Ridge Liu Blogs about his upcoming semester at Rice University

Hey everyone! My name is Ridge Liu, and I am returning to intern at Test Masters this summer. You may remember some of my posts from last summer, like my Improve Your College Application: Extracurriculars or College Profile: New York University posts. After a long and arduous college application process, I am pleased to say that I will be attending Rice University in the fall.

Rice University was founded in 1912 by the will of William Marsh Rice as the William M. Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art. Over a century later, Rice has become a world leader in the sciences and humanities. Rice’s exceptional strength in the sciences is what convinced me to enroll as a student next fall.

Brockman Hall for Physics
The Brockman Hall for Physics.

Rice’s commitment to the science is illustrated by the construction of the Brockman Hall for Physics, which is outfitted for laboratories researching a broad variety of questions. During a visit to Rice, I had the opportunity to take a tour of the building and some of the research labs. These labs are in the basement of the building where things like building vibration and electrical interference are at a minimum and can be controlled for. Though I will not be taking classes in that building, it is still cool to know that during lectures, I’ll be just a few feet away from cutting-edge research.

I plan to pursue a BS in physics, a degree program that covers the foundation I will need for any career in physics. I was fortunate to go to a high school with a great Advanced Placement program, which means that I will place out of some of the distributional requirements in other subjects. Though I will not know my schedule until O-Week (Orientation Week), some of the classes I have to look forward to are Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, and Multivariable Calculus. In line with Rice’s academic reputation, these classes are tough. they will probably be more difficult than most, if not all, of my classes in high school, but I am confident that my high school experiences have prepared me for the workload.

In case I decide I don’t like physics after all, Rice has me covered. Other majors that interest me at Rice are mathematics and material science. Materials science is the field of engineering matter into structures that display special physical and chemical characteristics. The field is inextricably linked to Rice through the work of Nobel laureates Robert Curl and Richard Smalley, who discovered molecules made up only carbon atoms. Since the discovery of fullerene in 1985, the field has produced new materials that may potentially lead to wearable or more efficient electronics. As expected, materials science is a challenged major at Rice, which was named as the best materials science department in the world by the Max Planck Society in Germany.

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Whether I study math, physics, or materials science I know Rice will be a good for me as I prepare for whatever lies beyond college. Expect to hear more from me this summer as I blog for Test Masters.


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