Mathematics Personal Statement
I found reading Cracking Mathematics by C. Beveridge a great basis to further my mathematical knowledge. It enabled me to thoroughly recognise the subject as an abstract concept, something that bewilders me and excites me to pursue it further. The book highlights the harmonious nature of innovation, problem solving and past knowledge to develop understanding - something key to mathematical discovery and tackling time old phenomena. It really helped me form a better understanding of how theories are related, built upon and proved for example how group theory uses key number theory principles adopted by Euler that were developed by Gauss and Lagrange and how this later became Galois theory. It also helped me understand the use of certain pure maths A level topics, particularly those I struggled to comprehend a real life application for, such as the use of complex numbers in voltage measurement across inductors, the quantity of impedance for alternating current and current-voltage phase angles; along with their necessity in quantum theory and the possible applications in quantum computation.
I enjoyed reading '17 equations that changed the world' which helped me appreciate the true complexity and limitations of unanswered maths and the due advancements computing brought to the field. With its details of information theory it reestablished my fascination of computing, which I began as an AS last year. However my first year in sixth form was a very difficult year with serious personal issues that resulted in me having to halt my studies. After leaving home and taking on a job to provide for myself I was then able to regroup and return to my A Levels. The opportunity to complete my studies is something that I truly appreciate and it has sealed my ambition to undertake a degree.
I enjoy the challenge of real world practical maths problems and particularly enjoyed partaking in UKMT papers gaining seven successive gold awards and three Kangaroo qualifiers. I thoroughly enjoyed working through the demanding problems and continued this on websites like NRICH and Brilliant. The group theory work on Brilliant was especially interesting as it related to my further reading. It was intriguing to learn more about symmetries and how the Rubik's cube suits being an example of a group theory application because the cube permutations can be represented as group elements.
Attending masterclasses a few years ago as a follow up of the MEM challenge really sparked my interest in mathematical relevancies. In particular that of mathematics in music and harmonics as I play piano and flute to Grade 8 standard. I was especially intrigued by a TED talk on music, about creating a perfect sonar by creating a repetition and pattern free structure based on a Costas array using Galois's prime number theory and then mapping this onto the keys of a piano. I also find it fascinating that many of the most remarkable mathematicians grew to love the subject in association with another science, often philosophy or physics. Space exploration has always interested me and my team reached the UKSDC final.
In a two day event I experienced what it was like to work to a strict deadline in a 'company' and was able to put some of my decision maths knowledge to use in the operational engineering sector. I learned a lot reading 'A Brief History of Time', my favourite chapter being that about the uncertainty principle as statistical expectations can explain or disprove so much. I also liked 'Freakonomics' for this reason - how it connected probabilities and predictions with human nature in such unexpected situations.
Over the past three years the DofE scheme has encouraged me to partake in leading a Brownies unit and though I am still to complete my gold assessed expedition, I hope to do this as I really love being in the countryside and discovering new places. I am excited to be able to complete my A Levels and to continue the study of the subject I love to degree standard.
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King's College London
Applied but no offer:
Manchester - I think this was due to my low predicted grades.
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