I went to Westfield Primary School in Cottingham, East Yorkshire, where I grew up then moved to Cottingham High School and Sixth Form. In order to do the subjects I wanted at A level, I also travelled to Wolfreton School through the sixth form consortium. I went to the University of Warwick to study maths and stayed there for 8 years getting two degrees.
2003: GSCEs - Maths, English Literature and Language, Double award Science, French, German, Classical Civilisations Half GSCEs - RE and IT. 2005: A Levels - Maths, Further Maths, Physics, French As Levels - German. 2009: Master of Mathematics (MMath) - University of Warwick. 2013: PhD, Mathematics - University of Warwick. You can read my PhD thesis online: http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/57647/
Somerfield supermarket, stacking shelves 2004-6; Birds eye pea factory, yard manager, 2008; (paid) PhD student, University of Warwick, 2009-13; Postdoctoral researcher, University of Warwick, 2013; Postdoctoral researcher, University of Leeds, 2013-2017; Lecturer, University of Leeds, 2017-current
School of Computing, University of Leeds
I am a mathematician working in the School of Computing at the University of Leeds. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family and being outdoors.
I live in a small village near York with my wife and toddler son. We have three chickens which we keep as pets. I enjoy being outdoors including in the garden or going for a long bike ride with my son on the back. My pronouns are he/him.
This is a view over the fields from where I live on a rainy day.
How I Use Maths In My Job:
My job is very varied in the maths that I use – it changes throughout the day. Most of the time I use a computer to help me solve complicated algebra equations which describe the shape and size (geometry) of an animal’s body as it moves. I then report the results to the rest of the team using different statistics.
I teach, discover and apply new maths using computers at the University of Leeds
I discover new mathematical tools to understand different scientific problems. At the moment I’m working on understanding the movement of a small worm that lives in rotting fruit. This involves writing down mathematical equations that describe how the worm’s shape depends on how its muscles are working and how the rotting fruit flows around the worm. These equations are put onto a special computer which shows us how the worm moves based on the information we supply. The results look something like this:
We compare our results with experiments taken in a specialist laboratory:
I teach undergraduate students in the School of Computing at the University of Leeds and also at the Southwest Jioutong University in Chengdu, China.
My Typical Day
I usually start working around 8:30am by checking email and my to-do list. My days are often filled with responding to students, arranging and attending meetings, and finally doing some of my own research too. I normally stop work around 5pm but I sometimes need to do some small jobs in the evening.
In usual non-covid times, most of my time is spent at my desk. Most of my work is done at a computer either writing reports to share with others, working out how to do some new maths or doing computer programming.
My teaching is normally carried out through lectures where between 80 and 200 students sit in one big room and listen to me talk for an hour.
A lot of my own research is done with others. We will often sit in a small room and share ideas around either a white or blackboard.
Other times, I go to conferences where mathematicians from around the world get together to share their new ideas. This picture shows me with other mathematicians in the beautiful city of Dresden, Germany.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Energetic, empathetic mathematician
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My grandfather was a real inspiration to study maths when I was at school. He showed me how a mathematical way of thinking can help to solve problems in a powerful way.
What's your favourite use for maths in everyday life?
The maths that let's us communicate so easily on the internet.
What did you think about Maths when you were in school?
I just thought it was something fun and enjoyed doing exercises in class.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I didn't have any good ideas of my future career when I left school. I didn't really know much about the career I followed and really stumbled into it without much planning.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not really - I occasionally forgot homeworks or drifted off in lessons but nothing major.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I think I'd always be involved with communicating and sharing maths in some way. I did once apply for a job for a mathematical consulting firm but it didn't work out.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Home made pizza
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I travelled with my wife around South America during 2016 including going to the Olympics. We were lucky to get tickets to watch Team GB win hockey gold!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
- More time to spend with my family - End of coronavirus problems so we can go out and play with family and friends - 3 eggs per day from our hens
Tell us a joke.
Do you know why seven eight nine? Because you’re supposed to eat three squared meals a day!