FOR most of us, giving a simple explanation of quantum mechanics would be a challenge too far.
However, in an essay 17-year-old Thomas Shaw wrote about the many theories of quantum mechanics ‘while arguing it was unjust for the word ‘Science’ to be followed by the definite article’.
His 2,000-word entry into the Pembroke North Essay competition saw him invited to an online celebration of the brightest young minds in the region.
Thomas entered the competition after hearing about it through Priestley College’s Graduate programme, which is designed to improve students’ chances of securing places at the UK’s top universities.
“I found the event interesting and I particularly enjoyed being able to ask questions to students surrounding life on campus within the current COVID-19 restrictions,” said Thomas, who studies A-Level Biology, Chemistry and Maths.
The competition – run by Pembroke College, Oxford – aims to support and inspire the next generation of undergraduates as they consider their university choices.
Essays are marked by postgraduates, with feedback provided to all participants.
Thomas, a former Cardinal Newman Catholic School pupil, entered the science category tackling the subject of quantum mechanics – the fundamental theory in physics that provides a description of the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles.
The online celebration covered Oxford admissions as well as a lecture from Peter Claus, who is the access fellow at Pembroke, who discussed the history of Eugenics.
“Although I didn’t win the prize I was able to further develop my writing style in anticipation of completing my Extended Project as well as gain a deeper understanding about quantum mechanics, this led to further reading surrounding quantum biology since the essay was written,” he said.
Ian Hughes, who helps students at Priestley who are aiming for the UK’s most competitive universities, said Thomas was on his way to achieve his goal of studying Chemistry at Oxford.
“The dedication, knowledge and skills he has shown in producing this essay proves he has the calibre to achieve whatever he sets his heart on,” he said.