Mathematics Personal Statement

When I learned that mathematics involved more than just routine computations, it certainly left alasting impression on me, to say the least. From then onwards, I became eager to explore the subject for myself, to go beyond what was taught in the classroom. My interest in mathematics grew rapidly while I was studying independently for my IGCSEs.

I could not rest until I understood something and once I did, it was often a source of great joy. Checking every answer became an obsession and once I had completed the syllabus, I started to experiment with ideas such as intuitively deriving the formulae for volumes of solids. There is no doubt problem solving in mathematics requires knowledge, patience and creativity. In return, it offers intellectual stimulation and the triumph of discovery. These, among others, are two reasons why maths is beautifully captivating, and as an A level student, I have learnt to embrace curiosity and to consider various approaches. I'll flick through a textbook at leisure, consult online maths forums or even attempt to derive a proof myself. Being a keen reader, books such as The Loss of Certainty by Morris Kline have made me more aware of the nature of mathematics and the foundational crises of the past, such as Godel's incompleteness theorem. I can spend hours indulging in past papers or on websites such as NRICH and BRILLIANT looking to improve my mathematical ability. In addition, I am constantly asking myself such questions as “Why is this so?” or “How can we be certain?” in mathematical contexts. By doing so, I am able to achieve a more thorough understanding, which I find to be immensely satisfying. It seems there are no restrictions in terms of exploration; indeed, Georg Cantor once said that “the essence of mathematics lies in its freedom”. With all this in mind, I cannot wait to see what I will encounter at university. At the heart of mathematics is proof. Starting with principles already known, we are able to deduce more and more, and seeing the truth of an assertion unfold before my eyes helps me truly appreciate the elegance of mathematics. We use proof to verify our intuitions as they may not always be correct. For instance, all continuous functions were once thought to be differentiable but this is not necessarily the case, as there are counterexamples to this rule such as the Weierstrass function. Mathematics constantly provokes my interest and it seems the more I learn, the more there is to explore. Pi is connected to all the odd numbers. The derivative of the exponential function is itself. Even sine and cosine can be expressed in terms of e and i. Connections such as these leave me pondering about the identities and interrelationships within mathematics, and even though I fully understand the reasons for them, I am still incredulous. As part of a Higher Project qualification, I wrote a report on Isaac Newton's work in calculus and the controversies that surrounded it at the time. After university, I would like to embark on a career in accounting. I feel that it complements my interest in mathematics well; for instance, the use of arithmetic and algebra is fundamental in basic accounting and beyond. It is also an interesting subject in its own right; I enjoy applying and developing my problem solving skills by preparing financial statements and other documents.

In contrast, I am a violinist and was previously a member of an orchestra, where I attained the rank of a 'first' violinist. I aim to pursue this interest further at university as I enjoy it tremendously; the harmonies I fondly remember being a part of were often heart-warming and graceful one moment, lively and upbeat the next. I am extremely grateful for having been opened to the joy of mathematics, and am loving everymoment of it. I hope to meet like-minded friends at university, to be a valued member of the community and to thrive on the course. But most of all, I wish it to be an experience that will be cherished for a lifetime.

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