Jack Cook: 'The most important part of learning is being confused and asking questions'

Thu, 05/07/2020

Jack Cook

Mathematics & College Scholar

Denville, NJ

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

The confidence to ask questions. The most important part of learning is being confused and asking questions. Sometimes what seems to be a trivial question turns into an entire discussion topic or even a senior thesis. 

What was your favorite class and why?

MATH 4901: Supervised Reading with Birgit Speh. The course topic was automorphic forms and representation theory, which is what I will be studying in graduate school. This is the most beautiful piece of mathematics I have come to learn over the last four years. 

Jack Cook skiing

What Cornell memory do you treasure most?

My first voyage to CTB (Collegetown Bagels). I hail from the New York City metro area and bagels are a large part of my diet. CTB became a home away from home. My go-to order was a Brooklyn on Rosemary Salt. 

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

I published my first academic paper, a statement which was not even in my vocabulary when I first arrived at Cornell. I also will be heading off to graduate school in pursuit of a Ph.D. in mathematics. 

How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell? What have you discovered about yourself?

I now value critical and logical thinking above all else. An elegant logical argument is more stimulating than anything else. 

   Jack Cook