Richardson Professor of Applied Mathematics, Director of Research
Research is about making new discoveries and it's very satisfying when you find something that no one else has spotted before.
How would you summarise your research?
I do the maths that lies behind search engines such as Google, that powers some of the keys on your pocket calculator and that allows engineers to design buildings and bridges that do not fall down.
What do you think makes the School distinctive?
The School of Mathematics covers all areas of mathematics (pure, applied, probability and statistics), is integrated in a single building, and engages in fruitful interactions across areas within the School, with other disciplines and with a growing wide variety of industrial partners.
How do you make your teaching up-to-date, innovative and inspirational?
I draw upon the latest research in order to make sure that the theory and methods I teach reflect the state of the art. I like to give historical context, for example related to the use of computers, so that students can see how our subject has evolved and have an appreciation for the improvements that have been made over the years in our ability to solve real-life mathematical problems.
What do you enjoy most about research?
Research is about making new discoveries and it's very satisfying when you find something that no one else has spotted before, such as a new theorem or a faster or more accurate algorithm for solving a computational problem.
What have been the highlights of your career?
The highlight of my career was being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2007.
How long have you been at the School? What keeps you there?
I've been in the School about 30 years. The School of Mathematics in Manchester is one of the best places in the world to do research and teaching in mathematics, and the Alan Turing building provides the perfect home for these activities thanks to the close involvement of members of the School in its design.