My interest in Mathematics initially developed when I began to consider how a set of well-defined points on a plane could be described by a single equation. It was clear that a curve could be drawn through the set of points but， as my knowledge was limited in Year 10， I had to pursue my own research to learn how to deduce the equation of such a curve. Since then， I have come to appreciate how the many diverse topics in Maths are connected， such as the relationship between number theory and cryptography， as explained in Marcus du Sautoy’s ‘Music of the Primes’. I find the prospect of understanding such succinct theories， which can be applied in many industries， as well as forming new ones through extensive research， very exciting in today’s ever advancing society.
The topic to have engaged me the most at A-level has been differentiation. It is centred on the idea of limits， which relates directly to infinity and infinitesimals. I first read about Cantor’s continuum hypothesis in Clegg’s ‘A Brief History of Infinity’， and my understanding of infinity has evolved since then. The paradoxes associated with infinity and all the counter-intuitive arguments put forward about infinity motivate me to study infinity in detail， and I therefore look forward to the intriguing courses on analysis.
‘It may be very hard to define mathematical beauty， but that is just as true of beauty of any kind’ – Hardy in ‘A Mathematician’s Apology’. I agree with Hardy， for I feel that mathematical beauty is inexpressible and yet so common. However， I believe that Maths at school level has lost its beauty， as there is not enough emphasis on the proofs of theorems and the focus lies in the end result of a theorem instead. My opinion is that they are equally important， as one cannot exist without the other： you cannot classify something as a theorem unless it has a proof and you cannot have a proof unless it leads to a theorem. However， I have only come across beautiful Maths in proofs and I therefore look forward to the rigorous approach of being taught Maths at university level， which gives more importance to understanding. Currently， I find some stimulation in attending weekly extension Maths lessons， covering topics that go beyond the regular A-Level syllabus， such as Euclid’s algorithm， the Fibonacci sequence， the continuum hypothesis and proof by induction.
Maths has been a vital tool in innumerable disciplines， such as programming， medical imaging and code breaking， for thousands of years. I attended a lecture on ‘How Mathematics Drives Computing’ at Imperial College， where a lecturer explained how he was able to contribute significantly to airline scheduling via his PhD research work. Such constant evolution and innovation in Maths， with its potential as an instrument of solving problems and progressing society， attracts me greatly. In my spare time， I write Internet articles frequently on programming techniques， such as image scaling and collision detection， to which over 50 people are subscribed. Moreover， I have received a prize for a project I developed myself.
I am a School Prefect， which has enhanced my leadership skills. I participate in inter-school hockey matches as part of our School’s team， and I have practised the art of Taekwondo since I was ten years old. I find Bridge interesting and have represented my School in various competitions. I have also been playing the drums for four years. Furthermore， I attend the J S Mill Society， where issues of politics and economics are discussed.
Sophistication， precision and the axiomatic approach of mathematics have always appealed to me and I hope to appreciate their efficacy to an even greater extent at university.