Astrophysics and Physics
Author: Olivier Restuccia
Applied in: Winter 2013
University Offers: Exeter, Warwick
It is clear to me that Physics is the future: we will always discover some new fascinating phenomenon and whatever it is, it will always require an explanation. This future will not be confined to one particular country and will therefore require international cooperation, providing the opportunity to work or study in a melting-pot of cultures, and being French myself whilst having been born in England I have experienced this sort of melding of cultures all my life. I want to be able to contribute to this future to the best of my ability, and therein lies my interest in Physics. During the two term long science research projects I did last year, I saw first-hand the benefits Physics can have on everyday lives. I decided to do my project on the bionic retina, a device that uses special glasses, batteries and electrodes to return sight to the blind. I chose this subject because I had only ever heard of such things in futuristic television shows and I was astonished to learn such a device had become reality. I realised the monumental impact that physics can have on the most basic aspects of our lives, and that when used correctly you can achieve things you previously thought impossible, such as giving a blind person their sight back. I want to continue researching and developing my skills in Physics so that one day I can bring one such change to people's lives. I realise that accomplishing this will not be easy and I am fully prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve this goal. Working for a continued period of time on just one project taught me, not only the tenacity which is essential to all research, but that I am always determined to master that which I previously lacked, not allowing myself to leave anything to the unknown, hence my attraction to the sciences.
Astrophysics, in particular Black holes is an area which has in particular spiked my interests; we know how a black hole functions but many things about these singularities are as of yet unknown. During a recent Horizon programme on Black holes, what I found most fascinating was that the scientists were going to study something completely new; a cloud of gas was about to enter the event horizon of a black hole and this is something that has never been seen before. These professors and researchers were going to be the first people to see something unlike anything ever seen before, and that is exactly what I hope to achieve with the help of physics; to either encounter or do something that no one has ever seen or done before. My fascination for physics is for the most part due to the various novels I have read, and being an avid reader, I have been able to pursue my passion of physics through the intermediary of science fiction, and more than once I found myself thinking that it really would be astounding if the things I was reading about one day became reality and I see no reason why I should not try and make it so.
During the Olympics in 2012, I volunteered with British airways at Park Live in the Olympic Village for a week, greeting spectators that came to watch the Games; during this week I developed my people skills and experienced what it is to be part of something as important and worldwide as the Olympic Games. Both my science projects and my volunteering have taught me to value teamwork and see the real potential a concentrated group effort can have. My physics classes made me realise to what extent physics plays an integral part in controlling the aspects of everyday life, influencing everything that happens around us without exception, such as why when we lean too much to one side of a rowing boat we capsize being due to bad weight distribution and an equally bad sense of balance (with the inevitable physical soaking for all involved).
Therefore, I fervently wish to be able to contribute to our understanding of these occurrences we feel and witness every day, and I see a physics degree as being the best possible way to achieve this.