I am thrilled to have been voted the winner of the I’m a Mathematician Line Zone and would like to thank all the students that chose me!
The I’m a Mathematician platform presents a great opportunity for both students and mathematicians. I have gained lots of practice in articulating what I do, have been challenged to think more broadly about maths and have definitely gotten faster at typing to keep up with all the questions in the live chats! The other mathematicians that participated were from such diverse areas of mathematics and it was really interesting to learn about what they do.
I was incredibly impressed with the thoughtful, intelligent, and well-articulated questions that were asked and I was kept on my feet throughout. I enjoyed answering questions about the maths that I do (such as, “how do I use maths to learn about asthma?”, “what is coding?”, and, “what is the hardest maths I have ever done?”), as well as questions about education and careers (such as, “what advice would I give for studying for GCSE/A levels?”, “what is the path I have taken to get to do a PhD?”, and, “who/what inspired me to become a mathematician?”).
I was also asked lots of great personal questions about my favourite animals, food, sport, avenger etc., what my hobbies are, and what I do for fun. I think that these questions are just as important in order to break down the stereotype that mathematicians are boring and don’t know how to have fun!
Not only did I enjoy chatting to the students and answering their questions, but I also learnt a lot. Being near the end of a PhD, the maths that I do is extremely focussed on a narrow area within my specific research topic (modelling asthmatic airways). Being asked questions about asthma as a disease in general, the treatments available and the impact of COVID-19 on asthmatics, sparked further research into these areas and has improved my wider knowledge of the disease.
Over the past year, I have developed an outreach project called “What’s the point of Maths?” which aims to engage young people in the weird and wonderful uses of maths all around us. I am looking forward to using this prize money to either visit more schools around the country with these workshops, or to adapt them for online learning.
Thank you again to I’m a Mathematician and all the students that I had the pleasure of talking to – I hope that you all learnt something from this and enjoyed the experience as much as I did!