Mathematics Personal Statement

Many perceive Mathematics as the queen of all sciences,the true language of knowledge, and though it has been studied around the world for centuries,its nature in Greece is somehow distinct from that anywhere else. Being passionate about this subject whose name originates from the Greek 'mathema', and having icons such as Euclid and Pythagoras in your own country's history,obliges one not just to follow, but to explore and further their findings.

From the earliest moments I was acquainted with the concepts of Mathematics,I knew that the knowledge given to me at school was not enough, and felt compelled to deepen it, turning to the works of many Mathematicians.After reading M.B.W. Trent's "The Prince of Mathematics :Carl Friedrich Gauss" I quickly discovered that Mathematics is a way of life rather than an interest or hobby.

Broadening my understanding of this "way of life" convinced my teachers to select me as the school representative for the Annual National Mathematical Competition in Practical Mathematics and Problems. My passion for Mathematics, and the distinction and faith my teachers had in me, motivated me to prepare thoroughly for months, and finally succeed in winning first place. As one of my spare time activities I started taking IQ tests and looking into ways of improving my brain's abilities. As an individual hungry for challenges I decided to sit the MENSA test which resulted in an IQ score of 135, consequently allowing me to become an official MENSA member. However, having that personal satisfaction and public confirmation did not stop me from reaching higher, and so I still practise, believing in the power of hard work
and self-development.

After senior high school, I was accepted into the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) for the course of Applied Mathematics and Physical Sciences, which I attended for one year until family circumstances forced me return to Thessaloniki. In order to gain some modern perspectives on different aspects of Mathematics I eagerly attended lectures at NTUA, including "The action principle and partial differential equations" by leading Greek mathematician-physicist Demetrios Christodoulou. Although these studies on several occasions outstripped my mathematical awareness, it again stimulated my research in order to fully
understand the subject in depth.

Mental agility aside, my many extra-curricular activities extend beyond the outcome of my mathematical passion, as I am also very keen on sports. Over the past ten years I have especially enjoyed skiing and swimming, winning several medals in racing competitions. In addition I am an active fan of football and sailing, which taught me the importance of good communication and trust in a team. This was useful for my month-long job as a cashier at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, primarily selling tickets and learning to work fast and diligently in order to serve the hundreds of people that came every day.

Also, for my compulsory army service, instead of being a regular soldier I opted to join the special forces division, in order to train myself to withstand pressure, and to ascertain my limits as a person: physically, mentally and psychologically. This taught me discipline, and the ability to work under pressure. Lastly, as I enjoy listening to classical music, I was delighted to find, from personal research and exploring the works of various composers, that the golden ratio, a mathematical constant, can also be found in many classical pieces! On a similar vein, in the four years since leaving high school I have been learning to play the violin, and practice this whenever I have the spare time.

The whole science of Mathematics intrigues me deeply, and I am confident that I will be an asset to the research needs at your University and a credit to you in my future endeavours.

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This personal statement was written by Berdos for application in 2009.

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