I went to Silkstone Common Junior and Infants school, then Penistone Grammar School before heading off to the University of Bath, the University of Manchester and finally the University of Cranfield
I've got 9 GCSEs (Dual English, Dual Science, Maths, French, History, Music and Economics) I got 5 A's and 4 B's - the B's were in science, maths and music. I got 4 A Levels (Physics, Chemistry, Maths and General Studies) and got 2 Bs and 2 Cs - the Bs were in maths and general studies. I've got A BEng in Aeronautical Engineering with French, and MSc in Applied and Maths and fluid mechanics and a PhD in Bayesian Belief Networks.,
I've had summer jobs as a typist, working on clearing hotline (helping those wanting to go to university), cleaning out sixth form college chemistry labs and working for a small aircraft manufacturer. After graduating I worked for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratories before setting up my own company.
Business owner and principle analyst
Bays Consulting is a small (micro) data science company that supports other people and companies who either don’t have the time or the specific knowledge they need to complete the statistics that will help their project. http://www.baysconsulting.co.uk/
As there are only three of us in the company we all work on lots of different areas of the business but also help set the direction of our work.
I'm the World's Most Interesting Mathematician who also owns a data science company. I work in the area of statistics and applied maths across lots of different problems.
My name is Sophie and I live in Surrey with my family, and rescue cat (called Jess because she looks like Postman Pat’s cat) I grew up with a love of Lego, puzzles and aeroplanes. I even started work as an aeronautical engineer before I found out about Bayesian Networks and completely changed the course of my career by completing a part time PhD whilst I worked. I really love swimming (particularly wild swimming in the summer), puzzle books and walking in the South Downs near to where I live. I can play the trombone and double bass and as I’m a coeliac am pretty proud of my ability to make gluten free Yorkshire puddings. All there is left to know is that I prefer coffee over tea, pears over apples and my favourite flower is the tulip. I also like talking about maths whenever I can including about algorithms https://listenvypod.com/g/dr-sophie-carr/and about Bayes theoremhttps://kpknudson.com/my-favorite-theorem/2019/11/13/episode-48-sophie-carr
How I Use Maths In My Job:
I work mainly in statistics and probability on lots of different types of problems from working out breeding strategies for dogs (which was done using probability trees) http://ifors.org/newsletter/ifors-dec-2014.pdf (scroll down to Dachshunds And Data) through to working out what food is brought together in supermarkets https://www.baysconsulting.co.uk/portfolio-items/weather-response-model/ to working out where an ocean front is when an underwater glider is moving and supporting flight trials for unmanned drones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PNG5PT-Jls in Helsinki. A lot of my work is about developing both predictive models – that is understanding what we think will happen in different circumstances as well as analysing data we have to understand what is happening now.
My work is about finding patterns - basically I get paid for playing hide and seek.
I own a small data science company which employs myself, Sam and Abbie. We don’t have a company office and are located across the UK but get together whenever we can to talk about our work (we talk each week on Skype but it’s always good to get talk face to face) I also work in the office in my house http://www.instagram.com/p/B4Rs9QsA2HV/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
My work involves computer modelling, usually writing in R or Python generally to develop algorithms that use statistics to analyse data sets. There are two main areas: understanding what the data is showing and this can be done through looking at ratios, distributions, assessing an hypothesis but often starts with simple summary statistics such as box and whisker plots, the mean, range and visualisations of the data. The second type is trying to predict what will happens either in the future using both AI techniques such as random forests as well as more traditional techniques you learn at school such as plotting a line of best fit. One of the areas I’m working on that’s really great is predicting where shellfish come from so we can try to help stop illegal fishing https://ima.org.uk/7170/how-marine-biology-maths-and-chemistry-can-help-sustainable-fishing/
What’s great is that most of my work is with with other companies and that means being a mathematician is really a team type of job.
My Typical Day
There a few set parts to my day: 1. A cup of Coffee 2. At least half an hour reading up on the areas I work in. 3. Some form of exercise 4. Coding. 5. Catching up with people on the phone. Apart from that, every day is different.
My day has three parts. Before my kids get up, I read about what’s going in the areas of maths I’m interested in; what’s happening in the industry I work in and then just reading for pleasure (at the moment I’m reading 21 Lessons for the 21st Century) I’ll also plan what is happening during the rest of the day. Then I get the kids up and we go to school.
I get back to my desk about 8:30 and then the technical aspects of work start. I limit answering emails to a couple of times a day (and not at all on a Friday) so I can focus on the “deep work” – solving the puzzles I’m working on and developing the algorithms. As I’m often a member of a bigger team, I usually have to have a couple of meetings either on the phone or via Skype/Zoom. The afternoon finishes at school pick up. Once all the homeworks are completed and the kids are in bed, I’ll usually do a bit more work, this time focused on writing either for a blog, a presentation or a paper.
What I'd do with the prize money
Primary school STEM competition and activities
I’m lucky enough to be working with a primary school who are developing STEM activities/competition and it would be great to be able to use this to develop the activities and then be able to share them with other schools.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Bouncy, smiley, tenacious
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Aeroplanes - I just wanted to fly. The first mathematician I ever remember seeing was Andrew Wiles.
What's your favourite use for maths in everyday life?
You use Bayesian statistics to cross the road, search the internet and get mobile reception. All that from one tiny equation developed by a Minister in the 1700s. Y
What did you think about Maths when you were in school?
It was a means to an end. I wanted to design aeroplanes and the only way to get into engineering was to be good at maths. My favourite subject was actually physics.
What did you want to be after you left school?
At the age of 16 a pilot but at 18 my eyesight was too bad so I wanted to make and design aeroplanes, specifically gas turbine blade.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not really. I never had a detention.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I grew up wanting to be: an Olympic swimmer, then a trombone player in a jazz band but for the most time a pilot. So I would hope one of those came off.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Ooohh too hard. I've consistently liked Queen, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi since I was a teenager. I also really like Dido and actually have an entire playlist of Disney Princess songs (thanks to my youngest) You learn to really love those after a while.
What's your favourite food?
Risotto with lots of goats cheese.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
In work gone on flight trials; "just because" entered the World's Most Interesting Mathematician Competition; travelling was getting to the top of Kilimanjaro
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To hold an qualifying time for the Olympics in the 100m breast stroke. To be able to sing in reality as well as I can in my head. To be able to do the Waltz.
Tell us a joke.
What did the zero say to the eight? Nice Belt.