Maths Personal Statement
The study of mathematics and the challenges that it presents arouse equal measures of both frustration and enjoyment. It is the moment of enlightenment arrived at through differing proportions of determination and experimentation that is the appeal of the subject.
An example of this is the problem solving aspect of maths, which has always appealed to me, and how problems appear so diverse; such as in the case of Fermat's Theorem and the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture. These two seemingly unrelated problems depended on each other's proofs. It is fascinating how one problem can draw together various different, and sometimes completely unrelated, areas of maths.
A taster course at Robinson College, Cambridge looked at linear equations, a simple concept, but introduced the method of solving them by matrices and extending those ideas to 3D linear equations. I enjoyed applying familiar knowledge, developing it further with new techniques and glimpsing their potential.
In a somewhat similar way, the topic of game theory is of interest to me and so I presented the subject to my class, outlining its basic concepts and applications.
On the face of it, some of the games presented seem simple, for example the Prisoner's Dilemma. However the extension and applications of these illustrations are endless; from everyday negotiations we encounter to using Nash equilibrium to model evolutionary stability in biology to economic applications, such as maximising profit in stock trading and modelling the behaviour of consumers.
Upon reading Ian Stewart's "17 Equations that Changed the World", the topic of chaos theory was particularly appealing as it demonstrates one of the many applications of maths. The fact that nature, a seemingly random, free flowing occurrence, can be illustrated by maths, fascinates me.
Robert May's model devised for species population shows how while the data looks random, the system is in principle deterministic. However then slight changes in these systems can have large, unpredictable effects, for example in weather forecasting there is a prediction horizon of a few days beyond which the future cannot be determined.
I have tutored younger students in maths for some time and have found that it has helped me to look at maths from various different angles and improved my communication skills greatly. Helping others to learn maths has consolidated my knowledge but also required perseverance and patience which can be vital in solving complex maths problems.
My work experience placement at KPMG gave me an insight into a potential maths-related career. I shadowed a team reviewing bids from companies competing for contracts with the Ministry of Justice, this involved modelling a system to compare different aspects of each bid; I saw a different side of maths to the statistics based work I'd seen in other areas of the company.
The working environment was enjoyable and it was interesting to see how diverse the finance industry is, especially the different applications of maths.
This summer I took part in the National Citizen Service, a government run programme designed to challenge young people, offer new experiences and help them aid their community. I was voted team director and we designed a campaign to give back to our local community. It was a great opportunity to hone my leadership, teamwork and communication skills.
Outside of academics, swimming has always been a passion of mine. Last year I went on to gain a swimming teaching qualification and have been teaching for the past year. I raised funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care by participating in several annual Swimathon events.
My work with them encouraged me to volunteer weekly at a Cancer Research UK charity shop, these jobs have developed my confidence and communication skills. Balancing them with academics has greatly improved my time management skills Studying mathematics at a higher level will provide me with many challenges, and equally as much enjoyment.
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University of Warwick - offer
University of Nottingham - offer
UCL - offer
University of Bath - offer
Imperial - no offer
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