Aerospace Engineering Personal Statement

“Isn’t it impossible?” I believe that engineering is the art of plainly ignoring that question.

Through engineering, we have transcended some of the most elementary and seemingly prevalent laws of nature, so there’s no reason to think that what’s impossible today will still be that way tomorrow. Our possibilities are only limited by our will to go further.

Engineering is, for me, an expression of the collective creative power of mankind in order to solve problems through science, for only in engineering can one combine all sciences, producing something none of them alone could make.

Personally, from all of its areas, aerospace engineering is the one that excites me the most, and space has always fascinated me. I don’t know if it is because there’s so much to be discovered or the fact that, knowing so little, we’ve achieved so much.

Between distant galaxies and our neighbor planets and asteroids, the scientific, economic and social possibilities they encompass are far beyond our imagination, and we’re just getting started.

Last spring, prior to visiting CERN, I attended some lectures by a Portuguese physicist who works on CMS and is now overseeing the development of the Future Circular Collider.

As he was explaining the discovery of the interactions between subatomic particles, I genuinely realized how far we’ve advanced scientifically.

But what I couldn’t stop thinking about was the fact that, although we’ve managed to discover all this, we did it with the resources of a single planet.

At that moment I was sure that I wanted to be an engineer. I knew I wanted to help push mankind’s knowledge even further, by making it possible to explore the unknown to our advantage. Space need not be the final frontier.

My dedication to science is well-reflected through my student life. Academically, I took the “Sciences and Technologies” branch, where I received multiple awards for physics, chemistry, mathematics and even philosophy.

Outside of school, I had the opportunity to compete in the Portuguese Biology Olympiad and, after being selected as a finalist, in the International Ibero-American Biology Olympiad, where I won a bronze medal for my country.

Education is much more than just mere classroom knowledge, something I’ve learned throughout my seven years at Colégio Militar (Military College). I learned a little bit of everything, from survival skills to fencing, but, most importantly, I learned that what we call limitations don’t really exist.

In my last year, I was awarded the rank of battalion commander- i.e. the commander of all students. I had 717 students under my command, and was tasked with setting an example academically, athletically and personally. In the end, I received an award for leadership, so I must’ve done some things right.

In my free time, I love to read. I try to divide my reading between fiction and philosophy. Some of my favorites are Steinbeck, Balzac and Nietzsche. A book that really changed my perspective of the world was “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding”. By stating that all our ideas are compositions of previous sensations, Hume redefined creativity.

Because I believe that a healthy mind requires a healthy body, I also spend a lot of time exercising. At school I was part of the swim team, I’m a certified scuba diver and, right now, I’m training for the Lisbon half marathon.

Only when I read “The Mars Project”, by Wernher Von Braun, did I realise how far engineering can take humanity. Although it started as an appendix of a science fiction book more than sixty years ago, it still is, to this day, one of the most influential books regarding the manned colonisation and exploration of Mars.

In the future, that’s what I would like to be doing, contributing to making that enterprise feasible, either through the design or through research in the fields of propulsion and space travel. This is why I’m very passionate about aerospace engineering, because up there, there’s no limit for what we can think.

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