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Name: Tosin Babasola

Job Title: Mathematical Researcher

Organisation: University of Bath

Number of years in current position:  Five years

Qualifications: BSc, MSc, MRes, PhD

Briefly describe the organisation you work for.

I currently work for the University of Bath, both as a researcher and teaching assistant where I support learning and help improve the mathematical skills of students.

Explain what you do on an average day at work.

In most work days, I engage in two main activities. Firstly, as a researcher, I dedicate time to advancing mathematical knowledge. This involves conducting research, analysing data, and contributing to the academic community through knowledge exchange and publications. Secondly, as a teaching assistant, I support student learning by assisting in lectures, conducting tutorials, and helping students improve their maths skills.

Tell us more about your research…

My research focuses on investigating the impact of climate change on cocoa farming using a mathematical model and climate data. The goal is to further understand crop behaviour as we experience a long-term shift in temperatures and weather patterns.

The mathematical model is based on the delay differential equation which accounts for the system’s past behaviour and generally helps to describe systems which do not involve instantaneous change. In many physical phenomena such as crop growth there are time lags between stimulus and response. The crops do not visibly react straight away to the influence of the climate. It often takes some time before the effect of such exposure is felt and this is accounted for using the delay differential equation.

What do you like most about your job?

What I find most satisfying about my job is the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of mathematical knowledge through research and to positively impact students’ education by supporting in the development of their maths skills. This dual role allows me to balance theoretical exploration with practical application.

What stimulated your interest in maths, and when?

My interest in mathematics started at an early stage which was driven by a natural curiosity and fascination with problem-solving. My dad and teachers played a significant role in stimulating this interest. While teachers at school ensured a conducive learning environment, my dad engaged with me at home by going through various maths questions. I remember always feeling very happy whenever I learned a new mathematical concept and managed to solve a mathematics question. So, from time to time, a mathematics textbook is always my go-to book, and frequent practice increases my desire.

However, when I wanted to go to university, I applied to study engineering because I thought that was the only field where I could use mathematics. But due to later exposure, I understood that mathematics is multi-faceted, and I can work in any chosen field if I have adequate mathematical skills. Since then, I have never looked back and have undergone training in diverse areas of mathematics, earning four master’s degrees and a Ph.D., all within the neighbourhood of mathematical sciences.

Nonetheless, I must say during my academic journey I encountered challenges, but there is satisfaction in solving complex problems with mathematics, which further ignites my passion.

What influenced your career choice?

The decision to pursue a career in mathematical research with teaching was influenced by a combination of personal interest and a desire to make a tangible impact. I recognised the power of mathematics to address real-world challenges and saw the potential to contribute to both theoretical understanding and practical applications. The joy of now applying mathematics to all these different fields is enormous.

Which skills do you consider to be essential for your job?

In addition to a good academic background, curiosity and perseverance are two essential skills for a researcher. Curiosity drives the exploration of new mathematical concepts, while perseverance is crucial in overcoming challenges and seeing research projects through to completion. These qualities are highly essential as they enhance meaningful contributions to research.

Any advice you may have for other individuals considering your career path?

My main advice for anyone considering a career in mathematical research is to embrace their uniqueness. Mathematics is a field for everyone, and diverse perspectives can lead to innovative solutions. Also, cultivate curiosity, persevere through challenges, and recognise that your individual approach adds value to the field.

“I would like everyone to know that maths is fun, maths is for everyone and everyone can do maths”

Most importantly, I would like everyone to know that maths is fun, maths is for everyone and everyone can do maths. Maths is not strictly for the so-called genius. Maths is not difficult, it only requires frequent practising. With maths skills, you have excellent career prospects ahead. Finally, never allow anyone to portray maths to you in a way that suggests it’s only for the chosen ones.

Your future career plans?

My future plans involve continuing to apply mathematics to provide solutions to real-world problems. I will be moving abroad for a new role at the University of Georgia in the US, where I will work with a multidisciplinary team of scientists in the development of mathematical approaches for controlling the spread of diseases. My ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between theoretical research and practical applications in addressing pressing global issues.

What benefits of IMA membership have you observed in your career so far?

Being a member of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) has proven to be invaluable in my career and has significantly contributed to my professional growth in many ways. Firstly, IMA membership has provided me with a network of professionals and researchers in the field of mathematics. This network has opened doors to collaboration, knowledge exchange, and exposure to diverse perspectives within the mathematical community.

Additionally, the IMA has been instrumental in helping me identify various opportunities in mathematics. This includes access to conferences, workshops, and seminars where I can stay updated on the latest developments in the field. The organisation also offers resources and publications such as “Mathematics Today” that have proven to be valuable in providing news and other informative items on mathematics and related topics.

Furthermore, being part of the IMA has allowed me to engage with a broader community of practitioners, fostering a sense of belonging and shared purpose. This sense of community has not only enhanced my professional development but has also provided a platform for discussing and addressing challenges faced by mathematicians.

In general, the benefits of IMA membership are enormous.



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