Dr Eugenia Cheng
Senior Lecturer, Pure Mathematics
University of Sheffield

Media information

Eugenia Cheng headshot

About me
Television and video samples
Radio samples
The "Perfect Cream Tea" story!
The "Math-ster Chef": Pictures of mathematical food I've created
Links



About me

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 a volunteer.

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. 


At the 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.

I am represented by Diane Banks Associates.

You can also visit my profile at findaTVexpert.com .


Television and videos

1. Sky News: live interview about new biggest prime number, 8th February 2013.



2. Yahoo News: video about Pi(e), 14th March 2013.
(full article here)




3. BBC Academy Expert Women Day North: sample video, 1st May 2013.




4. BBC Look North on the "perfect cream tea", 28th May 2013 (see below for full story).





Radio

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 continents!

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 paper here. I investigate different 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

scones

and clotting my own cream, as I couldn't find any clotted cream in Sheffield.

clotting cream

The story took off! It was reported in the Daily Mail and on the front page of the Telegraph, as 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 Math-ster Chef"!
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 broadcast online

Here is the Look North clip:



After effects...

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 and flying colours maths, pointing out that it's not just another spurious "Perfect Formula for..." story, because it has rigorous mathematics behind it.

I'm also happy to see the work being used in outreach and educational contexts.

I was not paid by a clotted cream company for this work, in any way. Not even in cream...


Pictures of 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".

Klein 4-group cake  Cyclic group cake


2. Mathematical bagels!
The first is cut into two interlocking halves. The second is cut along a Möbius band...

Bagel   Mobius bagel


3. A convergent sequence of scones!

Convergent scones


4. "Conjugation" of a brownie by a gingerbread man!

Conjugation



Links

My main home page
My piano page
I am represented by
Diane Banks Associates
My profile on findaTVexpert.com
My twitter feed DrEugeniaCheng

My main picture is by Charlie Round-Turner Photography



Last updated 21st June 2013, 16:35
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