Student profile: Marcello Solomon, Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics)

Read about Marcello's experience studying Science at Sydney so far!

Why did you choose to study Science at Sydney Uni?

I chose to study Science at Sydney because of all the great opportunities that there were for prospective students like myself. Sydney Uni stood out because not only did it offer challenging and creative projects in SSP (Special Studies Program) subjects, but there was also the TSP (Talented Student Program), which allowed me to meet other students with a passion for science like mine and work together in a practical environment.

Which course are you in, and why did you choose that course?

I am currently enrolled in my third year of a Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics). I chose this degree because it has great applications and teaches you to think. At the university level, maths is not about finding sizes of angles or calculating simple interest. Maths is about analysing a specific situation and coming up with a model to explain and/or solve a problem.

What have you been studying in your degree and have there been any topics/assignments/activities that have been particularly fun/interesting/challenging?
Marcello Solomon

The good thing about the Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics) is that it is flexible, and you are allowed to take subjects from other science areas. In my degree plan, I have also studied Chemistry, Physics and German. In fact, this year, I will be taking senior units of advanced chemistry, so if you are worried that you are only allowed to study maths in your third year, don't be.

SSP mathematics and SSP chemistry were both fun and challenging subjects. In SSP maths, we studied a mathematical model of cardiac arrhythmia, as well as 4D polytopes. We also undertook analysis of the circle of fifths and fractals. In SSP chemistry, we would have additional seminars in 2nd year on reaction kinetics, Palladium catalysts and the chemistry of fluorine. The best however, would have been the first year Sydona project in SSP chemistry. As part of our chemistry lab work, we made unknown coordination complexes and then had to determine what we had made through qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Is there a science subject/topic that you are particularly interested in or passionate about and why?

I have always been interested in coordination complexes. Not only do they have the most beautiful colours because of their electronic transitions, but they have a real potential in medicinal chemistry to help in the fight against diseases. By coordinating the right ligands to the coordination sphere, these complexes can act to target abnormal cells in the body and deliver substances to combat this abnormality.

Are you part of any clubs/societies/talented student programs and what are your experiences with them?

Throughout uni, I have been involved in the TSP, and have undertaken two projects over university. One was as part of the TSP showcase where, as a group, we researched widely into the carbon carriers of the interstellar medium. In my second year, I undertook with the Rendina lab group an individual research project into the properties of boronated terpyridine platinum coordination complexes, and their viability as potential anti cancer agents. The TSP has been an incredible experience as it has allowed me to undertake real research with real academics and PhD students.

Away from the lab and lecture theatre, I am a Faculty of Science volunteer, and help out with some of the events run by our Faculty. For example, the Science Transition Workshop and some of the School programs. I am also an O-Week volunteer, working behind the scenes with the clubs and societies and to help any new students that may be lost as they begin their university studies.

Finally, I am a member of SciSoc, SUMS (maths) and ChocSoc.

What do you feel are the main differences between high school and uni? Was it hard or easy to make new friends and get settled in?

The main difference between school and uni is definitely the way the classes are structured. Yes, you still have a teacher at the front of the class, but you are listening and taking notes. You have tutorials, where you are doing work as you would in a normal high school class. Your labs are completely different though. You have longer and more interesting labs than in high school, and your timetable is a lot more spread out.

Making new friends will depend on you personally. If you come to uni with a big group of high school friends, you're less likely to make new friends because you already see familiar faces in classes. Don't be afraid to say hello to the people you sit next to in tutorials and lectures, and don't be afraid to talk to the person that is standing by themselves waiting for the lecture to go in. Everybody will be as nervous as you are during the first weeks.

What are your top 3 highlights of the uni experience so far?
  1. Meeting a wide range of people over a diverse number of faculties and having a great variety of interests - you learn the most interesting things
  2. Studying and learning in the great grounds. It is hard not to be impressed by the 150 year history of our university
  3. Working behind the scenes to see how the big events, such as open day and O-Week are coordinated and run
Is there anything else you’d like to add, to give future students an insight into the Sydney science experience or uni in general?

Do not be afraid to get out there and get involved. Sydney University has one of the richest and most diverse university lifestyles. While you may study by day, in between you can pursue other experiences that the uni has to offer and gain valuable insight and experience for down the track.