"What I like about maths is its precision."
"I left my home town of Berlin, Germany to come to Surrey to study a PhD in Mathematics. My undergraduate degree was in Technomathematics and I wanted to build on this, exploring mathematics and extracting meanings from physical objects at the same time. What I like about maths is its precision; once you have something and you prove it, you know it’s correct.
The exact title of my PhD hasn’t yet been defined, but essentially what I’m doing is trying to describe the behaviour of a material called ‘liquid crystal elastomer’.
To do this, I need to look for the minimiser of the material’s energy and once I have this I can determine the state of the material. When I can describe the liquid crystal’s behaviour, I can analyse its properties in a mathematical sense and this knowledge can be used for specific applications of the material. For example, liquid crystal elastomers can be used to build artificial muscle – amazing news for those suffering from injury or loss of limb.
I really like the Department of Mathematics at Surrey. It’s not too big, and it’s given me a sense of familiarity, enabling me to get to know those in my field well. My supervisor is brilliant, which is a further help, and he has this ability to boil my research down and condense my work into simplified terms – helping me explain complex research clearly.
After I finish my PhD at Surrey, I’d like to take on a job where I can collaborate with others, work on mathematical problems and get the time to produce results in a relaxed atmosphere."