Brian Burg

Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN
College: Science
Major: Applied Physics

Charles Guinn is pursuing an Applied Physics major in the College of Science. 

"For my first several semesters, physics was my entire life, and I would spend free time in the lab working as much as I could. Many physics majors live like this, and it is perhaps a reason physics majors and more generally, science majors, can’t find time or even a reason to study abroad. And as a first-generation student, I was susceptible to going along with this status quo simply because everybody else did and there was nobody to tell me there were other options," said Guinn. "Yet by the middle of my second year, I felt like there was a hole in my life. This hole ended up being filled by studying Japanese.

"In the spring of 2017, I enrolled in the online Japanese class offered by Purdue. Following the philosophy that I would only get out what I put in, I put everything I could into it. It was refreshing to enjoy another form of academic stimulation that wasn’t solving integrals or normalizing wave functions. As a matter of fact, up until I took Japanese, I had viewed science and other disciplines like language as completely different and admittedly had a bit of a feeling of one being better than the other. I then came to a personally new approach to academics. It is now clear to me that there is a synthesis of sorts going on in my studies between physics and Japanese. Just as I love digging into the origins of the axioms of classical physics, I also enjoy digging into the rich history of the Japanese language. Along with the language came an exposure to a vivid culture that took my curiosity and ran away with it. Today, along with my weekly language learning tasks for class, I find myself spending a significant amount of time researching things like the history of Japan, Japanese art, and my personal favorite Japanese cuisine. This intellectual turning point is something that has heralded a new state of mind for me that I want to keep exploring for years to come. The idea of interdisciplinary college education is very important to me now, and I would call it a crucial part of who I am."

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