Physics Personal Statement*
Submitted by Rachel
I have a passion for problem-solving which is my main reason for wanting to study Physics. For me, astrophysics is of particular interest fueled by wider research such as documentaries. A talk at the Leicester Space Centre about Pluto gave me the chance to use the maths of Barycentres to show that Charon is not a moon and is part of a binary system with Pluto. Studying physics is the next logical step in developing my knowledge and I am excited to explore the answer to questions that have always intrigued me.
During my A-Level physics course I have found that I really enjoy the quantum theory topic, mind-blowing aspects made me eager to learn more about the matter by reading books such as ‘Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You’ by Marcus Chown showing me about the possibilities of quantum computers. Physics, along with chemistry, has helped to develop my practical skills especially in how to present and analyse data.
I also love working through difficult maths problems especially when applied to real-life scenarios such as calculating how heavy a load a bridge can handle using moments and resolving. My love for problems and my ability to solve them has increased through A level maths and by taking part in the Maths Challenge for the past 7 years and the Maths Olympiad for Girls. A level maths has also taught me the importance of laying out work clearly so that others can understand your concepts and follow through your work.
This summer I carried out a week of work experience with the physics department at the University of Nottingham. I undertook a research project on cold atoms and gave a presentation to academics and parents. This showed me how to adapt information for a wide audience with differing levels of understanding of the topic, along with improving my presentation skills. I also learnt how to create an academic poster, in particular, focusing on how to identify relevant information. As part of this process, I visited the labs, which fascinated me, as I got to interview PhD students and academics working on various experiments to do with cold atoms.
Attending summer schools at Exeter and Warwick has also given me a taste of what to expect from university life in social and academic aspects. At Exeter, in teams, we were given a design challenge to do with Archimedes principle to create a cardboard boat and sail it across a swimming pool. I enjoyed this as it showed me how to apply equations to real life situations and gave me an experience as working as a team using physics. I attended lots of different lectures at both universities which I found fascinating. In particular, I learnt about the life cycle of stars and more specifically gamma-ray bursts, which I had previously never heard of, as well as taking on difficult maths questions such as working out the resulting velocity of an outgoing shock wave from an exploding star.
In my spare time I have started to teach myself the basics of python as I believe coding is the language of the future and I have managed to code a meal calculator. I'm a young leader at a Brownie Pack and I am currently running the science badge, this has meant I have been able to share my love of science and to try to inspire future generations. My time in Girl Guiding has enabled me to develop my organization and teamwork skills which will become increasingly important throughout a physics course. Playing the violin since I was 8 years old has helped me to learn to balance my education with extracurricular activities which will be a vital skill when studying at university.
Physics at university will give me the opportunity to enhance my understanding of the physical sciences and it will suit me well as I am a well-organized student and have a lot of passion for the subject.