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Mathematics and Philosophy Personal Statement

Bertrand Russell once said: “Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don't know.” I have always been fascinated by the things that stretch our understanding and knowledge of the world to the limits; the vastness of the universe, the extent of the number line, the existence of a superior being and the workings of the human brain, to name a few. I believe that through Mathematics I can further my understanding of what we know to be true, whereas Philosophy will allow me to question the indefinite and the unknown; giving me the opportunity to further the limits to my own understanding.
In Mathematics, the majority of cases have a definite correct answer, which provides me with a real sense of achievement when the solution to a problem is obtained. Studying Mathematics at university will allow me to develop my problem solving techniques in a structured manner through logical analysis and strategy. I am keen to further my Mathematical knowledge beyond my current understanding through the proof work carried out at university, a side of Mathematics that is only just touched upon in the A-Level course. I have studied both Statistics and Decision Mathematics modules, which have given me a deeper insight into the real-life applications of Mathematics, in addition to the Core modules, making me a rounded Mathematics student. The Mechanics modules I have studied in my Further Mathematics lessons have also allowed me to realise the importance of Mathematics to other academic areas, providing me with a greater knowledge of other aspects of life; pushing the limits to my own understanding even further afield.
Questioning the unknown and exploring where there is no definite correct answer has always intrigued and fascinated me just as much as solving answerable problems. In order to push the limits of my understanding, I believe that, in addition to furthering my knowledge of Mathematics, I also need to gain an understanding about how the world works from a non-scientific perspective. During Religious Education and Ethics lessons in school, I relished the opportunity to question the fundamentals, such as the existence of anything apart from myself, as well as deeper discussions on arbitrary subjects, such as the existence of God. Moreover, both Mathematics and Philosophy require deeply logical thinking, in terms of problem solving and forming sound arguments respectively, giving me a greater opportunity to achieve in both subject areas. Philosophy will also develop my ability to form concise reasoned well-structured arguments, which will be greatly beneficial in many aspects of later life.
My interest and involvement in Mathematics extends beyond the classroom. I have participated in several junior and intermediate UKMT challenges, achieving either bronze or silver for each entry; as well as signing up to The National Cipher Challenge for the first time this year. I have also voluntarily tutored a number of peers in both GCSE and AS Mathematics, which helped to develop my mathematical ability, as it was essential that I fully understood the material I was teaching.
I believe that I can work well as a member of a team, and have displayed this when playing for my local youth football team, which I have done for the past 10 years. I was appointed captain for a number of years; a position of responsibility that allowed me to develop my leadership skills, which I have also demonstrate as a qualified Level 7 youth football referee.
I am looking forward to pushing the limits of my own understanding, while also enjoying the many diverse experiences that university life has to offer.

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This personal statement was written by RossG for application in 2009.

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