Mathematics with physics degree personal statement example (1g) Cambridge, Manchester offers

This is a real personal statement written by a student for their university application. It might help you decide what to include in your own. There are lots more examples in our collection of sample personal statements. 



My mind is constantly occupied by the physical and mathematical puzzles that I see in the world around me. Beyond finding solutions, I enjoy exploring problems and the questions they raise. The more I learn, the more I am gripped by physics, and much of my free time is spent reading about established theories and ongoing research. Mathematics is inextricably linked to physics, and I find it astonishing that the same mathematics used for basic counting can be used to describe how the universe works.

As such, I am driven to take a course that will give me a deep understanding of physics whilst also allowing me to learn about more ideas in mathematics. I am fascinated by the physics underlying everyday phenomena, and was excited that my Nuffield Research Placement at Nottingham Trent University concerned the formation of ice spikes.

Knowing that experiments are essential for validating and refining scientific theories, I used this opportunity to strengthen my practical skills, independently designing experiments to quantify the effect of dissolved carbon dioxide on spike growth. I built a simple mathematical model based on the Bally-Dorsey description, and have ideas on how to extend this to better predict spike formation, which could be important given its potential relevance to climate change. Despite my passion for mesoscopic physics, abstract concepts also amaze me.

The explanation of relativity in 'Why does E=mc^2?' by Cox and Forshaw made me keen to learn more about the advanced mathematics and physics required to understand the ideas fully. Clegg's book 'The Quantum Age' explained the effect that quantum theory has had on society, from LEDs to MRI scanners, and made me realise the importance of pure physics for opening up new paths in applied science. I was excited to read a related article in 'Nature' about a new superconductor which operates at -70 deg C. This was achieved using high pressure, limiting practical applications at this stage, but this discovery could have big implications for the future of the field.

Earlier this year at the Particle Physics Masterclass at UCL, I had the exciting opportunity to analyse particle collisions from ATLAS. We were taught about the structure of the detector and I was able to pose questions that I had often pondered to researchers with direct knowledge of the subject. When I was younger I learned about the Konigsberg Bridge problem reading "1089 and All That" by Acheson, and graph theory is currently my favourite maths topic as I enjoy the logical steps involved in understanding and creating algorithms. I enjoy challenging problems and cannot let a problem go until I have got to the bottom of it, as such I am an active member of the online maths community "Brilliant".

I am keen to share my passion for physics and enjoy summarising scientific articles into an accessible format for the school physics noticeboard, which I update weekly as physics ambassador. Among other things, this role involves mentoring GCSE Physics students throughout the year. I arrange science activities at Brownies, allowing the girls to explore topics such as astronomy and magnetism without the pressures of a school environment. My studies at and beyond school have allowed me to appreciate the physics and maths in all that I do.

I am an elite acrobat having competed nationally many times. In training, I am constantly aware of the mechanics involved and how it can be manipulated to improve skills, and my EPQ is entitled "Do people with long legs make better acrobats?". The union of practical physics and complex maths makes mechanics very interesting to me, as it is the perfect example of maths being applicable to real life.

I believe that the combination of an inquisitive mind, a creative approach to problem solving and a hard-working attitude will make me well suited to a career in research, through which I aspire to have a positive impact on society.

Universities Applied to:

University of Cambridge (Maths (with Physics)) - Offer (A*A*A; 1,1 in STEP II, III) Firm

University of Manchester (Mathematics and Physics) - Offer (A*A*A) Insurance

University of Birmingham (Physics (International Study)) - Offer (A*AA)

University College London (Physics) - Offer (AAA)

University of Bristol (Physics with Study in Continental Europe) - Offer (AAA)

Grades Achieved:

Mathematics (A2) - A*

Further Mathematics (A2) - A*

Physics (A2) - A*

French (AS) - A

Chemistry (AS) - A