Chemistry Personal Statement
Submitted by Anson
At age eight, my interest in chemistry books caught my teacher's attention which led him to contact the local grammar school, allowing me once a week to join in the GCSE Chemistry lessons and carry out practical work - an opportunity I've been grateful for. Seeing reactions first hand from the synthesis of nylon, to the colours of transition metals in their various oxidation states left me craving for more. These experiences led me to use chemistry sets to carry out my own experiments for fun. My interest had recently taken me to a university taster day as well as competing in the regional 2014 Chemistry Salters' Challenge, where my leadership and knowledge led my team to first and second place in two separate challenges.
Learning about the many topics and concepts of chemistry engages me and leaves me wanting to know the reasons and mechanisms behind them. A particular topic I've found interesting is retrosynthetic analysis: working backwards from complex organic molecules and breaking them down into simple precursors and steps. This is something I find amazing as it's a subtle reminder that even the most complex molecules can have simple beginnings. Recently having read online that a chemist documented his synthesis of Daraprim from ordinary household materials with this technique was an inspiration to me and for that reason, I would love to obtain more knowledge of chemistry in general, but also learn more about organic chemistry and novel synthesis.
I am particularly interested in the mathematical aspects of chemistry. It is hard not to admire beauty in the language of science: from proofs to complex numbers, A-level Maths has magnified my love for science. Computer Science has not only taught me how to code and solve problems logically, which would be important skills in a future scientific career, but it also has given me another perspective from which to look at chemistry. We are already seeing jobs being replaced by computers because of their efficiency and chemistry is no exception. Seeing computational chemistry in action on a university open day, the code and the calculations being displayed in real time showed me a combination of my interests. I would therefore like to learn and develop the required knowledge of theoretical or computational chemistry for this area as it will have a strong foothold in the future of the subject.
I have wanted to become a chemist involved in research and as such, I have experienced work at Systagenix, a biomedical research company. There, I assisted people in the laboratory and saw their work such as carrying out absorption tests and preparing agar samples with pathogenic bacteria. Seeing laboratory work done in a professional setting has opened my eyes and further developed skills required in the laboratory such as critical thinking. Alongside the skills I would develop in the final year of the degree, these experiences will be invaluable in a career in academic or industrial chemical research.
Wanting to give back to the community of which I am a part, I've volunteered at Oxfam and the BHF for 18 months in total, thus showing I am a reliable person and this has helped me develop communication skills. Having achieved a merit in Grade 7 Piano alongside volunteering and maintaining a high academic record shows that I can deal with high workloads and manage time effectively. I am looking forward to being accepted onto a Chemistry undergraduate programme to learn more about this vast subject and to join and interact with the scientific community. It has been a dream to contribute to our grand but incomplete knowledge of science.