Natural Sciences Personal Statement Example 6

Spacetime is doomed and needs to be replaced. This grabbed my attention at a talk by Nima Arkani-Hamed and heightened my interest in the physical sciences. This statement was perplexing and I wanted to research it. I read into the problems physicists face trying to knit together quantum mechanics and gravity, including The Quantum Universe, QED and A Brief History of Time, from which I enjoyed considering complex ideas such as the mechanism for the emission of Hawking Radiation and how semiconductors work and have changed the world. What stood out from further reading was how spacetime itself loses meaning at both very short and very long scales. It’s exciting that serious progress has been made into this area, and is likely to hold the next major revolution in physics.

Upon starting sixth form, I immersed myself in the sciences. I attended the UCL Friday night lectures, Cambridge Physics Masterclass, RSC hosted Chemistry masterclass at London Met university, a Physical Sciences day at Highgate School and the Next Generation Scientists exchange to Rotterdam’s Erasmus University. Throughout, I was caught between a fascination for both Chemistry and Physics and hence my scientific interests are spread evenly through each discipline. Science is not a segregated formation of disciplines, but instead an interweaving tapestry of subjects, all somewhere on a spectrum between all 3 sciences. Reading Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik, I realised I am most interested in the interface between Chemistry and Physics. I particularly found the combination of the two in glass and silica aerogel fascinating. I enjoyed researching the quantum photon diffraction and interference that causes light to slow in glass, as well as how altering the microstructure and adding a polymer skin to silica aerogel can drastically change the mechanical and insulation properties of the material. Materials Science is a subject that astounds me. I find it inspiring to read about such innovations as concrete that can self-heal, by embedding self-activating limestone-producing bacteria within the cement, and clean the air using photocatalysis with titanium dioxide to break down air pollutants at the surface of the concrete.

My fascination for Chemistry and Physics runs deep. Looking around at the material world, I think about why glass, ceramics, steel and all else I see works for its purpose on the micro and macro scales. I thrive on using my strengths in maths, as reflected by my high UMS scores (299/300), as a springboard to other exploits, such as working through physics problems on isaacphysics.com. I know that a career in science is my future. I recently completed work experience at the National Physical Laboratory as part of the NPL Academy. I worked with scientists researching stress corrosion fracturing of metal alloys for oil and gas applications. It was fascinating seeing how factors as simple as pH, pressure and salinity could cause, at first, microscopic corrosion at the metal’s grain boundaries and later, the catastrophic failure of a pipe system.

Alongside thriving in my studies, this year I was awarded the role of deputy head of college at school, giving me responsibilities relating to the lower school. This was partly due to my work mentoring younger students for Maths GCSE and music clubs and groups. Music is an important part of my life: I play drums in an emerging band and timpani in a community orchestra. Earlier this year my band and I supported Toploader and played at Green Man festival 2015. Further to this I went on tour to Peru with Haringey Young Musicians Big Band and Symphony Orchestra.

My study of the sciences thus far has been challenging and immensely enjoyable, both inside and outside the classroom. My engagement with scientific development has cultivated a fascination for this vast and expanding area of study which I look forward to developing on the most demanding of undergraduate degree courses.

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Hope it helps anyone applying for Natural Sciences or Chemical Physics.

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