Physics Personal Statement

Ever since I began to study physics, I have consistently received high grades. Likewise, I have always excelled in mathematics. However, whilst I am proud of my performance in these two subjects, my attachment to them goes much deeper than the satisfaction that I have gained from being awarded top marks in them.

On one level, the subjects provide me with a great intellectual satisfaction. Problem-solving is a deeply ingrained feature of my personality, and in my experience no subjects are as capable of providing problems whose solutions demand a combination of methodical thinking and spontaneous inspiration as mathematics and physics. Just as importantly, I never cease to be fascinated by how both physics and mathematics – the latter generally being perceived as an abstract discipline – can explain so much of the world around us. Indeed, I enjoy the inter-relation of these two disciplines. Mathematics provides the basic conceptual building blocks through which physics can be understood. In turn, the principles of physics can be witnessed in action in every aspect of life.

Although many areas of physics greatly interest me, if pushed to select a favourite I would choose electromagnetism. It fascinates me how this phenomenon can on the one hand produce effects that seem physically impossible, yet at the same time it is, aside from gravity, the most pervasive force in the world around us. From a more practical point of view, the scientific and technological advances that have come about as a result of our understanding of electromagnetism also captivate my imagination. Given my love of physics, it will perhaps come as no surprise that mechanics is the area of mathematics that most interests me. At the same time, however, I am also strongly interested in pure mathematics, in particular algebra.

A recent week of work experience at a hospital has further stimulated my interest in maths and physics. During the placement I was shown a variety of pieces of modern medical technology, such as MRI and CAT scanners. I was struck by how, at root, such devices have been made possible by discoveries that have been made in the pure sciences, which in turn have been given practical applications by applied researchers. Seeing the machines in action therefore gave me a sense of the way that maths and physics can be applied in the real world to make it a better place. Indeed, I hope that through my studies at university I will one day be able to make a similar contribution. At present, I am particularly interested in research into the technologies behind renewable energy, and would one day like to be involved in research in this field.

I like to balance my interests in science with a range of activities outside of the classroom. I have been working as a store assistant in a high-street clothes chain. The demands of the job, such as continually making sure the store is tidy and the displays are correctly stocked, have instilled a solid work ethic in me. Dealing with difficult customers has also developed my problem-solving skills and improved my patience. On a more enjoyable note, I recently completed the Duke of Edinburgh Gold award, which pushed me outside of my comfort zone and also allowed me to improve my teamwork skills. I am a sub-officer in the Girls’ Brigade. In this position I am responsible for the welfare of the girls, as well as for organizing the night activities that the group carries out. Whilst it is at times a challenging role, I enjoy the level of responsibility that it requires, and feel that it has also helped prepare me for various aspects of university life, such as being able to work in a group and relate to people from different backgrounds. Finally, I enjoy swimming, and recently achieved the bronze medallion award. I hope to make use of this qualification in the future to volunteer as a life guard.