Physics Personal Statement
Since the Big Bang billions of years ago, fundamental particles, atoms and molecules have never stopped interacting and so eventually formed the present cosmological system. Without the presence of the four fundamental forces, this Universe could never have existed. From “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking, I know about how fundamental particles drifting around in chaos eventually joined, systematically forming the present Universe. I am interested in what the Universe will be like one day: infinitely large, staying constant in equilibrium, or ending up in a big crunch? My keenness to find out why has been the reason for my choosing to study Astrophysics.
Along with Astrophysics, I find Particle Physics very absorbing. The interactions of elementary particles due to the four fundamental forces intrigue me. Reading “Warped Passages” by Lisa Randall, has told me about how force carriers, which exchange forces during interactions, and how, amazingly, the string theory, if experimentally confirmed, unifies general relativity, quantum mechanics and particle physics, giving hope to the ultimate dream of every physicist: the Theory of Everything. These are entirely new concepts so different from the basic knowledge I learned in AS Physics. The immense amount of complex calculations and the application of quantum theory and string theory make it challenging to master. However, that is why I love it as I enjoy facing problems and overcoming them. Upon my graduation, I believe I will be equipped with the abilities to solve these problems and devote myself to scientific research.
Mathematics has always been the 'best friend' of physics; it helps to solve many sophisticated physics problems that would otherwise be insoluble in four dimensions. For example, vectors and matrices have made great contributions to calculations in higher dimensions. In “Warped Passages”, I was impressed by Lisa Randall's enlightening suggestion that the feeble gravitational force could be very strong in a higher dimension. Were mathematics not involved in the process, physicists would find it impossible to derive such a theory. Therefore, I chose to study Further Mathematics together with Physics at A-level. I was awarded the Gold Award in the Senior Mathematics Challenge 2007 and won the Outstanding Performance Award in the Mathematics Project Competitions for Secondary Schools 2002-03 organised by the Education and Manpower Bureau of the HKSAR. My project was about producing a calendar for every planet in the solar system.
Apart from focusing on my academic studies, I have been a member of a Young Enterprise company as the Human Resources Director and participated in the Duke of Edinburgh's Scheme Gold Award. These activities have improved my teamwork and leadership skills and provided me with chances to socialise with local students. To broaden my scope, I joined the Physics and Astronomy Summer School in July 2007, organised by the University of Southampton. It gave me a flavour of what Physics at university is like. In summer 2004, I joined a 5-day course organized by the NASA John F. Kennedy Space Centre, which told me about the current space technology and advancements. In my former school, I accepted many responsibilities, most notably as prefect, mentor of the Guidance Club and Chairman of the community Youth Club. At present, I am a librarian at school. After having experienced a year of boarding life, I am looking forward to a more independent life at university.
This personal statement was written by marcolam for application in 2008.
Cam Nat Sci
IC Theoretical Physics
Warwick Maths and Physics
Southampton Physics and Astronomy
Reading Maths and Meteorology