Stokenchurch Primary School, Stokenchurch Middle School, Wycombe High, University of Oxford, University of Bristol
GCSEs: Double Science, Maths, Spanish, IT, Textiles, History, Art, English Lang/Lit; A-Levels: Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths, Classical Civilisations; Degrees: Masters in Mathematics (Oxford), PhD in Mathematics(Bristol), Graduate Diploma in Statistics (RSS)
Babysitter, Boots Sales Assistant, Assistant (TNS); Research internships at Southampton, Bristol and Oxford;
I work at the University of Cambridge, in the Cardiac Epidemiology Unit. This means I try to discover what causes heart problems at the population level.
The CHRISTMAS LECTURE related to my work:
Lecture 1. How to get lucky from 22:00
Disabled female statistician with silly hair
I live with my partner in Cambridge and work and teach at the University. I have no pets because my partner is allergic to fluff, but we do have a housemate called Rowena. My favorite film is “The Favourite” and my favorite book is “Memory” by Lois McMaster Bujold. In my free time, I like to crochet and do larp (live action roleplay games). I love the creativity that pretending to other characters allows me.
I like to give talks about mathematics and statistics at schools. I made a game for schools called Pathogen. The game is about large outbreaks of diseases and how mathematics (and other skills) are needed to save people.
My pronouns are she/her and I have fibromyalgia. I use a wheelchair a couple of days a week.
How I Use Maths In My Job:
I use statistics and large datasets to make predictions about what causes a disease. For example, we see that a lot more people who smoke get cancer, so we predict that smoking makes you more likely to get cancer. That cause is well known, so I look at other potential causes and diseases. Currently I work on UK Biobank, a collection of 500000 UK people and their genes.
I'm a statistician so I try to solve problems by looking for patterns in large sets of data. Currently I work on UK Biobank, a collection of 500000 UK people, their medical data and their genes.
My Typical Day
I get to work between 9-10am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I only work 3 days due to my fibromyalgia. I read my emails and work out my priorities for the day. Sometime I am find information for other people in the office - this means I need to talk to them to work out what they want and then create a dataset containing it. Sometimes I take data for myself and use it to create a model of what causes a specific disease. In the afternoon, I read papers about what other people are doing and thing about how I could use their ideas. All this work is done on a computer. I also attend meetings, and give presentations on my work. Sometimes I teach other people how to do something new. I like doing these because it lets me talk to people instead of being on a computer all day. I go home between 6-7pm.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Two people: Nina Snaith, my PhD supervisor, who showed me how awesome women can be at mathematics. She ran the women in maths lunches, gave talks to propective students and generally gave me the confidence to promote myself and mathematics. The other is my friend Katy - who started a PhD at Harvard and dropped out. She showed me that it is okay to change career, to stop something if it makes you unhappy and that there are a thousand uses for a maths skills outside academia..
What's your favourite use for maths in everyday life?
Saving lives through medical research - which is my every days life. Outside of that, my favorite use for mathematics is working out how to resize crochet patterns.
What did you think about Maths when you were in school?
I thought it was very easy, but not very interesting. I was incorrect on both fronts!
What did you want to be after you left school?
A Ceremic Potter. Luckily I had a teacher who explained the different between enjoyment and talent. She redirected me to maths where I have been much much more successful. I still make ugly pots, though
Were you ever in trouble at school?
So much - I wasn't challenged enough, so I was really bored in lessons and used to bunk off to hide in the library and read. #socool
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Mathematics outreach. I love talking to people about statistical ideas and maths history.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I love Rachel Bloom and all the songs she made for Crazy Ex Girlfriend.
What's your favourite food?
Pizza, covered in cheese, cheese, more cheese and some cheese on top
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I ran a Pride and Prejudice Larp ball where everyone was falling in and out of chaotic romances - that was amazingly fun!