By James Koussas, La Trobe University
Prior to the first year of my degree I was more interested in physics than mathematics. At the time, mathematics seemed like a natural subject to study on the side while pursuing physics rather than something I should focus the majority of my attention on. My view on both mathematics and physics shifted dramatically during the first three semesters of my degree. I was introduced to a number of fascinating topics in my mathematics subjects that overshadowed the content that was covered in my physics subjects. Because of this, I lost interest in studying physics, and I decided I should focus more on mathematics.
The vast majority of the topics I was exposed to in high school mathematics are typically applied in the physical sciences. In my first year of university, I was introduced to a number of areas of mathematics that have applications in other fields, such as computer science and electronics. For example, results from graph theory can be applied in many problems related to computer science, and the need to solve graph theoretic problems computationally has lead to developments within computer science. Boolean algebras also have applications in computer science, and results in the theory of Boolean algebras can be used to simplify basic circuits in electronics. The wide range of applications of mathematics played a major role in motivating me to study mathematics.
During the first two years of my degree I also became very fond of pure mathematics. The wonderful results and proofs covered in the real analysis and abstract algebra subjects I studied in this period inspired me to complete a major in mathematics and sparked my interest in topology and universal algebra. Graph theory, Boolean algebra, topology and universal algebra form the basis of the topic I chose to study in my vacation research project and the topic I would like to study during my honours degree. I look forward to learning more about these areas as well as other areas of mathematics in the future.
James Koussas was one of the recipients of a 2016/17 AMSI Vacation Research Scholarship.