Florence Nightingale Day, January 2017

Thursday 12th January 2017, 10:00 - 15:30, Management School Building, Lancaster University

Our fifth Florence Nightingale Day is part of our continuing efforts to promote mathematics and statistics to young women in years 11, 12 and 13, who will soon be making crucial choices in their career paths. The Florence Nightingale Day will showcase successful women in mathematics at various stages of their careers, display information about the broad range of possibilities offered by a degree in mathematics or statistics, stimulate informal discussion between pupils and mathematicians and give an opportunity for participants to compare their mathematical skills with their peers in other schools via a quiz. It is organised by Dr Nadia Mazza and Dr James Groves, with help from colleagues and postgraduate students.

While Florence Nightingale is well-known for her medical work as a nurse, she was also a pioneer in statistics, especially in the use of visualisation of statistical data. A description of this work may be found in her biography on the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, along with a large number of biographies of other female mathematicians.

Speakers will include Heather Harrington (Oxford), Ineke De Moortel (St Andrews) and Marianne Freiberger (Cambridge).



We are grateful to the Further Mathematics Support Programme for financial support.

Heather Harrington - The shape of data in biology

From epidemics spreading across the globe to proteins interacting within a single cell, biological systems at all levels have complex interactions that behave in nonlinear ways. Algebra and topology, together with computation and statistics, can help us understand these complex systems and the data generated by them. The talk will focus on how computational mathematics can provide new insights into biological systems with data.

About Heather

Heather Harrington completed her doctorate at Imperial College London in Applied Mathematics and Systems Biology with a focus on models of immune response and cell death. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the Theoretical Systems Biology group at Imperial where she focused on statistics and developing methods for comparing models and data. She was a visiting researcher at Princeton and New York University. Currently, she is a Hooke and EPSRC Research Fellow in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford and she has recently been awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.

Her principal research interests are concerned with using concepts from computational algebra and topology to develop methods for understanding biomedical problems. For example, she introduced algebraic matroids, a mathematical structure, to design experiments and this helped rule out molecular mechanisms involved in colon cancer.

Ineke De Moortel - Our Dynamical Sun: A 21st Century View

Although the Sun might appear quite serene to you, our star is bursting with activity. Frequent violent eruptions of hot matter send seismic waves across the entire Sun's surface like huge solar tsunamis. Highly-energetic particles stream continuously out from the Sun punctuated by massive blasts of hot plasma that are hurled out from the Sun. So what do these have to do with us?

To discover how all this solar activity affects our daily lives, in this talk, we will journey from deep inside the Sun’s nuclear core, through the solar surface, into its atmosphere, on towards Earth and finally out into space. A range of satellites is now observing the Sun in unprecedented detail, giving scientists an ever greater understanding of our local star. I will show some of these amazing current satellite images and movies and explain how scientists use these to create mathematical models of this solar activity.

About Ineke

Ineke De Moortel completed a Master's Degree in Mathematics at the KULeuven (Belgium) in 1997. Following a brief stay in St Andrews in the autumn of 1996, as an undergraduate Erasmus exchange student, she returned as a PhD student in September 1997 and received a PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2001. She is currently a professor in Applied Mathematics at St Andrews and an affiliate scientist at the High Altitude Observatory (Boulder, US). She was Co-Chair of the Young Academy of Scotland from 2012-2014.

Her research mostly focuses on the dynamical processes occurring in the Sun's atmosphere, in particular, coronal heating and coronal seismology. She was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2009 and the Royal Astronomical Society Fowler award in 2010.

Marianne Freiberger - Opening doors with maths

Maths is essential in a wide range of jobs in a variety of areas — from special effects in movies to helping people the developing world. We have a look at some examples from the Plus magazine careers library. See where maths can take you!

About Marianne

Marianne has a PhD in maths from Queen Mary, University of London. After working as a postdoc for three years, she became editor of Plus magazine (plus.maths.org), a free online magazine about maths aimed at a general audience. In her role as Plus editor she writes articles about mathematics and related sciences, usually based on interviews with mathematicians, and also produces videos and podcasts. She co-authored, with Rachel Thomas, the popular maths books Numericon: A journey through the hidden lives of numbers (Quercus, 2014), Maths Squared (Quantum Books, 2016) and co-edited the book 50: Visions of mathematics (OUP, 2014).