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Mathematics Personal Statement

When I lived in London, I found maths to be straightforward. Albeit, I was eight, but regardless I didn't have much trouble. When I had to move to Qatar, I still found maths to be simple enough. I would finish my times tables quickly and move on with my day.

Through secondary school, I thought maths was just finding the answer in the back of the textbook. It wasn't until joining HL math, and finding out about proof by induction that I started caring about the subject again. Proof by induction allowed me to see that you can approach a problem from multiple angles in the k+1 stage, and they can all be correct and elegant in their own way.

In addition, I enjoy how induction works, because it is deeply rooted in logical thought. When I learnt that you could not prove statements like the square root of two being irrational by induction or direct proof, I was drawn into how pure maths uses logic to demonstrate the truth of a statement. Pure maths brought me into the fascinating world of maths.

From that moment, I explored different kinds of maths. I found Youtube channels in maths, leading me to look into the Taylor series' of different functions. I read textbooks on extra calculus options not taught in my school, starting the calculus option as a self-taught unit.

I decided to do my Maths IA on the Maclaurin series of sin(x) because I didn't understand how the sin function is computed on a calculator and why we do not use the expanded form in high school. This research motivated me further to study maths at university because I realized how the natural world relates to the maths I had learned in the previous years.

I find calculus appealing because it allows me to answer questions that I had been asking for years, like the change in velocity of a ball through a fluid. In physics, teachers tell you that you cannot calculate drag because it is dependent on velocity, which is changing. I was intrigued by this, and decided to learn this calculus for my extended essay.

The extra calculus I learned allowed me to work through problems I previously thought impossible.

I also enjoy applying mathematics to my world. As a baseball player, I decided to read "The Baseball Almanac" by Bill James. In the 1982 edition, James calculates the probability of the average player making an error at every baseball stadium.

This allows the managers to better make judgement for the golden glove, because some players play more games in statistically more difficult stadiums. This application of maths into baseball really brought statistics alive for me.

I assist three other students through the tutoring organization at school. This taught me how to explain my mathematical arguments in words, and allowed me to see problems from other angles, which is crucial in group work.

While I focused heavily on maths in the past year, I also played on multiple school teams, leading the volleyball and baseball teams to consecutive finals in international tournaments. I learnt how to support people of varying experiences and skill levels, and created successful teams in every case.

This taught me patience, because oftentimes your first explanation of a skill or idea does not resonate with a teammate. Being OK with your first solution not working is invaluable to a mathematician, and the patience I learnt as a teammate in sports carries over into my maths.

I have also completed ABRSM grade eight exams on tenor saxophone and guitar, gaining a distinction on saxophone. Music is similar to maths in that you learn the instrument mechanics before you can appreciate the beauty of the music. I learnt focus and self-control, and this really applies now to working solo on maths.

A mathematics degree will allow me to turn my passion and flair for the subject of maths into tangible change in the world, whether it be by applying maths in other disciplines or exploring the subject further.

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Author's Comments

My PS was written in about 2 days, as I had very little support from the school which I am at currently (Note: my school has never got anyone in to oxbridge). I did not have great MAT scores (I predict between 65 and 70) and only got a 7.7 on TMUA. I was predicted 41/45 on IB, with 776 at HL. Finally, I live overseas.

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