A coffee with...

Published on March 2nd, 2013 | by Stephanie

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Jason Siddaway

Position: Phd Candidate, La Trobe University.

How do you introduce yourself at parties?
It depends a little on the company. Usually as a PhD student of atmospheric science. Sometimes as an atmospheric physicist.

Do you think that mathematicians deserve the “geek” tag?
Yes and why not? Nowadays its almost fashionable to be a geek or a nerd. I think the two words used to be quite separate in their meaning, but it seems to be more interchangeable.
They should be proud to be geeks!

How do you use maths in your work?
Usually on a statistical basis, looking at trends between variables between temperatures, chemical composition, winds, etc. It could be simple linear trends, correlation coefficients, median values, standard deviation, both sample and population deviations. There is mathematical principles embedded in satellite observations such as optical scattering theory, such as Mie theory, dynamic relationships such as potential vorticity, as a measure of how stable in the atmosphere is with respect to transport of chemical tracers, both in the horizontal and vertical direction. Fourier transformations to break down components of wave motion in the atmosphere.

What has maths done for you lately?
Without maths I wouldn’t be doing any research! Maths enables problem solving, which is at the core of any understanding of the world around us.

Do you have a favourite application or theory of maths?
Fourier theory is incredibly elegant and useful, but I would have to say the basic building blocks of applied mathematics such as geometry, trigonometry and calculus.

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