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Each year we email newly admitted and current College students and ask them for essay topics.We receive several hundred responses, many of which are eloquent, intriguing, or downright wacky.University of Chicago alumna and renowned author/critic Susan Sontag said, “The only interesting answers are those that destroy the questions.” We all have heard serious questions, absurd questions, and seriously absurd questions, some of which cannot be answered without obliterating the very question. Superstring theory has revolutionized speculation about the physical world by suggesting that strings play a pivotal role in the universe.
Human eyes have color receptors for three colors (red, green, and blue); the mantis shrimp has receptors for sixteen types of color, enabling them to see a spectrum far beyond the capacity of the human brain.
Seriously, how cool is the mantis shrimp: mantisshrimp.What might they be able to see that we cannot? The ball is in your court—a penny for your thoughts, but say it, don’t spray it.
If there exists a correct way to interpret the prompt I chose, it certainly was not my answer.” In the spirit of adventurous inquiry (and with the encouragement of one of our current students! Don’t tell us about another world you’ve imagined, heard about, or created. Sure, some people think of the University of Chicago as a portal to their future, but please choose another portal to write about.
) choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun! Why are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore? Vestigiality refers to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function, but have been retained during the process of evolution.
As you can see from the attributions, the questions below were inspired by submissions from UChicago students and alumni.
How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future?Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.If there’s a limited amount of matter in the universe, how can Olive Garden (along with other restaurants and their concepts of food infinity) offer truly unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks?Therefore, as you prepare your application, spend time on these components of the application and don't be afraid to have family, teachers, or counselors weigh in and provide feedback.The University of Chicago has long been renowned for our provocative essay questions.PS: A picture is worth a thousand words.“A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.” –Oscar Wilde. Heisenberg claims that you cannot know both the position and momentum of an electron with total certainty.Choose two other concepts that cannot be known simultaneously and discuss the implications.The Aesthetics of Silence, 1967.“…I [was] eager to escape backward again, to be off to invent a past for the present.” —The Rose Rabbi by Daniel Stern Present: pres·ent 1.Something that is offered, presented, or given as a gift. Unusual presents, accidental presents, metaphorical presents, re-gifted presents, etc.—pick any present you have ever received and invent a past for it.So long as you don’t bite off more than you can chew, beat around the bush, or cut corners, writing this essay should be a piece of cake. History and art are full of heroes and their enemies.Create your own idiom, and tell us its origin—you know, the whole nine yards. Tell us about the relationship between you and your arch-nemesis (either real or imagined).