Elyse Rogers - MMath (year 3)
The process gave me with a number of interesting and exciting outcomes in a variety of areas.
My current experience as a student within the Mathematics department has led me to the conclusion that I may wish to embark upon further studies after my Masters degree with a view to completing a PhD. In order to experience the style of research and environment that I would encounter in undertaking these studies, I felt that a summer research project on `Gravitational collapse in General Relativity’ within the Mathematics department would provide me with the most realistic scenario.
The process gave me with a number of interesting and exciting outcomes in a variety of areas. The opportunity to interact with the university faculty on a one-to-one basis gave me more insight into the number of approaches to research mathematical problems. My research supervisor not only provided support in the completion of the project, but also allowed me to pursue associated areas of interest within the mathematical arena as we encountered them. This led to a much broader learning area and helped stimulate my curiosity regarding other topics of Mathematics surrounding Differential Geometry.
Although mathematics will usually provide you with a high degree of certainty, working at this level has shown me that this is not always the case. It is sometimes the journey towards an uncertain answer that provides the most reward. Whilst this area of work can be very taxing, it can also be the most interesting.
Tackling unknown areas of Mathematics on your own is probably the most challenging aspect of this type of project. It is necessary to open your mind to a vast number of possibilities and using the mathematical tools that you have already been taught, find approaches for yourself to arrive at probable solutions to scenarios that you have never before encountered. It is the discussion of these solutions, and the defence of your hypothesis with your supervisor that are by far the most rewarding aspects of the project.
In my opinion anyone interested in further studies in the area of Mathematics, particularly those who may wish to undertake any doctoral studies, this type of project would be invaluable if not essential as a stepping stone within their chosen career path.