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I have always been fascinated by science since I was small, but only recently have I rediscovered the meaning behind it. Humans are driven by curiosity and the desire to know more about the world and beyond pushed our civilisation to what it is today. Being a scientist means that I learn from the mistakes from the people in the past and using what they have discovered to realise new things, being a student of Latin in A-level, I realise the importance of language in our society across time, the treasure of recorded scientific writings makes it irrelevant for us to ponder questions that have once been thought of and solved. Instead we are able to use our limited time to think about new and profound questions that our ancestors could even never have thought about. The field of science means for me the continued exploration of the world, using foundations that have been built to construct new and revised foundations for the future generation.
I recently understood the theory that explains why water only freezes below 0℃, after reading the chapter on ‘Why Chemical Reactions Happen?’ By Keeler & Wothers, I learned that it is governed to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as is everything else in the Universe. The heat that is released when water freezes must provide enough increase in entropy in the surroundings to compensate for the decrease of entropy in the water for the process to take place. And the entropy increase could only be big enough when the temperature of the surrounding is >273K, because releasing heat to a colder surrounding increases its entropy more than releasing heat to a hotter surrounding. At 273K or below, the entropy increase in the surrounding plus the entropy decrease in the system is >0, therefore it is allow by the Second Law of Thermodynamics: The entropy of the Universe can never decrease over time. This inspired me to always be curious, because even things that happen everything and seem the most conventional could have a much more complex theory behind it than most people think.
I seize every opportunity to attend events that relate to Chemistry in order to deepen my understanding in- and outside of the A-level syllabus. Recently I took part in a IR spectroscopy workshop where I learnt to analysis the composition of organic compounds with the results I got after learning to use the IR spectrometer. I learnt about the usage of MS including that we could do it with the whole of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to gamma rays.
I also have taken part in a 3-day-trip to the University of Bristol, where I had a chance to extract and synthesis chemicals such as Benzocaine and Caffeine. I really enjoyed using the equipment that I haven’t seen before, one of which is the Rotary Evaporator. It also provided insights regarding how studying chemistry at university is really like, the type of work involved and the environment in which I will spend the majority of my time during the degree.
I am a part of the school’s Mendeleev Society and have a chance to do the C3L6 past papers which not only prepared me for the actual challenge but also developed my critical thinking skills, and taught me to think carefully about organic reactions, and allowed me to learn more outside of the syllabus for example the factors that determine the stability of a carbanion and effects of surrounding functional groups have on the reaction pathways.
I have taken part in the Chemistry Olympiad and received a Bronze certificate, a result that I thought could be improved. After seeking help from teachers and spending much of my free time learning to approach questions logically and solving it step-by-step I tried again in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge in June and successfully acquired a Gold certificate, which I am very happy with.
My role as a House Captain helps me develop my communication skills while working with other people in my house. I learnt to become more responsible and to act as a role model for younger students.
I enjoy playing team-based computer games outside of school as a serious hobby, and this has helped me realise the importance of teamwork and how to communicate effectively with other people in order to achieve a common goal.
I hope to earn a place in the course and place myself at the forefront of scientific research and discovery, I know that my curiosity will drive me to never stop questioning, to perform to the best of my ability and to always challenge myself in my studies.
9th September 2018