for product marketing and globalization it is meaningful.
For product marketing, it is interesting to find the customers will not be informed about the novelty of products if they have no background knowledge about the products. Though the target customers are mostly those who have backgrounds, we are interested in how to expand the target customers, i.e to bring the out-of-circle customer getting interested. So for mass media marketing, we should take the into account background introduction and customer comprehension. If company pay more attention to that, there will probably be less boring ADs on the TV.
For global products development, we could qualitatively explain in which chains will this take effect. Then if we are able to measure this discrepancy and measure its influence on different country's market performace, then we could shed lights on multi-culture user based product design.
Why They Failed to Catch The Market?
By reading historical products, I found though they were so innovative at that time, not every product managed to catch the market as we wished. If we could locate these reasons, that will be meaningful. The reason may be that it could not manage to replace the functionality or availability of the original counterpart, then it gradually lose its attraction as an innovation.
I think this point can be It can be detailed after we link the product performance to our evaluation. More work is in need.