Physics is the understanding of the universe, from the quantum to the cosmos. Wanting to understand reality and how what we do affects the things around us is the basis of who I am. There is no better way for me to explore this than studying physics so I can understand parts of the universe and how these are manifested in everyday life.
By trying to understand more about the world around us, I went to a taster day at Royal Holloway, University of London, where we did experiments and higher education style lectures. During the lectures, I learned about what the standard model was and how it is a visual representation of a very long equation. The experiments consisted of how oxygen acts at very low temperatures and how slight differences in pressure and temperature can change its properties.
I took part in a Physics Olympiad where I was stretched beyond my specification and was asked challenging questions that I have not seen before, but I did well and was awarded a trip to the Royal Society where a guest speaker spoke about a mission to Jupiter’s moons for my achievements. During this talk, I learned how there are many factors that are needed to be thoroughly thought about when planning for exploration so far away and how there needs to be solutions to problems you didn’t think you would have.
I was fortunate enough to visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich where astronomy had taken a giant leap and became a focal point for navigation around the world. There I could explore the evolution of how we have modeled our Solar System and how we have inferred the appearance of black holes. Moreover, by watching a show in the planetarium I could see what interactions happen within CERN as they smash particles against each other at near light speed to give us further insight on how particles are broken down into subatomic levels and how they interact with each other to form new particles. Similarly, we were shown how new instruments were being built underground to be able to detect the light when neutrinos interact with water as neutrinos rarely react with matter. Following this new study into neutrinos, it poses the question whether dark matter really is just matter that we haven’t encountered before or matter, such as neutrinos, that interact in a different way that we do not currently understand?
By taking part in a mini project in my college marked internally, I researched about lunar exploration and whether it was necessary for another manned mission. During this project, I had improved my researching ability as I had to question the credibility of my source and give convincing reasons for either side of the argument. This has developed my critical thinking, allowing me to question the credibility of what people tell me.
I regularly play football at a semi-professional level in the 9th division of the English league. As I am playing men’s football at this age, I have a new role of responsibility as I am not only playing for myself and my team, but I am also playing for the fans of the club as they are the people that are willing to spend their money to watch me play and the team to succeed. This has allowed me to take responsibility for myself as I need to be able to succeed and try my best. This skill is brought into my studies as I strive for success and find the balance between learning and playing football. Playing football at a high standard has helped me grow as a person.
My qualities in football and my passion for physics pushes me to be the best I can be all the time; it allows me to question things that don’t feel right at the time so that I can have the full understanding of a situation. The trip to the Royal Observatory made me realize that that there is little understanding of where we live and that there is much more that we can realize and understand, I would love to be part of the next generation of scientists who pioneer research into understanding the unknown.