Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell met staff from the Department of Mathematical Sciences on the first of her visits for the new academic year.
Head of Department, Professor Ivan Graham, began by outlining the department’s successes and exciting plans for the future. He made particular mention of recent undergraduate recruitment, PGT and PGR programmes and the new Centre for Doctoral Training Statistical Applied Mathematics at Bath (SAMBa).
The department was well represented at the talk – over 50 members of staff were in attendance – and Professor Graham took the opportunity to thank his colleagues for their hard work. Dr Geoff Smith MBE, who was recently elected to lead the International Mathematical Olympiad, was personally thanked for his popular Open Day talks.
Dame Glynis was then invited to speak and started by saying how much the department’s strong performance is appreciated by the University, and thanked everyone for their work to make Mathematical Sciences an ‘excellent department’. She highlighted the improved NSS score as something the department should be rightly proud of.
Professor Tony Dooley, Deputy Head of Department, then introduced Professors Paul Milewski, Rob Scheichl and Simon Wood to discuss the department’s research.
An equal emphasis on statistics, probability, pure and applied mathematics, and the opportunity for interdisciplinary working that that brings, is a unique advantage enjoyed at the department, according to Professor Milewski.
Recent appointments have improved research capabilities, and researchers are keen to share their knowledge with colleagues from other departments. A recent example of successful interdisciplinary collaboration is the research into High Performance Computing (HPC).
Professor Chris Jennison, Dr Gunnar Traustason and Dr Jane White then gave Dame Glynis an overview of teaching in the department. The department has 116 students starting their placements this month with companies ranging from Goldman Sachs to Walt Disney.
Dr Traustason talked about the importance of induction, with an emphasis on social events; a new initiative to ask for student feedback on every course after four weeks has had a very positive response from students.
Dr White talked about the successes of the department’s outreach programmes, and her work with The Further Mathematics Support Programme (FMSP). The FMSP supports Assistant Area Co-ordinator, Ben Sparks, who is currently working on the distributed fractal build – Mega Menger.
The Vice-Chancellor then met with Prize Fellows Drs Matt Roberts, Tim Rogers and Alexandre Stauffer; Postdoctoral Researchers Drs Eike Mueller and Cecile Mailler; and PhD students Amy Spicer, Jack Blake and Amine Chakchoukh over coffee and biscuits.
Dame Glynis reflected: “There is real strength in depth here. The Department’s determination to grow its research reputation even further, and to increase its postgraduate numbers are precisely in keeping with the University’s strategy.”