Statement of Purpose

                                                      Applicant: XXX (Tsinghua University)
                                                      Program: Building Science and Technology, Harvard University

Industriously devoting myself to my professional study and research projects, I have gained a strong background in Building Environment and Technology, and have shaped my intellectual and professional interest in this field. To become an exceptional researcher in this area, I am strongly motivated to pursue a Ph.D. degree in your esteemed department.

Academic Background
The building industry represents one of the largest, and most important, enterprises in world. However many situations being met both in China and internationally are more staggering: over one-third of China’s national energy consumption is used in buildings by heating, cooling, ventilating, and lighting; investment and costs associated with commercial and residential buildings have been one of the largest categories of the nation's capital outlay; more and more people complain about the qualities of the indoor environment, which can be divided into two categories: sick building syndrome (SBS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), affecting health, satisfaction, and productivity of building occupants gravely. How to improve the environmental quality of buildings? How to produce this desirable environment in an energy- and resource-efficient manner? The more deepness I delved into my course work at Department of Building Science of Tsinghua University, the more interest I found in this field. I realized that the application of the science and technology I am studying would effectively satisfy people’s desire to improve their living and working conditions, and at the mean time solve the problem of increased energy exhaustion and the ensuing pressure of environmental protection. I am very interested in the development and application of advanced science and technology for buildings. And I feel very proud that I have chosen such a field that is very serviceable to the society and to the harmonious co-existence between man and the environment.

I know that the graduate program at MIT, especially in Building Science department is very demanding, but I have well prepared for the rigorous challenges. My confidence lies in my excellent academic performance and research experience at Tsinghua University, the unarguably best university in China. During my four-year undergraduate study, despite the strict criteria and intense competition, my enthusiastic motivations, together with my commitment and hard efforts devoted to course work, enabled me to distinguish from my classmates, ranking top 2 out of 30 students in class with my major GPA of 91/100. I was granted several greatest scholarships and honors every year and because of my excellence I was admitted to graduate school of Tsinghua University for Master Degree with all entrance examinations waived in 20XX. During these 6 years’ study at Tsinghua, I took a lot of courses in many fields. From my transcripts, you will see that not only am I good at mathematics, computer science and English, but also I thrive in my favorite major courses, which are all over 90/100 scores, such as Heat and mass transfer, fluid dynamics, built environment, integrated building systems design, and so on.

Whereas I believe that theories and methods are no use until they are applied in practice. In 20XX, during my internship in the energy saving research of commercial buildings, I participated in a real project: The New Century Hotel, a five-star hotel in Beijing. This experience not only made me skillful in using equipment, such as ultrasonic flowmeter, thermocouple and anemoscope, but also deepened my comprehension of integrated building systems and energy saving. Due to my demonstrated ability in this project, in 20XX I was further given the opportunity of taking part in the project of Xinhongqiao Mansion’s building systems reconstruction in Shanghai. I acted as a director of 10 persons and our group’s mission is to find out the problems in the building systems and in their operations, and then put forward a reasonable blue print for the reconstruction. As one of the project managers, I was responsible for the initial negotiation with the clients and the manage corporation of the building, the acquirement of data from all building systems (including air system, water system, lighting system etc.), the disposal and analysis of the data, the evaluation of the building systems and their operations, the final reconstruction proposal and writing documents of project completion. My partners and I devoted to it for about entirely two months. From the investigation of building occupants about indoor environment to the measurement of the cooling water volume, groveling on the water pipe fifteen meters high from the ground, from the acquirement of the wind pressure, crouching in the air unit only three cube meters, to the test of the cooling tower efficiency, climbing on the high-speed running tower 50 meters high from the ground, I almost took care of everything myself. At present, after the reconstruction of the building systems, the operation costs reduced about three hundred thousand RMB (about US $40,000) for the last whole year. The successful execution of every step in the project enabled me to further accumulate knowledge, to expand my experience, to increase my confidence and to strengthened my resolution to excel in the field of building environment and technology.

Research Experiences
In addition to my excellence in the classroom and in the practice, I have demonstrated strong ability and creativity in independent research work. Research has become a fundamental part of my college career, and I hope it will become the primary component of my future.

I began my research experience when I was a senior, as a research assistant in the Indoor Environment Research Group, being selected by Professor Zhang XX, the vice-president of our department because of my outstanding performance in his course. My duty is to give Dr. Cheng’s just proposed VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) emission model a numerical solution. Although after my devoted work, I completed this mission successfully and gained high praises from both Dr. Cheng and my group members, I still feel a little pity. That ‘s because I could not know the clear characteristics of VOCs emissions, after I read about 50 relative papers, and from these references I knew both the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) and the harm of emissions of VOCs from building materials to IAQ. I found that the numerical model can not provide insight into the physical emission mechanisms, while the existed analytical model based upon the mass transfer theory neglected some conditions in order to avoid difficulties in mathematics to get the analytical solution and could not give the error of these neglects. Then I told Professor Zhang my thought and my determination to develop a general analytical model to clarify both the characteristics of VOC emissions from building materials and their influencing factors. My creative and audacious idea was praised and supported by him. Funded by National Nature Science Foundation of China (the best honor foundation in China), I began my work. I have encountered numerous difficulties, but I have never thought of giving up. Every time I failed, I began with even more enthusiasm, because I felt it great pleasure to challenge myself. Finally I succeeded and felt the high excitement of being a researcher. Not satisfying with the existing production, I further calculated the error of other analytical model’s neglects, made the analytical solution dimensionless, clarified the physical emission mechanism, and presented suitable formulae describing characteristics of VOCs emission from building material. At present, I have built up my experiment chamber and will do my experiment on the identification of material properties. Besides these fundamental researches, I also participated in developing the software package. This project were funded by UTRC (United Technologies Research Center of U.S.A). Under the leadership of Professor Yi Jiang, the president of our department, my partners and I developed the building environment modeling which includes heat, humidity, VOCs concentration, equipment operation, and zonal model, and finally successfully finished the software package. By using it, not only the building environment can be clearly simulated, but also the efficiency and the situation of the building equipment operation can be definitely griped.

All these researches not only bestowed on me expertise in a variety of research methods and facilities, but also made me realize the true meaning of being an independent creative researcher and how fulfilling and interesting research can be. Actually during the 3 years research work, as a creative student with much more papers than my classmates, I have already published 3 papers indexed by SCI (another paper accepted by journal indexed by SCI will be published soon), 1 paper indexed by EI, 4 papers published in international meetings, and several papers published in China’s national journals. (Those papers, publications are all listed in resume).

Professional Goals:
‘ Triumph only belongs to those who never stop probing.’

My 7-year life in Tsinghua University is fruitful, but I find my academic background far from enough for a first rank building science researcher, who can devote himself to the development of his motherland and the progress of this promising field. I still have a lot to learn and need plenty of the most advanced guidance.

After serious consideration and careful self-examination, I have decided to apply for Ph.D. Program in Building Science. I believe this is the very field best pairs my potential. MIT, one of the foremost research universities in the United States, is the place I have long admired. I am confident that the distinguished, accessible faculty and advanced research facilities will provide me with the mentoring, academic instruction and tools I need to hit the ground running in Building Science disciplines. Also I believe that my ability to conduct research independently, together with my solid academic background in and enthusiasm for Building Science, will make me well qualified for the graduate study and research in this area. I would appreciate very much if you would give my application serious consideration.


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