Who are you and in which double major are you?
My name is Jean RADIG. I was born in Thann (Alsace, France) from a German mother and a French father. I studied at the French-German high school of Freiburg im Breisgau in Germany. I was in the mathematics and physics section. During my 10th grade I went for a semester in Columbus, Texas where I participated in track and physics competitions. This permitted me to acquire some additional knowledge that would prove relevant for the next phase.
I received my letter of admission to the bachelor program of the École Polytechnique in January 2017 and I did not hesitate. After the first year where I acquired knowledge in many different fields such as mathematics, physics, computer science and economics —and which would make my strength compared to other programs in different universities — I decided to specialize in mathematics and physics with chemistry as a minor. You could not imagine how all this knowledge was powerful when I did an internship at the research center of Schlumberger Limited in Aachen, Germany. The researchers were amazed that I could understand (after only two years of study) technicalities in so many different fields and be able to apply them to specific subjects.
Why would you recommend the Bachelor Program?
The bachelor program offers a bright field of courses. After a first year where everyone acquires some knowledge in different fields, i.e. mathematics, physics, computer science and economics — and I cannot stress how important this is: it permits every student, even from different majors, to be able to communicate with each other and to refer to founding memories that put the basis for everyone, it creates a group spirit that carries everyone in the upcoming years — you can choose to deepen your knowledge in one of the three fields: physics (minor chemistry or biology — I recommend to do it! I cannot stress how each additional subject is valued, even though it is a consequent additional workload), economics and computer science. The reasonable student number at the bachelor permits close relationships with the comrades and with the teachers and assistants. Everyone in the community is one mail away and we all help each other. This community, and I feel it now that we are on the edge of going abroad in different universities for our master, is very strong. We already plan to see each other again and again… And they lived happily ever after!
What would be a great memory of your time in the Program that you would like to share with future students?
When you ask me to describe moments of the bachelor that stay in my mind, these are the evenings that we spent all together in the corridor, working on a homework assignment until one in the morning… five days in a row. These are moments of ebullition when everyone, too tired to stress but too stressed to be tired gave every nerve until the end. These moments, even though not necessarily the most exciting at the time proved themselves to be the glue that created a common bond between us. We always remember those times, with a smile. They forged our minds, our character. They built our community.
But of course I would also remember all the opportunities that we had to spend time together during the bachelor, through the visits of museums organized by the school, the sport sessions, the walks by the lake and the campfire with a good grill. The « bal de l’X » at the Palace of Versailles is a memory that I will never forget. And an opportunity that I would never have got otherwise. But most sincerely, the greatest memories are those casual events that we all lived together, such as dining at the Magnan, going to class with friends, talking between classes and the scratch of the feather pen on the paper. I made friends that revealed to be pillars in my life, for life.
What would be a piece of advice that you would like to share with future students?
Take every opportunity. Engage yourself (if you manage to cope with the workload) in associations, sport events et cetera. Be the asset of your promotion: if you can do sport, propose sport sessions and motivate teammates; if you can paint, create an association and let’s be creative together. Be the smile on each and every face. Work for what you want to achieve, to be proud of yourself. Every bit of time must be put into good use. Taking time for yourself is one of those. The library accounts for numerous books, more than you will be able to read in these three years on almost every subject and you will have the opportunity to do and learn whatever you want. Engage in projects and competitions. The students you will be with are brilliant and working with people having the same center of interests as you is the most rewarding thing you can imagine. All this without restraining to only scientific subjects. Living on campus is an asset. We all live together, cook together, have dinner together, do sport together, watch movies in the common room together… and work together. We created memories for a life time, and in writing this I see the movie in my head of all my personal ones. I wish everyone could have this opportunity.
Where have you been admitted so far and what do you intend to do after the Program? Any other general comment on the outcomes of the Bachelor Program at this stage?
I did not apply to many universities. My first choice was ETH Zürich, Switzerland (in the top 10 worldwide) where I was accepted. I also received a proposition from Imperial, London. So in the following year I will continue my studies in the master of physics at ETH. The bachelor of the École Polytechnique gives us not only the educational level of top universities in the world, it also permits us to move there afterwards. This excellence and opening to the world education is an asset that is incredibly huge and I thank the bachelor team and their architects for such ingenious conception and vision.