Mathematics (MMath) Personal Statement

Alex Bellos wrote a book, ‘Alex’s adventures in Numberland’, which gives a great insight and depth to the wonders of mathematics. In particular it explored the fascinating feat of method maths and shows many examples of how different methods help us get to solutions that a lot of the time would be unsolvable. This is apparent with regular polygons, as Euclid, with his compass and ruler alone, constructed many regular polygons but was restricted at the heptagon and nonagon. This seems like a limit that has been reached, but in fact other methods such as origami were able to produce these more complex polygons, although according to the book origami did still meet its match at the 11-agon. The book also went into the mathematics of various languages, and look at the reasons why the Chinese are possibly, on average, better at mental arithmetic due to the way they say and pronounce their numbers. This book intrigued me the view mathematics as the language of all science and understanding.

I have undertaken online FutureLearn courses such as ‘Real World Calculus’ from the University of Leicester and ‘Cracking Mechanics’ from the University of Bristol. These courses worked well to apply the skills I learned in mathematics and physics and put them into practical application. This was good for furthering my knowledge and the utilisation of the skills I learnt in mathematics that I wouldn't necessarily be able to apply in these modules alone. They looked at the mechanics behind real world problems like the engineering and movement of a Formula 1 car. It2 looked at velocity and used the basic SUVAT equations. As well as this it also went on to more complicated topics such as derivation and integration to find solutions for acceleration when given its velocity or position vector in terms of t.

As well as these online courses I was able to sign up for a weekly seminar lead by Stephen Porritt. We looked at many sub-topics including Brownian motion, binary numbers and prime numbers. But the lecture which really captivated my mind was when we were shown a scenario of various amounts of people in the room and each had a birthday. It was surprising how low the number of people there had to be, 48, to have a chance of over 95% of 2 people having the same birthday. My engrossment in this is because of interest in data analysis and, more specifically, the stock market. I attended a taster session about the stock exchange at Reading University and during this course we looked at the statistics of investments and we participated in practise account exercises which involved buying and selling stocks off different markets and trades in order to make as big a profit as possible. I notably enjoyed this as it taught me how to work under immense pressure whilst situations were ever changing.

I have been a keen guitar player for 10 years and have performed with worship bands and small rock bands. Learning guitar over the years has taught me patience and perseverance when learning new things. Being in band has taught me to work well in a team and considering everyones viewpoint as well as taking leadership roles. Leadership is something I would say I’m very good at, as a member of the Air Training Corps I was put in a position of responsibility and had numerous exercises to complete in a leadership role and within the team. I was part of a team when I went of the Holland to complete ‘De 4 Daagse’, a 100 mile walk over 4 days. Each day consisted of getting up at 4 in the morning and walking for around 8 hours depending on weather conditions. This took months of preparation, determination and hydration to be ready to complete a hike on a scale like this and I am definitely going to be doing it again.

I am looking forward to learning University level maths and extending my knowledge. I know there is so much more to be learnt and explored and I am ready to dive in at the deep end and get my head stuck in to a brand new syllabus.

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