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Outreach and Engagement

Welcome to the School of Mathematics and Statistics Outreach and Engagement webpage! Below are some examples of staff who are very enthusiastic about outreach activities and would be delighted to visit local schools or attend other events in order to give maths lectures at a variety of levels. Feel free to contact individuals directly if you know what you are looking for (follow link to personal webpage to find contact information) and if you want to speak to somebody more generally then please contact Jonathan Fraser, Tommaso Lorenzi, or Hannah Worthington who are the current Outreach team!

 

Jon Fraser photo

Jonathan Fraser, Reader

Email: jmf32[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 

Jonathan is a pure mathematician working mostly with "fractals". Roughly speaking, a fractal is an object which exhibits interesting behaviour on a large range of scales, such as stock market fluctuations, or the surface of a lung. Fractals appear in many contexts across science and Jonathan's research focuses on the abstract mathematics which underpins fractal behaviour. He is very enthusiastic about outreach and would be delighted to discuss potential opportunities for outreach lectures, which could be on a variety of topics including fractals (of course), number theory, or various aspects of geometry, for example 'hyperbolic'.


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Tommaso Lorenzi, Research Fellow

Email: tl47[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 

Tommaso is an applied mathematician working in mathematical biology. The focus of his research is on the development, analysis and numerical simulation of mathematical models formulated in terms of nonlinear partial differential equations. These models complement empirical research by enabling extrapolation beyond scenarios which can be investigated through experiments and by revealing emergent phenomena that would otherwise remain unobserved. Moreover, they pose a series of analytical and numerical challenges which make them interesting mathematical objects per se. He collaborates interdisciplinary, with cell biologists, immunologists and evolutionary biologists. Tommaso would be happy to talk about his research on the mathematical modelling of cancer cell dynamics, with particular reference to mathematical models that can help us to gain a deeper understanding of the principles underlying the evolution of resistance to anti-cancer therapy and of the mechanisms driving tumour growth.


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Hannah Worthington, Lecturer

Email: hw233[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

 

 


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Patrick Antolin, STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow

Email: Patrick.Antolin[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

 

 

Patrick is a mathematician and astrophysicist captivated by the inner workings of our star, the Sun. For the last 14 years, Patrick has been investigating the solar atmosphere, particularly the solar corona. The corona is the outermost layer surrounding the Sun that we can see with our naked eyes during a total solar eclipse. Using a series of ground-based and space-based observatories, combined with state-of-the-art numerical simulations, solar physicists aim to detect and understand how matter behaves in an extreme environment such as the solar corona. Phenomena such as solar flares (huge explosions of energy), coronal mass ejections (matter streaming into interplanetary space that can affect life on Earth), coronal rain (rain-like phenomena resulting from extreme cooling and heating) are on Patrick's daily digest. Through outreach activities, he would like to share his amazement for this plethora of phenomena that constitute the Sun-Earth space environment.


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Ruth Bowness, Research Fellow

Email: rec9[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 

Ruth uses mathematical techniques to model the spread of infectious diseases in the human body. She uses differential equations and individual-based computational models to mimic disease progression and simulate novel treatment strategies. She currently focuses on tuberculosis infection and other antibiotic resistant infections. Ruth could talk to pupils about how calculus and other mathematical tools can be used to help further understanding in medical research.


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Stuart Burrell, PhD Student

Email: sb235[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 

Stuart's research is on fractal geometry. He investigates various properties of complex geometric shapes that often mirror the kind of patterns we see in nature. Stuart would be very enthusiastic to talk about his research and what it is like to be a PhD student, or to offer interactive problem solving workshops.


 

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Linnéa Franssen, PhD Student

Email: lcf4[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 

Linnéa is a mathematical biologist. She has specialised in finding out how we can use mathematical modelling to outsmart the dreadful disease of cancer. In the context of previous outreach work, she has also become interested in where we can find mathematics in everyday life and in nature, in particular. Linnéa would be excited to explore either of these topics with students in their final two years of secondary school. 


