Physics and Natural Sciences Personal Statement

Symmetry is the property of invariance under a transformation; physics can be considered as the study of these symmetries, how they affect both the most fundamental and the most complex levels of the universe. This is in part where my interest lies: redefining our perception of the lowest level mechanisms that the universe is based on. Yet this is meaningless if left in isolation – it is the application of these base concepts I consider most important. Applied physics offers an intellectual challenge whilst having a real effect; I think the application of already well-established theoretical principles has the potential to result in solutions for the world’s present or future problems.

Reading general and popular science books such as Six Not So Easy Pieces, then modern physics texts such as Relativity Made Relatively Easy has informed my decision to pursue further study. By watching online lectures (such as MIT Open Courses, Khan Academy, DrPhysicsA), and reading books and articles on relativity, particle physics, quantum mechanics, and the related fields, I’ve pieced together some understanding of their concepts. Beginning with studying a physics or natural sciences degree, I hope to not just understand, but also contribute to these ideas. Of all I’ve read about, Particle Physics is one of the most complex, and therefore most interesting areas of physics. It is prominent in its breadth of significance, both out of theoretical interest and its potential future applications. The sub-atomic description of the universe seems to be a logical research path for me – an alternative perspective to working downwards from a cosmological level.

Going beyond the A level maths syllabus, I’ve read about a range of applicable topics such as multivariable calculus, vector calculus, linear algebra and tensors, ODEs, and Lagrangian mechanics. Most helpful have been online maths notes and courses as well as beginning to read Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering. I have been the highest scoring student in my school for both the Physics Olympiad and the UK Maths Challenge for the past two years, achieving Merit in the follow-on round.

As well as academic texts, I spend a lot of time reading science fiction, following the often very original concepts and described paradigm shifts. Although not all sci-fi is fully grounded in scientific fact, it facilitates a more visionary perspective of the future. Science is ultimately working towards this future, and therefore having some description of it – however inaccurate or idealistic – can help realise it.

Computers, both hardware and programming, are something I am interested in, both in school – where I was awarded the KS4 computer science award – and out. I have built and upgraded my computer, written programs for a variety of functions: prime number generation/verification, encryption and making an educational app for my school. Since much of physics research is now based on modelling, it is a prerequisite to have some experience of programming. I also enjoy taking things apart: laptops, phones, and other electronics I have taken down to their component parts then reassembled in order to understand how they work. Besides the academic aspect of my life, I enjoy tennis and climbing, and will complete DofE Gold this year.

From the age of nine, I have wanted to be a physicist; the eight intermediate years have only consolidated my decision. From a year-long project in Year 8 on thermonuclear energy – describing how terrestrial fusion presents a solution to the energy deficit – to more recent scientific essays, a visit to the RAL and work experience in a university laboratory, the compulsion to study physics has only further developed. It is my view that the synergy between logical thinking and the ability to conceive of creative solutions to otherwise unsolvable problems are desirable traits to be an effective physicist. Through a degree course, I intend to further develop this capacity.

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Offers from:
Cambridge (natural sciences) - Accepted
Imperial (theoretical physics) - Insurance
Durham (physics)
Manchester (physics)
UCL (theoretical physics)

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