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By Lachlan Tyrrell, Queensland University of Technology 

I love mathematics. Maths is somehow miraculous and beautiful despite being perfectly logical. I understand that not everyone feels this way about it, but I can’t help but find beauty and elegance in theorems and techniques of calculus, or in techniques in algebra. The feeling you get when some part of a difficult proof just ‘clicks’ and you understand. It feels fantastic.

Having said that, maths wasn’t really on my radar back in school. I did well and enjoyed it, but I hadn’t even considered studying it further or going into a career in it. I finished high school and went straight into studying something else: physics. Now I like physics, but as I spent two years studying it at university, doing a variety of majors and trying to work out why I couldn’t decide on a major that I really liked, I realised something. My favourite part of physics was the maths. My favourite subjects had been calculus and differential equations. I enjoyed the physics subjects which had more mathematical rigour and complexity, over conceptually more difficult units.

Of course, once I did realise this I made the easy choice: I needed to do more maths. I had to leave my home and move to Brisbane so that I could finally get to what I should’ve been doing all along. And that choice has been vindicated repeatedly. Studying mathematics has been fantastic and so enjoyable for me so far and I cannot wait to do more. Learning is fun, just in general. But learning about a subject that you are genuinely invested in, and expanding your knowledge about something that is really interesting is better than that. I get to spend my time doing something I love.

Over this summer, getting to do further mathematical learning has just reinforced the realisation that I made years ago. Mathematics was the correct choice. It is exactly what I want to do and exactly where I want to be. I now look at math, look at the beauty it can hold and convey, and I know that I will want to do this for a long time. I cannot foresee a time where this incredible field does not still fill me with wonder and that’s exciting. The scope available in the field of mathematics is also so huge; there are a myriad or concepts and techniques just waiting for me. I can’t wait to do more.


Lachlan Tyrrell was one of the recipients of a 2015/16 AMSI Vacation Research Scholarship.