The OxNet Science programme draws on the world-class research and expertise of academics at the University of Oxford and our other partner institutions to provide participants with an insight into what it is like to study a STEM subject at undergraduate-level. The programme is broad in focus, covering not only academic scientific and mathematic content, but also focusing on the skills that are required at this level such as coding, researching, and an awareness of ethical issues. 

To apply for the Science course, there are two steps. Both of these are compulsory.

1) Fill in this application form

2) Complete the task below. This should be submitted to by midnight on the 8th of November 2021. Late submissions will not be considered.

The OxNet Science programme explores how mathematical modelling and data processing underpins a wide range of scientific disciplines, including (but not limited to!) engineering, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, medicine and zoology. For admission into the programme, we would like you to demonstrate your interest and engagement in this area by: 


a) Identifying a natural phenomenon that interest you, that has been studied and then quantitatively described using a mathematical model. 

b) Describe the mathematical approach used to construct the model. This could include either a complete or partial set of the main equations, or a careful description of the model’s underlying principles, explaining how different elements of the calculation can affect each other. 

c) Discuss how successful the model has been, paying careful attention to its assumptions. Consider both strengths and weaknesses (no model is perfect and we can learn a lot sometimes from understanding why a model might be terrible!). 


Examples of phenomena you could consider include neuronal firing, effects of environmental changes on animal populations, vaccine efficacy, climate change, effects of electric vehicles on the grid, safety of critical infrastructure, the forces holding a nucleus together, or the principles behind a chemical reaction. 


Your submission should be on A4 paper with 2cm margins on all sides in size 11 font, must be no longer than two sides. You must include at least one clearly labelled diagram that introduces the reader to the model. 


Any references do not contribute to the page count (so if you wish to include references, these can go on an optional page 3). 


You should structure your submission to ensure that you have addressed all three parts, a-c, above, taking care to describe the key mathematical elements that underpin the model.