Mathematics Personal Statement
'Why study Mathematics?' I believe Marcus Du Sautoy explains perfectly (in his book 'The Music of The Primes'); it is 'the emotional buzz the mathematician experiences in charting new pathways across the mathematical landscape'.
The buzz, for me, is the feeling of satisfaction having conquered a problem, whether an A-Level question or an untouchable proof of a hundred year old hypothesis. It is this buzz that drives me to further my studies in Mathematics at University level and beyond.
My particular interests lie in the various ideas and concepts presented in Number Theory and Set Theory, which stemmed from having attended a lecture at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford. In this lecture I was introduced to the concept of how one infinity could be bigger than another infinity and the ways that 0.99 recurring could in theory be equal to 1; this was fascinating.
Having read 'The Man Who Loved Only Numbers' (by Paul Hoffman), I was captivated how sets of prime numbers could engulf some mathematicians (namely Paul Erdos) into dedicating their lives in the search for patterns and links leading to truths and proofs that had evaded past great mathematicians.
It was only then that I realised how such sophisticated levels of Mathematics could be done with just pen and paper; this is what separates it, in my mind, from other academic subjects; all you need is an intelligent mind at work.
I used to think of mathematics as a subject where it is difficult to explore and discuss your own ideas, as there always seems to be a definite answer which could not be disputed. However, it was these books and lectures which showed me a completely new world of mathematics which I hardly knew existed.
Having taken part in an Oxbridge style tutorial, held by a current Oxford undergraduate, covering first year topics, I relished in the research beforehand and it was a great chance to stretch my mind in terms of exploring the subject I love.
I have participated in many UK Maths Challenges at junior, intermediate and higher levels and have succeeded through to the British Mathematics Olympiad on two occasions.
I am extremely interested how mathematics can be applied to the wider world; for instance in motor racing (applied to areas such as fluid dynamics to decreasing a car's air resistance) or teaching; to date, I have tutored many friends with their GCSE's and AS levels in a scheme set up by my school which I love participating in.
Our Pi Shop is an opportunity at our school to present areas of mathematics to an audience and be interrogated by staff and pupils on your topic; so far, I have presented Mathematics in Golf and the life of Paul Erdos. I believe that you only know a subject inside-out when you can teach it to someone who does not have a clue.
Other than mathematics, one of my passions is motor racing (I love the atmosphere of Formula One, both home and abroad), I play golf (handicap of six), polo and croquet (a vicious game where strategy is key; I love to see five or six moves ahead of my opponent).
I have worked in a bar and restaurant, learning many aspects of the business. I thoroughly enjoy my work and, as an outgoing person, interacting with staff and customers comes naturally. As part of the job, I have been given substantial responsibility and have learnt how to deal with hectic situations.
These are also skills I have gained from being a senior prefect at school where I am relied upon to organise other prefects, as well as keep good communication between both staff and other pupils.
Having just completed a year as the Finance Director for Young Enterprise, I really gained an understanding of the sheer hard work needed to achieve success, particularly honing organisational and communication skills.
The opportunity to study Mathematics at University level will satisfy my hunger to explore this world which currently seems novel, exciting and intriguing.
This personal statement was written by chab for application in 2007.
Originally being 88 lines long after my first draft, i spent most of my time cutting it down with the help of both staff at my school and current maths undergrad uni students. i sometimes think it sounds a bit geeky and a lil cheesy, but i am very enthusiastic and passionate about the subject, and i hope i have reflected this well in my PS! Please leave a comment to let me know what you think, it would be really useful! Constructive Criticism Encouraged!!!