Mathematics Personal Statement
Mathematics, like any other skill, is something to be honed. At its most refined the applications of Maths are so powerful and its range so wide that there are few fields untouched by its seemingly universal span. This said, it is those very pockets of research that do remain untouched by Maths that fascinate me the most. Whether these 'gaps' stem from a lack of research-depth into a field or (admittedly more frequently) my own room to learn, I believe a degree in Mathematics to be the perfect pathway to bridge these gaps.
For example, one particular subject of interest to me is that of gerrymandering. Maths was not even at the root of my research into the topic; initially the topicality of the political practice prompted my further reading. Yet, upon digging deeper, I came to uncover the plethora of mathematical processes that are (and could be) put to use in tackling what is an eminent concern to many within modern politics. One paper ("Nearly Convex Sets and the Shape of Legislative Districts") introduced me to convex geometry and expanded upon the linear programming I first encountered within the Decision 1 module at A-Level. It was intriguing and perhaps inspiring to see a branch of Mathematics that I study at A-Level employed to break down an issue I find genuinely troubling in contemporary times. Perhaps even more vital an addition to my mathematical knowledge from this paper was the introduction of Euclidean geometry. The stark reality of how far-removed true axiomatic proofs are from the 'proofs' of A-Level has only lead to me further developing this facet of my mathematical toolkit. 'Proof' (Plumpton et al), suggested to me by one of my maths teachers, has provided me an insight into the methods tackled at undergraduate level and reinvigorated my passion for the subject.
I also find the permeative nature of maths within the world perhaps its most intriguing trait. In fact, one of the branches of Mathematics that most fascinates me I uncovered almost by accident. My first encounter with topology came whilst investigating the properties of bullwhips and their composition: researching what it is that allows them to produce a sonic 'boom'. In delving further and further into this area of physics, I came across braid theory and, by extension, topology. Being particularly fascinated by Klein bottles and their properties, I have watched several videos and lectures on this and other regions within topology. This exploration of Mathematics beyond the A-Level specification has left me with little doubt that undergraduate study is the perfect (and most exciting) pursuit for me.
Having also gained valuable experience employed by an independent school and sportswear shop, I have come to understand the value of and develop both confidence and communication skills - the two of which have come to help me greatly in my tutoring of KS2 pupils at a local primary school. I believe these assets to be essential when taking Mathematics beyond the scope of academia and into wider industry - this being the postgraduate route I intend to take. I also believe that the six and seven-day weeks I work over summer, in addition to the charity work I assist in coordinating as part of my college's Student Executive, are reflections of the hard work I am willing to commit not only to my studies, but every aspect of my life.
Whilst having never taken part in formal competitions pertaining to my subjects, I do seek out any materials from such events; I frequently attempt questions from past UKMT Senior Maths Challenges as well as Olympiad papers to widen my horizons within Physics. I also recently received the Ogden Trust 'School Physicist of the Year' award, having been nominated by my college in light of the results I achieved throughout my first year of A-Level.
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