A u t o b i o g r a p h y

The Short Story

My name is Nilus Klingel. I am 17 years old, and will be a high school senior come September at Sachem High School North. I don't have much of a physics or math background, my main scientific concentration having been marine science. However, I am interested in lots of stuff, like architecture, photography, music, current events, and of course, technology. I hope to use those interests to my advantage here this summer when as I develop a research project.

The Long Story

My name is Nilus Klingel. I am 17 years old, and will be a high school senior come September. I attend one of the largest schools in the state, Sachem, specifically at Sachem High School North, where I am student body president. I have had a great experience there, and have gotten a very interesting and diverse education on a great deal of subjects, save physics and calculus... a difficulty I will have to overcome here at the Lab this summer, by learning as much new material as I can, and incorperating related interests that I understand already.

I have many interests unrelated (or at least, seemingly unrelated) to optics, particularly architecture, in which I hope to persue a career down the road. Some schools of architecture that I would love to study at are Columbia University, Pratt Institute, MIT, and of course, the reknowned Cooper Union. My preferences in archtecture tend towards the contemporary, possibly even the post-modern. I really admire the work of architects of the bauhaus, like Mies van der Rohe. However, I am sometimes startled by that architectural ethos' starkness or sometimes plain ugliness; many times, it is uninspiring, as I see in the work of Philip Johnson, which is very hit-or-miss in its artistic effectiveness. In my own architectural musings, I tend to take components of this form, and combine them into an ecclectic style, to try and prevent that uninspiring result. Oh, and I also like Frank Gehry's work; who doesn't?

I am also very interested in photography, and spend much of my spare time with camera in hand. I use a Nikon D70 digital SLR, and have 3 lenses: a 60mm f2.8 for close-ups, an 18-70 mm f4.5-5.8G DX Zoom-Nikkor for semi-wide angle and general shots, and most heavily, a 70-300 mm Nikkor super-telephoto. I find the artistic process to (and intellectual approach of) photography as fascinating as the equipment (and the science behind it). I think that fascination is partly why I'm here this summer, and I hope to use it in developing a good project.

In the past, I have dabbled in cartooning, taking classes at Hofstra University on traditional cartooning, as well as computer animation. I also did a great deal of webdesign, having at one time gathered together several similarly-interested peers into a design collective, first called Tier7 (there were seven of us) and then Myriad Publishing, when I tried to turn the idea into a viable commerical project. I learned a lot about working not just with websites, but also with people, but I see with the advantage of retrospection that my efforts where very naive, and, in a lot of ways, childlishly unsophisticated. To be fair, I was a child.

Nowadays, I find I don't have the same time as I did then to learn the latest internet conventions, or do my own modifications on my computer, and have since fallen out of the loop when it comes to technology. Having once been able to slave harddrives or draw up websites quickly, I find that I've lost that knowledge, and even if I hadn't, it'd be obsolete anyway. However, I'm inclined to play-catch up, and I even still run my church's website, and am working with a liturgical vestment maker in Toronto on a new online catalogue.

Other things I've been keeping myself busy with lately include participation in Sachem's marching band (I play the bari sax), as well as a whole range of other groups in my school, from competing in DECA (a business-type club... I won 1st in the state with my partner Katie Kanakos, in their E-Commerce competition this past winter) to being secretary of our school's BLT (an administrator/teacher/parent/student group involved in bettering the quality of school life... kinda). I play the piano, as well as conduct my church's choir when a substitute's needed (I'll be filling in for the rest of the summer) I also publish its bi-monthly newsletter. There's always something to do, to be sure.

Now the obligatory paragraph on personal preferences: in terms of music, I have an ecclectic taste, but that's the state of affairs in the iPod era. It's got a heavy concentration of classic rock, more in the ilk of the Eagles and Led Zeppelin, not quite the Beatles. As far as classical music, I'm more drawn to Rachmaninoff and the Russian school, as opposed to Bach and the Western European crew. However, most of all, I think my favorite music is by the contemporary 'classical ' composers like Philip Glass and Arvo Part. In terms of movies, I'm somewhat ecclectic there too; I like anywhere from Miyazaki to Monty Python, but in general, I tend to like what some might call 'art house' films, in that tight, disapproving way of 'theirs'. TV? Well, I pretty much don't watch TV, save the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Otherwise I listen to, and many times get frustrated with, NPR.

In terms of future goals, I'd like to go to college and study architecture, and then go to seminary, getting a masters of divinity, and hopefully being ordained a priest (it is not uncommon for priests of my denomination to be married, as well as to hold secular employment) In the mean time, I hope to have a fruitful stay at the Laser Center this summer... I enjoy having a very diverse range of experiences, and gaining a better understanding of all things through having a broad view of the world. I hope to better that understanding and knowledge this summer through working on my project.

Nilus Klingel
nilus.klingel (a) gmail.com
Laser Teaching Center