Curiosity and my desire to learn have attracted me to maths. I have found that there are an endless number of stimulating ideas to be explored, accompanied with questions that can engage me for hours on end, leaving me enriched when I find the answer. These are the reasons why I have chosen to continue with maths at university.
Attending the Maths Masterclass held at the University of Cambridge first introduced me to the Maths that is studied at undergraduate level. This chance to explore various topics of maths through engaging lectures was one that left a lasting effect on me. The lectures included: ‘Using maths to find what we cannot see’, which showed how maths can be applied in several real life situations, and ‘To infinity… and beyond’, which introduced me to the idea of set theory, and the cardinality of infinite sets.
Furthermore, I had the opportunity to spend a week at Lancaster University for a maths summer school, where I was exposed to even more branches of mathematics that I had not seen before, topics such as fractals and topology. More specifically the Konigsberg Bridge Problem was particularly captivating to explore. It was also very interesting to me how we can readily create a pattern, such as the Sierpinski carpet, that has an irrational dimension. I also had the chance to take part in a large project where my group had to do further research on tiling the plane, periodically and aperiodically, and Penrose Tilings and then present our findings to the other groups and the professors at Lancaster. This summer school gave me confidence in my ability to convey my ideas and cope well with maths at undergraduate level. Being exposed to such intriguing topics has really reaffirmed my choice in wanting to pursue Maths.
I have completed my Maths A-level in one year which has given me a solid foundation to continue with the Further Maths A-level this year. Working my way through the online STEP support exercises in order to prepare for my STEP exams that I am going to take indicates my ability to work independently as I have been introduced to new concepts in maths which I have challenged myself to work through, no matter how difficult they may seem at first. It is the aspect of working through these problems that pleases me most. I have also taken it upon myself to read a few books to introduce me to even more branches of maths that I did not know existed, particularly ‘Journey Through Genius‘ by William Dunham, in which a range of proofs are explored along with the history behind them. I most enjoyed reading about the ‘Infinitude of Primes’, expanding my knowledge on the topic of infinities and was surprised to learn the importance of simple definitions when it comes to proofs.
I was delighted to be awarded with the ‘Ogden Trust Schools Physicist of the Year Award’ award last summer. Physics as a subject is very interesting however it is the problem solving aspect of it that I enjoy the most. The same can be said about Chemistry, where it is the application of maths and doing calculations that are most engaging for me. Outside of lessons, I have helped out at the Maths Club run at our school where I work with younger students. This has greatly improved my ability to explain concepts that are new to the students clearly and accurately. I also assisted with Open Day at my school and was a student helper for the Maths department, where I was entrusted with explaining to upcoming Year 12s how taking Maths and perhaps Further Maths, would be greatly beneficial for them.
I am relishing the opportunity to pursue a Maths degree at university. I feel that I have only scratched the surface on what there is to be learnt and I am eagerly looking forward to broadening my horizons in the field of Maths.