Student profile: Stanislav

"Challenging, enthralling, rewarding"

About me

Name: Stanislav
Home town: Narua, Estonia
Course: MPhys
AS/A-level subjects: Maths/Physics/Russian/English/Estonian

Oxford Physics

Why did you choose to study Physics at university?

I have been quite successful in physics competitions and Olympiads in high school. So physics was not only something inherently enchanting and profound, but also something that I was very good at. I wanted to be better at the subject so a university course was in order.

What is the best thing about studying Physics at Oxford?

It’s hard to tell whether the fellow students or the faculty are more impressive! I have the privilege of being taught by incredible professors and being entitled to unparalleled personal attention to myself and my work in tutorials.

What do you find the most challenging aspect of studying Physics at Oxford?

Quite soon in the course I had to give up the notion of being ‘the best’ at physics, which I used to be in High school. There will always be someone better but this only made me study harder to make sure that I am on par!

What about tutorials?

In addition to the unprecedented levels of personal exposure to tutors, the flexibility of the system was incredible in my first year, I had 1 to 1 tutorials with one of the most brilliant physicists I have had the chance to know, we would spend five minutes on my work, and rest would be spent teaching me amazing stuff outside the syllabus! Where else if not Oxford!

And practical labs?

The practical labs made me visualise the equations that tended to only live on blackboards and gave me a great exposure to experimental techniques.


What topic in physics do you find the most interesting and why?

Theoretical Physics, and particularly high energy physics, especially the string theory aspects and the surprising connection to condensed matter physics and the so called Ads/CFT duality has fascinated me recently.

What topic in physics do you find the most challenging and why?

Theoretical physics is full of profound ideas whose discoverers must have been true geniuses. On the other hand it is also hard to be an experimentalist and account for all the pitfalls that real life prepares for your seemingly ideal experiment.

Oxford experience

What are your hobbies/interests outside of your course?

Involvement in organising the Estonian Physics Olympiad and helped organise the recent Int’l pho in Estonia. I love photography and like to dance to best of my ability; I recently picked up debating and enjoy it a lot.

Three words to explain your time at Oxford:


What do you hope to do after you graduate?

If I am successful with my applications I will be starting at Phd in theoretical physics really soon. If not the city is always looking for scientists, who knows what will happen. I do have a vision of teaching kids Olympiad level physics and seeing them in a national contest.

Applying to Oxford

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in applying to study Physics at Oxford?

Do not be put off by the rumours and prejudices, definitely do it that’s step 1. Then prepare for the interviews by doing past Oxford/British or other Nations Olympiad questions, these helped me a lot in my interviews.