Confessions of an industrial mathematician Chris Budd
Traditional school view of maths? Maths is useless The only jobs for mathematicians are in accountancy and teaching Industry is full of people with oily rags All mathematicians are mad
My own view: Almost all maths can be applied to almost all problems … And this simple fact is truly amazing!!!! We can learn lots of new maths from almost all applications: Calculus My whole career has been involved in applying really nice maths to messy problems! And then using this experience to enliven my teaching
We can see maths all around us in the physical world! Swallow tail catastrophe: Find the curves: Packing and folding rocks
Didcot Power Station:.. And in engineering Hyperboloid of revolution mathsmathsmathsmathsmathsmathsmaths
A history lesson: Good applications of maths changes the world Vectors, Maxwell, Radio, FFT, digital revolution, computers GoogleMatrices, SVD, page-rank The computer
Mathematicians even save lives! Florence Nightingale
But … maths is also of great use in industry And this can help our teaching by … Motivating students with real life examples Providing challenging problems for them to work on Giving examples of future careers which use maths
In fact ….. Much of industry has problems which can potentially be formulated, and solved using mathematics Maths connects with all areas and knows no bounds or constraints! Too few people recognize that the high technology so celebrated today is essentially a mathematical technology Edward David, ex-president of Exxon R&D
Traditional industrial users of maths are Telecommunications, aerospace, power generation, iron and steel, mining, oil, weather forecasting, security, defence, finance But they could equally well be … Retail, food, zoos, sport, entertainment, media, forensic service, hospitals, air-sea-rescue, education, transport, risk, health, biomedical, environmental agencies, art, … Q. Which industries use maths?
What sort of maths does traditional industry need? Expertise (big time!!!) and teaching in …. Calculus Differential equations Mechanics Matrices Complex numbers Number theory
Example 1: Forensic mechanics.. Catching a speeding motorist.. Was the car speeding? Forensic evidence: collision damage, witness statements, skid marks
Evidence: s distance of skid Cause: u speed Other data: F brake force Mechanics links speed to distance Given the distance maths gives the speed
Example 2: Mechanics in Aircraft undercarriage: Airbus CJB 2006
Example 3: Microwave cooking What gets hotter, the outside of the food or the inside?
Thermal image of surface of food after 5 minutes heating
L: Domain length: 2-14cm d: Penetration depth: 8mm L Solving Maxwells equations for electric field predicts that the power absorbed decays exponentially. Temperature T satisfies a differential equation Starchy food Challenge.. Solve this.. (a) in general (b) steady state.
But.. 21 st century applications of maths will be driven by even more exotic industrial applications Information/Bio-informatics/Genetics Commerce/retail sector Complexity People based activity
What sort of maths do we now also need to learn and to teach for modern industry? Decision maths!!!!!! Data and data assimilation Probability and uncertainty Computational maths Networks Game theory
So the advantages of working with industry are … The challenges of industry make us think out of the box and address new challenges Leading to new maths in the process Which leads to great teaching examples and lots of student motivation! But.. How can we achieve this in practice???
Study groups: a way of fostering interaction Study Group Model (in use all over the world) Bring academics, students and industrialists together Pose industrial problems on the first day Work on the problems for a week in teams Great training experience! http://www.maths-in-industry.org/miis/ Case studies at
Example 6: A team project from industry illuminating an equation (literally) Fluorescent light tubes Temperature at each AC cycle V Applied voltage Q. Why do fluorescent tubes need a starter?
Tilted Cusp bifurcation T V Challenge: Find the steady states HINT: Solve a quadratic equation.
In Conclusion Go for it! Industry will need all the mathematicians it can get if it is to survive and grow … And that means all of our students!!!!! Who can learn a lot of exciting maths from industrial problems