Mathematics and Physics Personal Statement

Physics helps us to understand the behaviour of the universe and mathematics provides the fundamental tools that underpin this. Even though these subjects complement each other there are separate reasons why I enjoy them. Within mathematics I enjoy pure mathematics, working with functions and their limits, differentiating and integrating them; it is maths for the sake of maths and I find it extremely captivating. The complexity and unusual nature of questions and statements made in physics intrigues me, from Schrodinger’s cat to what happens at, and beyond, the event horizon of a black hole. I also enjoy the experimental work in physics as it allows me to explore the practical elements of the subject and collect data which help to explain the laws of nature.

Last year I took the opportunity to teach myself a unit in statistics at higher level. Not only has it broadened my knowledge of mathematics but it has given me a taster of what it will be like to study at university. I created my own notes from the available texts, worked through statistical problems unaided, and completed the unit well within time. This year I have faced a greater challenge – teaching myself the whole of applied mathematics: mechanics at advanced higher level. I am thoroughly enjoying the combination of mathematics and physics.

My interest in mathematics and physics is not restricted to the classroom. I am currently taking part in the Mathematical Challenge 2012-2013, run by the Scottish Mathematical Council and have entered in previous years. I also enjoy using the ‘Everything is Mathematical’ website and trying their weekly challenges – the problem solving is absorbing and I take great satisfaction in finding a variety of routes to achieve a solution.

I do not just accept ideas in mathematics and physics at face value. When introduced to the number ‘e’ so that we could use natural logarithms, I wanted to know: why this number and how did it come about? This led me to read ‘e The Story of a Number’ by Eli Maor and allowed me to discover its history and its use in nature as well as mathematics. I have now moved onto ‘The Quantum Universe: Everything that can happen does happen’ by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw and am enjoying it immensely. The topics covered in it appear bizarre as they go against our intuition, like electrons travelling an infinite number of paths when moving from one position to another, but that is how the quantum universe behaves and I find it fascinating.

In my spare time I play netball and golf. I am an excellent team player and have good communication skills, a quality essential for netball. Golf has provided me with the ability to analyse my own technique and to look into what is required to adapt this, in order to improve my game.

Whilst I am looking forward to new experiences which University life has to offer, I do not look at studying mathematics and physics as just a degree, but as a way of continuing my passion and developing my knowledge of these amazing subjects.

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Physics helps us to understand the behaviour of the universe and mathematics provides the fundamental tools that underpin this. Even though these subjects complement each other there are separate reasons why I enjoy them. Within mathematics I enjoy pure mathematics, working with functions and their limits, differentiating and integrating them; it is maths for the sake of maths and I find it extremely captivating. The complexity and unusual nature of questions and statements made in physics intrigues me, from Schrodinger’s cat to what happens at, and beyond, the event horizon of a black hole. I also enjoy the experimental work in physics as it allows me to explore the practical elements of the subject and collect data which help to explain the laws of nature...

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