Mathematics & Computer Science Personal Statement
I have found mathematics a fascinating subject since my early years. I enjoy it as it is challenging and logical.
I am particularly interested in decision mathematics as it is a field that is directly related to real-life applications of mathematics and can be used to solve problems, such as finding the optimal solution for transporting materials from one place to another while minimising the cost.
I am also interested in how advances in mathematics have been made in different cultures, and I am currently reading “Mathematics - A Concise History and Philosophy” by W.S. Anglin and will then expand my knowledge further by reading “A History of Mathematics” by Florian Cajori and “A History of Mathematics From Mesopotamia to Modernity” by Luke Hodgkin.
I have learned Visual Basic .NET as part of my computing A Level, which has enabled me to use algorithms I learned in decision mathematics, like the Simplex algorithm and Zeller's algorithm, in my programs. In my spare time I practice programming in Visual Basic .NET, coding cipher solvers and instant messengers with encryption and decryption features among others.
In order to extend my programming skills further, I will also be teaching myself C++ because of its independence of the .NET framework which makes using it for cross-platform development easier. In order to keep up-to-date with the advances made in technology, I regularly read the PC World magazine and CNET News.
My other academic interests include physics, which I enjoy due to the heavy application of mathematics involved in it. My interest in particle physics led me to take the Open University course module “How the Universe works” (S197).
Taking the course required self-motivation, and has given me the opportunity to improve my independent study skills, which I believe will benefit me in my higher studies. I am also taking A Level General Studies which has encouraged me to explore social and political issues and discuss controversial topics.
I participated in and completed the 2008 National Cipher Challenge, which sparked in me an interest in encryption and decryption algorithms, and led me to explore the world of ciphers and quantum computing.
I play the guitar, and take lessons every week. I am a volunteer editor on Wikipedia, and I have made over 4000 contributions to it. My part-time job involves tutoring a young student in mathematics and English. I voluntarily assisted a mathematics teacher in teaching a Year 10 class every week, and found it a truly rewarding experience.
I hope to pursue a career related to mathematics and computing, and I believe I have the qualities required to carry on those subjects to a higher level and I am enthusiastic about doing so.
This personal statement was written by Joshua Issac for application in 2010.
Joshua Issac's university choices
The University of Birmingham
The University of Nottingham
Green: offer made
Red: no offer made
Pure Mathematics and Computer Science at The University of Birmingham
Joshua Issac's Comments
Oxford - interview (failed);
York - interview (offer);
Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield - offer.
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