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Jonathan Hickman, Research Fellow

jeh25@st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 

Jonathan's research area is harmonic analysis which is, roughly speaking, the mathematics used to study signals (for example, sound waves). The fundamental object of study is the Fourier transform which allows a signal to be expressed in terms of fundamental frequencies. This is useful for analysing physical phenomena, but it is also very important in more theoretical settings such as studying prime numbers. Jonathan would be happy to explain the essence of these (beautiful!) ideas to advanced high school students. 
 

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Fiona Macfarlane, PhD Student

Email: frm3[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 

Fiona is a mathematical biologist who works on mathematical modelling of cancer. Mathematical models can help researchers to understand cancer evolution and predict the success of different treatment techniques. Fiona specifically considers how the human immune system interacts with cancer cells with the aim to find the optimum way to boost the natural response to remove cancer. Fiona is happy to be involved in outreach projects with schools or the general public, this could include short presentations on cancer modelling or the research area of mathematical biology.


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Lars Olsen, Professor

Email: lo[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

 

 

Lars is a pure mathematician working on fractal geometry. Roughly speaking, 'fractals' are sets which exhibit interesting structures at arbitrarily small scales. Such objects appear naturally across science and studying them in a mathematical framework is of great interest. He is interested in various properties of fractals, including the relationship between their geometry and their dimension theory. Lars can can give expository talks at the high school level on most topics in pure mathematics. He has recently given talks at several high schools on, for example, "Infinity" and "Fermat's last theorem".


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Paolo Pagano, Research Assistant

Email: pp25[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

 

 

Paolo investigates the solar corona by means of computer simulations. The solar corona is the outer layer of the solar atmosphere where the million degrees temperatures and the strong magnetic fields shape an extremely interesting environment. Computer simulations are an extremely useful and flexible tool to figure out how it is possible the corona is so hot and how plasma and magnetic fields are continuously ejected from the solar corona to the interplanetary space. Paolo truly enjoys his research and is always looking for opportunities to share his enthusiasm in public lectures or activities about space weather,  solar physics, and astronomy.


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Valentin Popov, Associate Lecturer (Education Focused)

Email: vmp[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 

Valentin's main interest lies in time series analysis, in particular application of Hidden Markov Models to fields such as ecology, medicine, geography, etc. He has also worked on estimating dependence in a financial market framework. Related to that, he also finds interest in portfolio selection. Valentin has given talks to pupils on Benford's law, which can be applied to detect fraud as well as presenting his research in the form of a comedy talk within the Bright Club.


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Louis Theran, Lecturer

Email: louis.theran[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 

Louis is a mathematician working in geometry and related areas. His main research interests are in "rigidity theory", which deals with how things like chains, scaffolds, a creased piece of paper, or even a bunch of marbles in a jar move (or, in the case of a scaffold, hopefully don't move). Questions like this appear in many scientific contexts, including engineering, materials science, and some more unexpected ones like data analysis. Louis is interested in the underlying theory, especially the relationship between concrete geometric ideas like shape and motion to more abstract "topological" properties that related to how a structure is linked together. He is very enthusiastic about outreach and is happy to discuss activities that can include lectures but also hands-on activities involving paper-folding and playing with toys like polydrons.


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James Threlfall, Research Fellow

Email: jwt9[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 


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Stephanie Yardly, Research Fellow

Email: sly3[AT]st-andrews.ac.uk

Website

 

Stephanie's research focuses on magnetic field modelling to try and understand the evolution and eruption of the Sun's magnetic field. Alongside her research she is actively involved in outreach and regularly gives talks, demonstrations and provides space related activities for school children of all ages. She would be delighted to discuss potential opportunities for outreach lectures, which could be on a variety of topics including: solar and lunar eclipses, the Sun's atmosphere, the northern lights, the solar systems and the search for life, comets and asteroids, stars and galaxies, black holes. Stephanie would also be able to run workshops related to these subjects (e.g. solar eruptions, exoplanets, landing on Mars).