Maths Personal Statement
The accumulating comprehension of fascinating interconnected truths that comes from the study of mathematics is what draws me to it. I believe this alone justifies the study of mathematics for its own sake, without considering its numerous applications. Science, for example, which I take a keen interest in, is expressed most clearly in the language of maths, and is crucial to technological civilisation. My study of chemistry to A Level and my interest in physics, brought about through independent reading, has shown me understanding mathematics is necessary for understanding of the universe.
The applications of mathematics usually lag behind the pure mathematical ideas they use. Leibniz's development of the modern binary numeral system, for example, predates by over 200 years its use as the language of computers, which not only support modern society but also are powerful mathematical tools. It appears that a society is limited by the mathematical ideas available to it. The evident power of mathematical ideas is incomparably compelling, due to their universality and the peremptory nature of proof, which itself is a pivotal concept I would like to study.
My interest has led me to read outside of the A Level syllabus. I've used online resources, like Wolfram's Mathworld, to teach myself topics such as complex numbers and hyperbolic functions. I found MAPLE useful in this more independent approach. I have read MetaMaths: the Quest for Omega, by Gregory Chaitin. In this, I found the discussion on infinite sets and the uncomputability of real numbers, with its implication of incompleteness, particularly interesting. From the Birth of Numbers, by Jan Gullberg, has been valuable as a reference book and highly interesting. Its chronological approach gave insight into the processes of mathematical discovery, development and proof. The broader view and deeper insight into mathematics gained from these sources has been of great influence in my choice to study maths.
My interest in science led me to run Café Scientifique, which invited expert speakers to school to debate contemporary scientific topics. I represented the school in the Cambridge Schools Debating Competition, and I completed a listening course allowing me to become a school counsellor. I am a member of the British Weightlifting Association and a regular cyclist.
My work experience as part of a research team in Durham University Chemistry Department, while not directly relevant, introduced me to academia. A quantitative approach was expected, and the more advanced science that was exposed to me exemplified the level of maths required for scientific research.
At Dame Allan's Sixth Form, I won the prize for AS mathematics, and I achieved 596/600 in the A Level, for which I received the A.F. Bell Memorial Prize for mathematics. I also won the AS and A Level prizes for chemistry. Oxford accepted me for chemistry, but I decided to study natural sciences (chemistry and maths) at Durham. However, I now realise my passion is for mathematics and preferred environment is a bigger city than those.
I eagerly await the enhanced mathematical understanding University maths will bring.
This personal statement was written by dralxy for application in 2007.
I wrote this as I was planning to reapply for Mathematics after leaving Durham Natural Sciences (Chemistry and Maths). However, I was able to transfer directly onto Newcastle's MMath course, so it was never used. My other personal statement - for chemistry, under Alxy - got me into Oxford, so I hope this is of similar quality.
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