Wolverhampton Girls' High School, University of Birmingham
GCSEs (inc. Maths, Statistics, IT, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography), A Levels (Maths, Further Maths, Physics; Geology AS), Master's Degree (Mathematics MSci)
Consultant (Mechatherm International Ltd.), Student Mentor (University of Birmingham), PMO Analyst (Accenture), Applicant Visit Day Student Ambassador (University of Birmingham)
DPhil (PhD) Student, and Mathemagician
University of Oxford, in collaboration with the US Army Corps of Engineers – Coastal & Hydraulics Laboratory, and HR Wallingford
I'm an Applied Mathematics DPhil (PhD) Student, and Mathemagician at the University of Oxford. I'm disabled, and use she/her pronouns. Feel free to ask me any questions!
I live in Oxford with my partner, who’s a mechanical engineer. Sadly no real dogs yet, but I do own far too many stuffed and Lego ones 🐶 My lockdown series have included the new Space Force, and Rick & Morty, as well as working my way through the classic Disney films, original Pokemon series, and New Scooby-Doo Movies again.
How I Use Maths In My Job:
I use all sorts of maths to do research – although fewer actual numbers than you might think! Differentiation, algebra, functions, and trigonometry are really important, and so are fractions, geometry, graphs, units, percentages, ratio and proportion. My first research paper was entirely about finding roots of quintic equations (like solving quadratic equations, but with x^5). I also use a lot of numerical methods, and I code, mostly in Matlab, C++, and/or Python.
I make simulations of all sorts of things to learn more about them, like how best to generate and remove waves in a warehouse-sized tank full of water.
My full DPhil title is “Industrially Focused Mathematical Modeller” – I use the skills I learned at school to simulate/model real world problems. Examples of this include looking at how best to cover a biscuit in chocolate, figuring out which materials we should use to improve lithium-ion batteries (like the one in your phone that runs out of charge too quickly), and getting sound back from silent videos.
At the moment, my time is divided (pun intended) between my DPhil thesis – which involves researching how to remove/absorb waves generated in water – and keeping pace with Coronavirus – simulating how it spreads between people and how it acts inside the body.
My Typical Day
I'm a night owl (or permanently exhausted pigeon), so I prefer to get to work late and stay late. I get in in time for 11am coffee (and cake on Mondays), and then start easy by checking my emails. I tend to split the rest of my day between doing research, meeting with my supervisors, and going to lectures.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I got my mental maths skills from my Dad, and I had some great teachers who supported my interest in maths from primary school onwards. But from there I didn't know what I wanted to do as a career, I just kept on doing what I liked and what I was good at.
What's your favourite use for maths in everyday life?
The weird and wonderful things, like the Mathematics of Cake Cutting, or writing the Simpsons.
What did you think about Maths when you were in school?
Maths was my favourite subject, initially because I was good at mental arithmetic.
What did you want to be after you left school?
A maths consultant - using mathematics to solve problems for other companies/organisations.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Once - I got the blame for a 3ft oil fire accidentally started by my friend and oven partner in food tech!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Stay at home dog mum is a paid job, right?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Currently getting through a lot of Panic! and FOB.
What's your favourite food?
Chocolate (Dairy Milk).
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Go to Disney World!
Tell us a joke.
A farmer counted 9 cows in his field, but when he rounded them up he had 10.