﻿ Maths of Planet Earth | Limitless Applications

A coffee with...

Published on November 20th, 2013 | by Stephanie

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# Mahrita Harahap

Position: Masters of Statistics (Environmental Statistics) student, UNSW: Honours student in Mathematics and Finance, UTS: Lab Tutor, UTS

How do you introduce yourself at parties?
Hi I’m Mahrita, aka a Mathstronaut, and I endeavour to contribute to saving the world on a daily basis 🙂

Why mathematics?
Everything in the world revolves around the challenge and the beauty of mathematics.

Do you think that mathematicians deserve the “geek” tag?
Technically no because geek is short for “gamer freak”, unless you find coding in Matlab and R like a problem solving game, then yes.

What area of mathematics and why?
Applied Mathematics and Statistics. In particular mathematical epidemiology and environmental statistics.

Mathematical epidemic models are important because they are used to inform policy makers on issues that threaten human health or have an adverse impact on the economy. Environmental extreme modelling is important because in light of recent concerns over climate change, the use of robust statistical methods for analyses on extreme events such as rainfall has grown in importance in order to prevent the significant impact of floods or droughts. I am currently completing my thesis on statistically modelling extreme rainfall in South-West Western Australia using generalised extreme value models and spatial extremes.

What has maths done for you lately?
I just completed a course on Complex Networks at the AMSI (Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute) summer school this year and I can’t look at social networks or facebook the same way again.  So you could say that lately maths has again changed the way I perceive our world.

Do you have a favourite application or theory of maths?
All mathematics is beautiful.  However, I am fascinated by the fact that the golden ratio is applied in designing everything that occupies this world. Things such as  nature, the human body and architecture – to name but a few.[subscribe2]