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Graduate Personal Statement (oxford University)

My personal statement for MSc Mathematical Physics at Oxford University

Date : 28/03/2019

Muhammad Haider

Author Information

Uploaded by : Muhammad Haider
Uploaded on : 28/03/2019
Subject : Physics

Physics is an inescapable consequence of mankind`s innate curiosity to fathom the universe, from its provenance to its destiny. It transcends the barriers of scale, time and dimension, encompassing everything from quarks and leptons to the largest of galaxies, blurring the distinctions between past and future, surmounting the concept of simultaneity, and enabling us to peek into higher dimensions. The irony of studying physics is that the more we delve into it, the more significant the truth becomes and with each step closer to the truth, we experience the wondrous epiphany of just how insignificant we ourselves are on the scale of the universe. An even more intriguing aspect of this omnipresent discipline is its application to the real world. From healing joints and curing cancer to propelling technological hubs and driving economic engines of the world, physics remains a ubiquitous phenomenon. I have chosen this field to slake my appetite for imbibing physics in my intellect and improving mankind s understanding of the universe.

My proclivity for the subject conjoined with a competent academic profile and embellished with a distinction in astrophysics heralds me as an exceedingly auspicious candidate for this program. My application is further potentiated by the accolade of being chosen as the role model student in my course for 2016-17. A towering score of 165 out of 170 in GRE Quantitative Reasoning accentuates my numerical acuity and testifies my preparation for graduate study in physics. In addition to academics, my ardent involvement in extracurricular activities bespeaks my time-management and multitasking prowess and paints a holistic view of my personality. Having served as the International Students Officer, NUS Conference Delegate and Student Trustee at King s has lent profuse exuberance to my skill set with the endowment of interpersonal, presentation and communication skills, all of which are inherently germane to an aspiring physicist. As well as being an avid student, I am an impassioned teacher of the subject. I tutor A Level and high school students, imbuing them with a flair for physics and concomitantly honing my ability to explain complex concepts to a simple audience in layman terms. I am therefore confident in my abilities to become a befitting Teaching Assistant.

I have chosen to undertake two project-based courses in my final year of undergraduate study to afford me a taste of research and independent learning prior to commencing my graduate studies and to act as a springboard for a career in research. Both projects relate to different aspects of cosmological inflation. One of them entails an in-depth investigation into slow-roll inflation, how it solves the horizon and flatness problems in cosmology and the expected signature it may leave in the cosmic microwave background. The second one probes into the unprecedented accuracy of astrophysical data based on measurements of CMB from Planck and BICEP2 collaborations and involves a critical study of the models of inflation and their crude comparison with data. A particularly noteworthy aspect of these modules is that they involve the use of computer packages like LaTeX, Mathematica, and Python. Given the ever-increasing importance of computer skills in physics, ample exposure to these early on in my career makes me a standout among other applicants.

To keep myself abreast of the latest advancements in physics, I use resources from societies like Institute of Astronomy, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Royal Astronomical Society and The Stephen Hawking Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. I eagerly attend weekly seminars organized by Maxwell Society and CANES at King s and particularly enjoy presentations on inflationary paradigms, dark energy, and gravitational waves. I have participated in Telescope Sessions for Students organized by Professor Malcolm Fairbairn at King s and I have also had the privilege of watching the live streaming of the announcement of detection of gravitational waves by LIGO detectors in February 2016 which was organized by King s Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology Group. Award-winning books on cosmology like The Edge of the Sky: All you need to know about the All-There-Is authored by Imperial College London s Dr. Roberto Trotta and Wrinkles in Time authored by the Nobel laureate physicist Professor George Smoot along with physics-based space simulator software like Universe Sandbox rendered me brimming with inquisitiveness and compelled me to pursue graduate study in this field. A recent article published on 16th October 2017 by The Astrophysical Journal Letters piqued my curiosity, ushering a new era of astronomy by proclaiming the first ever multimessenger observation of a neutron-star merger. These findings, along with other monumental contemporary breakthroughs like detailed maps of the early universe by WMAP experimental team, have convinced me to envision myself working in a research institute and playing my part in defining this new epoch of astronomy.

To recapitulate, I am unshakeable in my conviction that the Mathematical Institute and Department of Physics at the University of Oxford are distinctly pertinent to achieving my ambitions. I trust that this particular course is resoundingly apropos to my career goals as it promises to establish a robust mathematical chassis upon which the fabric of physics can be elegantly furnished. With a cutting-edge faculty hosting interdisciplinary research and top-notch scientific facilities like Radcliffe Science Library, Whitehead Library, Clarendon Laboratory, STFC s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Beecroft Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (BIPAC), and Oxford Centre for Astrophysical Surveys, the department harbours dynamic world-leading research and an extraordinary tradition of scientific breakthroughs going back to Sir Martin Ryle , Stephen Hawking, Edmund Halley, Edwin Hubble, and others. The department s involvement in current projects like C-Band All Sky Survey (C-BASS), ACTPol, The Cosmic Background Imager (CBI), LHCb, LUX-ZEPLIN, Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, and SDSS-4 precisely align with my interests and are instrumental in reinforcing my commitment to study at University of Oxford. Specialized graduate courses like Beyond the Standard Model and Astroparticle Physics and Quantum Field Theory in Curved Space-Time offered by the department are particularly tantalizing and would afford me quantum leaps in advancing my research endeavors. Moreover, the perquisite of studying in a competitive environment alongside world s most intellectual student body which resonates well with my own rigorous way of learning would serve as an additional amplifying factor in impelling me to pursue my goals and would enable me to serve as an avant-garde contributor to this field.

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