Mathematics Personal Statement

What attracts me about Mathematics is its sheer usefulness.  Calculating procedures which appear at first sight to be questions of Pure Mathematics soon show their practical value in the real world, above all in Economics.  Indeed the ability of Mathematical processes to provide valid proofs and to set up logical and methodical ways of negotiating situations in the world we live in makes it central to Economic thinking, and offers us the most promising ways to understand the complex financial movements which affect our lives so dramatically.  A Mathematical concept such as statistics can help us to build macroeconomic models which can then influence government policies, and a basic idea such as differential equations can be developed to enable complex Economic models to deal with a constant change in input data.  I enjoy the elegance, economy, beauty and variety of Mathematics.  I have excelled at the subject in my studies, achieving a very high score across all Pure Maths units in both Maths and Further Maths, and I have been consistently inspired by the depth and scope of the subject.  Its application to Economics has only enriched my interest and enthusiasm, and confirmed my ambition to study Mathematics at the highest level. I am keen to explore the subject beyond the limits of the curriculum and to keep abreast of new developments through following stories in the media.  I regularly read The Economist and Mathematical Spectrum, which is full of original ideas to stimulate thought.  I particularly enjoyed a recen t article on “Trigonometry without Right Angles”, which dramatically suggested a wholly unconventional approach to Maths.  I have also enjoyed Paul Nahin’s Dr Euler’s Fabulous Formula, which was full of ideas about the universal applicability of Maths, telling the story through history and anecdote.  Ian Stewart’s From Here to Infinity explained with great clarity the history of some of the most powerful mathematical puzzles of recent years, such as Fermat’s theorem and Andrew Wiles’ proof, Chaos Theory and the whole mystifying notion of infinity.  His discussion of Probability Theory helped me to understand the application of complex concepts to real life, particularly when he considered its significance for those who play the National Lottery! Another question I am keen to explore further is the contrasting theories of Keynes and Hayek.  The developed economies of the West are still debating whether Keynesian government intervention is the way out of the present impasse, or whether we should listen to Hayek and leave well alone.

I have been entrusted with various positions of responsibility at school and elsewhere. I was asked to become a volunteer Maths mentor at school and have had the opportunity to tutor younger students in Mathematics at various levels, which in turn helped me to find new ways to explain concepts.  I am proud that all of my tutees have achieved grades higher than those predicted.  I have also worked for a community education charity, and have often led group discussions.  I believe that this is evidence of my ability to lead, to communicate clearly and to organise my work efficiently.

Travelling is one of my greatest pleasures.  I travelled through China this summer, constantly aware of the Economic development of the country, which prompted thoughts about how the new Chinese wealth should be used, for fair distribution within society or to fund further growth.  This has confirmed my plan to travel in Asia next year, to gain a sense of different cultures and particularly to explore how their economies vary, and so give substance to my theoretical knowledge.

I work hard and deeply love my subject, and am excited by the way it overlaps endlessly into other important areas of life and social organisation. I am totally committed to my goal and believe I have the necessary personal qualities and enthusiasm to become a very successful undergraduate.

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