How do we know with a hundred per cent certainty that something is the truth? Mathematics, a field where conjectures are logically proved and disproved, leads to accurate and rational theorems.
I moved from the peaceful and calm world of Bangkok to the busy and glamorous world of Mumbai when I was 14 years old. Though I used to visit this city every summer, living here was an entirely different experience. Reading has always been a favourite pastime of mine, whether the books were Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ or James Brown’s ‘The Philosophy of Mathematics’. Growing up as a younger child, whose older brother took more attention from both parents, it didn’t take me long to learn how to be self-reliant. I found an entirely new world in books. My avid enthusiasm for reading pushed me further into exploring mathematics to a whole new extent. Aditya, my elder brother, encouraged me to pursue my interest in mathematics. In spite of the fact that he was two years older than me, he never failed to involve me in all his activities, whether it was his homework or when it came to simply having fun.
I was encouraged to take courses that were beyond the level required and so I took my IGCSE mathematics a whole year early. I also successfully participated in UKMT’s math challenges. My IB extended essay is an analysis of Fermat’s Last Theorem in which I explore various proofs that have been previously provided and delve deeper into understanding the reason why the theorem remained unproven for over 300 years until 1994. Many people asked if I would have remained in Bangkok if I had the choice instead of moving to Mumbai due to the fact that I attended a bigger school with over 2500 students. Though I certainly enjoyed my life there, my answer is a definite no. The experiences that both Mumbai city and my school have given me are irreplaceable, be it the delicious spicy roadside food or the academic challenges I was urged to take on.
I had taken higher level mathematics in the International Baccalaureate and as mentioned above, my extended essay is also based on mathematics. I was also given the opportunity to take both AP Calculus exams though not a requirement at my school. All of these courses delve deeply into the subject and require me to think outside the box; to merge entirely into the problems thrown at me.
Recently, I was presented with a conditional offer to study at the University of Oxford for Mathematics as well as an unconditional offer at Brown University. This was an achievement that marked a milestone in my life and represented the level of mathematics that I was capable of. It came from strong study and research in the subject that was further cultivated not only through my hard work but also through the ability to connect this knowledge to the mystery of our world. In university, not only do I intend on pursuing my passion for this rational area of study but also I fully intend on exploiting the opportunities that either college or university have to offer and taking advantage of all the new experiences that are available for my picking. Both would open a world of opportunities, one which I endeavor to thoroughly explore!
Mathematics has infiltrated into every aspect of my life. No more was it a numerical and objective subject that was just taught in school. It became the reason behind the patterns that exist in our world but that most of us are usually ignorant about. For instance, shape of a snail was no more a random pattern but became a physical reality of the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence. Ian Stewarts in his book “Letter To A Young Mathematician” said “Just as you can recognize a chair but can’t define one in a manner that permits no exceptions, you will find that you can recognize mathematics when you see it, but you still can’t define it”. The irony that mathematics cannot be easily defined but is present is most aspects of our lives appealed to me greatly as did the irony that this indefinable subject came down to definite proofs and ideas.
The Pythagoras theorem became a passion three years ago when I read intensively on the mathematician himself and went in depth into the theorem. I began playing around with the numbers that are essential to the theory that initially started off as doodles on the sides of my notebooks, and which later developed into proofs and related equations. I elaborated on my work until I reached equations that allowed me to take the theorem a step further.
Mathematics has found a way to define this concept of infinity or eternal time. Something that itself means ‘endless’ or ‘elusive’ is used throughout various aspects of mathematics such as calculus. I enjoy learning how the world is justified through numbers that nearly everything is predetermined by mathematical probability. No one in this world knows everything; no one in this world is even close to knowing everything. Studying mathematics enables me to take one step closer to knowing an ‘absolute truth’.
A graphical representation of the mathematic formula known as the Fibonacci Sequence
Volume 2 Issue 1