The Naked Mathematician


Arriving in Cambridge in 2012 to begin my PhD, I was certain that it was the beginning of a long academic career – I’d even bought myself a tweed jacket for the occasion! Leaving five years later, I find myself diving head first into the world of science communication and this time without any clothes, literally…

I’ve loved maths for as long as I can remember and studying undergraduate mathematics at Oxford only strengthened further my passion for the subject. As the years progressed, I found myself straying further and further into the territory of applied maths, culminating in a fourth-year course in fluid mechanics – the study of how fluids such as water, air and ice move around – which ultimately led to my PhD topic at Cambridge. This was: where does river water go when it enters the ocean? (If you’re interested in finding out more, I’ve written a series of articles on my website explaining my thesis in simple terms). My research consisted of the triumvirate of experiments, theory and fieldwork. Experiments were conducted in the underground laboratory at the Cambridge maths department, theory in my office and fieldwork in the Southern Ocean. It was on my return from six weeks at sea that I had my first taste of science communication with a two-month internship with the Naked Scientists public engagement team. I would spend each day searching out the most interesting breaking science research, before arranging an interview with the author for BBC radio; it felt like anything but a job and for the first time I felt that I had found the career for me.