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USTC essay 02

( 2017-03-23 )

 
   Education is to teach people the accumulated experiences and discovered laws. In all ages, those experiences and laws are continually accumulated, and the futurities discover new knowledge and make human civilization continuously developed based on knowledge accumulated by the forefathers. Modern knowledge is so rich that children have to study in school and enter the higher school based on how much they have learned in the lower one, including elementary school, junior high school, senior high school and university.
 
   Education in university is usually called higher education, with that before university called primary education. Either primary or higher education is to teach us new knowledge. Students have to learn and grasp fundamental scientific knowledge to make solid foundation for higher knowledge. Primary education focuses on the most fundamental knowledge, with which we could make our daily life convenient, and higher education pay attention to developing knowledge by solving problems. Students in university also need to learn basic courses of their major, and then utilize them to probe and solve some new scientific problems.
 
   There exist three cases in developing our knowledge: 1 personal effort; 2 cooperation; 3 waiting. With enough fundamental knowledge after a long-term study and accumulation, we could try our best to solve a new problem. For example, a physicist usually makes a model for a particular problem, and then sets up equations. Many methods from linear algebra and equations of mathematical physics can be further used to solve those equations. However, many scientific problems require cooperation between people with different majors. It’s hard to completely figure out a problem involving many disciplines if only researchers from one discipline try to solve it. Geoscience is a good example, since it needs knowledge from physics, chemistry, biology, geology and so on. We can only get a glimpse of one side of the earth with knowledge from just one or two of those disciplines unless all of them are involved. Sometimes it’s hard to solve some particular problems, such as earthquake forecast, and we have to wait for development of our science and technology before answers are discovered. For instance, no researchers or institutions claim that they can predicate when and where an earthquake with a known magnitude occurs. It might take many years to work out it, but we still have to wait before some problems related to it could be solved first.
 
   The above three cases contain each other. If we do not try our best to study a problem first, we cannot cooperate well with our partner. If we do not collaborate with others, we cannot distinguish whether the problem can be figured out or not now. Higher education not only gives us the ability to solve problems, but also teaches us to decide in which ways we should work out them. In summary, I think higher education is to teach people to develop knowledge by solving new problems in the above three cases.

 

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