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MSc Organic Chemistry, UK, Isomerism

Every time I learn something new in chemistry I become motivated to discover more, continually finding new aspects interesting. Advancing always, chemistry is ever changing the way we live in our society and in our environment, influencing what toothpaste we use to how water is filtered. In one hour we range from talking about something as small as an electron to the grand scale manufacturing of titanium. This diversity is one of the many reasons why I like chemistry and wish to study it at university.

Most aspects of chemistry appeal to me, and I have found organic chemistry particularly interesting. Studying mechanisms of reactions and discovering more in depth about how electrons and intermolecular forces play a part has intensified my desire to learn more about reactions in general. Currently, my favourite topic is optical isomerism and its uses in the pharmaceutical industries, as it has shown me how theory can be applied. I enjoyed the topic so much that I researched beyond the syllabus into drugs, such as Thalidomide and Dopamine, eventually presenting my findings to the class. Other forms of isomerism are also of interest to me; it has been intriguing to see how different structures can lead to different reactions, especially in the study of the oxidation of alcohols into aldehydes or ketones.

Distinguishing between aldehydes and ketones has so far been my favourite practical session, as the silver mirror produced is difficult to obtain and so it was rewarding when mine turned out successfully. Other practical work has also been satisfying, as it has made me realise how careful planning and accurate measuring is of vital importance. I am looking forward to improving my practical skills at university, expanding on my ability to analyse data and evaluate experiments.

I have enjoyed studying mathematics this year, both within chemistry and outside of it, and so have opted to pursue Further Mathematics to AS Level whilst studying for my A2s. My additional mathematical skills and understanding will benefit my studies enormously, as chemistry involves many quantitative principles. My other A Level is History which allows me to express myself more creatively and forces me to form concise arguments, generally developing my writing skills. My interest in debating led me to participate in the Mock UN Debate in November 2006, allowing me to incorporate my interest in science as we talked about issues such as global warming and nuclear weapons. Once again this made me realise what role chemistry has in our society, consolidating my belief that chemistry is the subject for me.

Elected to represent both my form in our School's Council and my school at Liverpool Schools' Parliament, I have always taken an active interest in school life. With the Parliament I visited the European Union in Strasbourg and participated in the 50th anniversary celebrations with students of over twenty different nationalities. The activities that I took part in at the European Union allowed me to gain confidence in speaking in front of large groups and also benefited my team-working skills. I enjoy mountain walking and skiing, and have found that the outdoor skills gained during xxxxxxx have furthered this particular hobby.

My enthusiasm and work ethic will allow me to gain a lot from university, both from my degree and from university life itself. Keeping an open mind about career options, I am in no doubt that the skills that I will acquire through studying for a chemistry degree will allow me to make the most of future opportunities.

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