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Chemistry Personal Statement

Without chemistry, the world we live in would be nowhere near as advanced as it is today. From our bodily functions to the entropy of the universe, chemistry is the central science that links every aspect of science and society together. Once one question has been answered it opens the door for a plethora of other questions; there is always something to discover which is why I have taken a strong interest in the subject, particularly organic chemistry. The interactions between different organic molecules fascinate me where the slightest difference between two orbitals can cause an entirely different interaction. The versatility of the benzene molecule is incredible; a few phenyl groups can form simple polymers such as polystyrene and yet it is also a key part of the explosive TNT.

My increased fascination led to me attending a chemistry masterclass held at Cambridge University, indulging in methods of predicting oxidation levels and reviewing carbon and proton NMR data. Additionally, learning about enantiomers at the NatSci open day at Churchill College allowed me to appreciate the value of chemistry even more. The devastation caused by thalidomide in the ‘60s is a perfect example of how the chemistry behind racemic mixtures alone is vital for our survival as the simplest of errors can be tragic.

I have been provided with a stronger basis for understanding chemistry through studying physics and maths as they expand my knowledge even further, enhancing my interest in the subject as it allows me to recognise the depths of science down to quantum mechanics and helps me view chemistry for what it is, the central science. I have also gained essential qualities such as logical thinking, precision and dexterity through ensuring I obtain accurate results in physics practical work and solving maths equations, thus developing my ability in chemistry as I can adapt my logic to a wider range of problems.

Initially, YouTube was my main source of current information. I discovered videos explaining different aspects of science such as why ice cream contains emulsifiers and they have helped me understand the foundations of science. However, each question answered in a video left me pondering further questions that could be asked about the topic. This last year or so I have been an avid reader of The New Scientist magazine, uncovering the latest ‘gossip’ in modern science. The publications “Chemistry” and “Molecules” by Peter Atkins have essentially simplified my thoughts on chemistry and have demonstrated the breadth of the subject by using only a handful of molecules. The Royal Society of Chemistry has also provided me with a whole community to turn to for discussion regarding unsolved problems.

Gravitational waves is one of many fascinating scientific breakthroughs that another student and I discuss at school during our free time. I enjoy discussing topics like this frequently as well as reaching out to younger students to encourage them to enjoy science through a tutoring scheme, improving my communication skills along with my initiative when assisting a student whilst developing someone else’s or my own scientific knowledge.

Having a healthy mind is key to succeeding in academia and sport is my method of remaining as healthy as I can. My interest in sport ranges from the boring to the outrageous, appreciating the tranquillity of snooker yet lusting for the adrenaline rush of sitting on a plastic board in 7ft waves. I have also been involved in football and rugby teams, being a member of a football development academy in my county. In my spare time I enjoy watching TV shows like Dexter, Sherlock and Breaking Bad which explore the depths of science from different perspectives and demonstrate how chemistry provides the basis of what we know today. I aspire to become like the Dexter of my own field, maybe without his “dark passenger”, but possessing lab skills at the same quality standard which I look forward to gaining from the course.

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Only talked about natural sciences in Cambridge SAQ.

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