I am enthusistic about media
work, whether it's television, radio, or online.
I am a Senior Lecturer of Pure
Mathematics at the University of Sheffield. I grew up in Sussex,
and have three degrees from the University of Cambridge. After
completing post-doctoral work at the Universities of Cambridge, Chicago
and Nice, I took up my current post at the University of
Sheffield. I have published articles in eight different journals
and given talks in 14 different countries. I am known for my
communication skills both in the research community and in
teaching. I was an early pioneer of YouTube lectures, beginning
in 2007, and my videos have been viewed around 700,000 times to
date. I also work with secondary school pupils in my role running
outreach for my department, and I help with maths at primary school as
My ambition is the rid the world of "maths phobia". I like to
bring personality, fun and hilarity to maths. I love maths, I
love people. I love performing, entertaining and educating at the same
time. I am good at explaining maths to people, and would love to
do that for a wider audience.
University of Sheffield I am known for my fun and wacky maths
lectures. I like baking, and like using food to explain maths
whenever possible (see pictures below). I can comment on and
discuss any aspects of mathematics, statistics, universities, education
and the mathematics curriculum, as well as gender and cultural
issues. I am also a concert pianist and give recitals regularly.
Sky News: live interview about new biggest prime number, 8th February
2. Yahoo News: video about Pi(e), 14th March 2013.
(full article here)
3. BBC Academy Expert Women Day North: sample video, 1st May
4. BBC Look North on the "perfect cream tea", 28th May 2013 (see
below for full story).
1. BBC Radio 4's "More or Less": interview about maths
and Lego. 7th December 2012. Listen here
(starts around 21'45")
2. BBC Radio 4's "Woman's Hour": interview about the lack of women in
mathematics, 16th April 2013.
Listen here .
3. Ten radio interviews about the "Perfect Cream Tea" (see below).
4. I have also given music-related interviews on BBC Sussex and WMFT
(the classical music station of the Chicago area).
The "Perfect Cream
Tea" story 12 TV and radio interviews in three
In May 2013 I wrote a light-hearted maths paper about scones and cream,
in response to an enquiry by a clotted cream company. My aim was
to find some genuinely rigorous maths in scones and cream, and to
demonstrate mathematical methods in a fun context! You can read the
sizes of scones and the thickness of cream that
would be necessary to get a good taste balance. Given certain
starting assumptions, I prove
that clotted cream is better than whipped cream.
In the process, I had fun making scones of all sizes
and clotting my own cream, as I couldn't find any clotted cream in
The story took off! It was reported in the Daily Mail and on the front page of
well as countless local papers and other papers as far afield as
Australia and South Africa.
It was then mentioned in the BBC newspaper reviews on BBC Breakfast and
Today, and online.
The University of Sheffield media team billed me as "The
We made this video about it.
...and then the interview requests started pouring in!
It began with Canada and Australia, and then moved closer to home.
Most of the interviews were on 28th May 2013.
1. CBC (Canada), interview on "As it happens"
2. ABC (Australia) live interview on Radio Canberra's breakfast show
3. Radio Devon (live)
4. Radio Ireland (live)
5. Radio Sheffield (live) - on Rony Robinson's programme
6. Look North (filmed at Radio Sheffield studios - clip below)
7. Radio Scotland (live)
8. Radio Gloucester (live)
9. Radio Cornwall
10. Radio Scotland (again! live)
11. ITV West (filmed by Yorkshire)
12. Radio Derby (live)
13. Interview by the Australian Institute of Mathematical Sciences for
Here is the Look North clip:
The next day, various shows were having an ongoing discussion about
making maths fun, especially using food! This included Radio 2
(Claudia Winkleman sitting in for Ken Bruce),
and Channel Five (Wright Stuff).
This is exactly what I hope to achieve - people talking about maths as
something fun and interesting, rather than as something dull and
boring. A common response was "I wish you'd been my maths
teacher!" or "I don't remember maths being this fun!"
I'm also happy to see that various maths bloggers have written about
this, such as aperiodical
maths, pointing out that it's not just another spurious
"Perfect Formula for..." story, because it has rigorous mathematics
I'm also happy to see the work being used in outreach and educational
I was not paid by a clotted cream company for this work, in any way.
Not even in cream...
mathematical food I've created!
I am "The Math-ster Chef"!
1. Mathematical Battenburg cakes!
These exhibit the structure of the "Klein 4-group" and the "cyclic
group of order 5".
2. Mathematical bagels!
The first is cut into two interlocking halves. The second is cut along
a Möbius band...
3. A convergent sequence of scones!
4. "Conjugation" of a brownie by a gingerbread man!