From a young age, I developed a fascination with mathematics through numbers and how they interacted with each other at an elementary level – whether it be through adding, subtracting, or multiplying. In hindsight, this appears to be quite a dull reason to start liking mathematics, but when I was younger I absolutely loved this process, especially with multiplication and the challenging seven times tables.

Fast forwarding a number of years, and I was introduced to the concept of an algebraic equation. A simple example is x + 5 = 7, which has solution x = 2. This simple notion of an algebraic equation helped to further cement my interest in mathematics, by generalizing the interactions between numbers – which, as highlighted earlier has always been a fascination of mine.

Now, in the last couple of years I’ve extended on these fundamental concepts even further in courses on algebra, and to a lesser extent, on real analysis. Even though these are second year courses in tertiary education, most of the ideas prominent in these courses loosely relate back to how numbers interact with each other. The idea that these newer, more advanced concepts relate back to something I’ve always been fascinated in illustrates the different connections across mathematics. This notion of connections is one of the key reasons I love mathematics, as it makes most new concepts feel intuitive and satisfying at the same time when related back to what I already know.

However, if I had to pinpoint my enjoyment for mathematics into a singular reason – I’d say it’s for the challenge and satisfaction. Personally, I love grinding away at challenging problems, sometimes even for hours on end to get a solution. During this process, I more often than not utilize problem solving skills I have developed throughout my education, which I feel is a rewarding and satisfying process to go through!

Currently, I am going into my third year of Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Advanced) degree at the University of Adelaide, majoring in pure and applied mathematics. I hope to continue to pursue my mathematical career, by obtaining a master’s degree, then hopefully a PHD in the near future.

Tyson Rowe