Princeton Thesis

Princeton Thesis-35
One flaw with this image: The curved glass pavilion was completely imported from China, the new world-leading curved glass manufacturer.

In the spring of my junior year, I began to search for both an adviser and a topic.

As I sat and spoke with Professor Sigrid Adriaenssens, she learned of my prior work with art glass and insisted that we undertake a project involving that surprisingly complex medium.

That brings me to my first point of advice: Investigate something that really excites you intellectually.

Leaving Princeton that summer, I had a general idea of the tasks I needed to accomplish before the start of the fall semester.

Both of these tasks involved experimentation with glass heating and forming techniques.

It did not take long for me to fall victim to Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong will go wrong.The advisers then explain their side of the thesis journey—from the steps for writing a successful thesis to the close relationships that develop between students and faculty members in a way that is “quintessentially Princeton.” Adviser reflection by Sigrid M.Adriaenssens: A few months into my February appointment as an assistant professor at Princeton University, Gregor Horstmeyer arrived in my office.Not surprisingly, I would later find out that the time on his undergraduate thesis was in competition with glassblowing and top-level water polo (he was the 2009 captain of the water polo team! It struck me that Gregor, a senior in civil and environmental engineering and a glass artist, would be the ideal researcher to investigate and “engineer” a solution for a conundrum that the American glass industry is currently struggling with.In 2006 at the Toledo Museum of Art, the million Glass Pavilion opened as a symbol of America’s “Glass City.” This new structure reflects the legacy of its local glassmakers.Looking back on those early meetings, I recall the two of us in a frenzy as we brainstormed potential thesis ideas.After a few meetings, we settled on a topic that excited both of us.One can do anything from design and build a novel apparatus, undertake seminal research in unexplored areas of study, write a historical perspective on major contributions to a field of study, or anything in between.My thesis involved a physical project in conjunction with a numerical analysis and a written supplement—yes, even though you are an engineer, you do need to show you can form a complete sentence before they’ll hand you a diploma.” features the thesis-writing experiences of Princeton students and their advisers.From research conducted around the world to discoveries made in the library or the lab, students share their joy in doing original, independent work, while relaying some of their mistakes and tips for the next generation of Princetonians.


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