Maths and Economics Personal Statement

Presenting Globular Clusters for my school's astronomy group at the European Science Exposition 2016 was one of my most formative experiences. Amid international enthusiasm, I witnessed the creativity and awe that science, with mathematics at its core, can inspire. Though I've continued telescopes and physics, this event sparked my love of mathematics.

As part of a school project last year, I studied waves as the sum of different sine and cosine functions. Because the proof of this idea was not covered by our textbooks, I started searching for one on my own. Following the internet's proofs of the Fourier Transform was my maths rabbit hole: it led me to read Alex in Numberland and its sequel, participate in my school's maths' Olympiades, learn calculus by attempting to explain the formula for a cone's volume and meet with a mathematics circle in Toulouse. Lessons became richer and more exciting, particularly in Sequences and Number Theory.

Writing my school's journal scientific column for two years has convinced me that this enthusiasm can be universally contagious. As a rock-climber, the thrill of puzzle-solving, building my own logical paths and mounting new challenges has kept me reaching for more.

Yet maths also allows us to recognise patterns and quantify objects that would otherwise be impossible to comprehend. I have experienced this first-hand in chemistry, cooking, and baking: balancing quantity of matter to ferment sourdough bread or ginger-root beer, evaluating the humidity of fermenting Miso, or the normal distribution in the popping frequency of popcorn are tangible proofs of how maths can reinvent the way we see the world. In physics, sound level intensity or potentials of Hydrogen are built on logarithms, while economics and image processing are cemented by matrices; mathematics often feels like a cheat-code to reality.

Working in a Lyonnaise boulangerie, I was surprised by the importance of the bakery's repeated sales analysis, constantly adapting to new demands of pastries or sandwiches. This first introduction to microeconomics has developed into a wider interest in larger economic topics, reading journals and works like those of French economists Bernard Marris or Thomas Piketty and following a MOOC course in economics by Paris II university.

Moreover, being part of a DISPO structure - a group of selected students encouraged to prepare exams to France's Political Sciences institutions - has allowed me to further study economic concepts and the challenges they face today, be it globalization or sustainable development. I've been able to grapple with these issues as ecological prefect for my high school and, especially, through two weeks of environmental work in an international and germanophone work camp near Frankfurt last summer. Economics, grounded by mathematics, strikes me as the most scientific study of the mechanisms within our societies.

Maths is more than a tool to me. It skims the surface of permanent truths, which I can recognise in the night sky or hear when I play the saxophone, cascading in patterns as a form of art. The excitement it incites is why I am preparing the French Concours General, a national five-hour maths exam for every high school's best students. I look forward to furthering my mathematical abilities at university and gain the toolkit that describes the clockwork of the world.

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Durham Natural Sciences (FIRM), Exeter Mathematics with Economics (INSURANCE), Glasgow Mathematics/Economics (offer), Warwick MORSE (offer)


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