The Maths + Cancer Podcast - how mathematics and statistics enhance cancer research

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The Maths + Cancer podcast explores the extraordinary and unexpected ways mathematics and statistics is being applied to cancer research across Oxford and beyond.

The podcast hostVicky Neale, is the Whitehead Lecturer here in the Mathematical Institute and Supernumerary Fellow at Balliol College. This podcast series is both a personal and professional endeavour for Vicky. 

Since March 2021, Vicky has been receiving treatment for a rare form of cancer, prompting her to discover more about how her colleagues in the mathematical community are contributing to cancer research – from prevention, through to diagnosis and treatment.

Throughout the series she will talk to a range of experts to find out more about the role of mathematics and statistics in cancer research, as well as to discover more about the people behind the work.

In the episodes, she will discuss the relevance of maths to cancer with Philip Maini and explore the importance of the communication of risk with David Spiegelhalter. She’ll also be chatting with medical physicist Tom Whyntie about the role of mathematics in medical imaging and cancer treatment, and seeing how numbers might not tell the whole story with Hannah Fry. In the fifth episode Vicky talks to mathematical biologist Helen Byrne about how modelling can provide predictive tools for growth and response to treatment of solid tumours and in the final episode of the series fellow mathematical biologist Heather Harrington explains how the maths is responding to the increasing complexity of the medical data. You can listen to all the podcasts via the links below.

The Maths + Cancer series is part of Cancer at Oxford which brings together the vast range of work that is being done in the University to increase our understanding of the many diseases that comprise cancer. You can find out more details about the podcast series here.

Use the smaller toolbar in the podcast window below to scroll down through the series.


Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 20 Dec 2022 - 09:16.

Maryam Mirzakhani Scholarship for female DPhil (PhD) students

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The new scholarship, enabled by founding and principal donor XTX Markets, launches in memory of Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani.

A £2.48 million gift from founding and principal donor XTX Markets, the global algorithmic trading firm, will enable the endowment of a Maryam Mirzakhani scholarship scheme at the University of Oxford, to help talented female graduates pursue doctoral studies in mathematics at Oxford.

The new scholarships commemorate the life and work of Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani (1977-2017), who became the first female mathematician to win the Fields Medal, in 2014. This award is one of the highest global honours in mathematics, awarded to exceptional mathematicians under the age of 40 every four years.

The Maryam Mirzakhani Scholarship aims to address the disproportionately low levels of representation of women applying for and completing postgraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Nationally, only 29 per cent of postgraduate research students identify as female, according to figures from HESA.

The gift from XTX Markets endows fully funded scholarships for students of any nationality to complete a standard four-year DPhil in Mathematics programme at Oxford’s Mathematical Institute, with the first scholar expected to commence their studies in October 2023.

Professor James Sparks, Head of Department for Oxford’s Mathematical Institute, said: "Addressing the underrepresentation of women on the DPhil in Mathematics programme and encouraging female students to pursue postgraduate study are key priorities for us in the Mathematical Institute. We're extremely grateful to XTX Markets for recognising and supporting our commitment with the Maryam Mirzakhani Scholarship, and for their wider support across the Mathematical Sciences."

Simon Coyle, Head of Philanthropy at XTX Markets, said: "XTX Markets is proud to be the Founding and Principal Donor of the Maryam Mirzakhani Scholarship at the University of Oxford. We hope that this prestigious opportunity will inspire more women to pursue mathematics at the highest level and support them to follow in Maryam Mirzakhani’s footsteps."

Further details on the Maryam Mirzakhani Scholarship can be found here.

XTX Markets is also supporting the Oxford University Graduate Scholarships for Ukraine scheme with a grant of £602,550 from its £15m Academic Sanctuaries Fund, which was established to help deliver academic sanctuary for students and researchers affected by the war in Ukraine. This will help up to 18 graduate students who have been displaced by the war in Ukraine to complete a full-time taught master’s course at Oxford.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 05 Dec 2022 - 00:54.

Anyone for a mince pi? Mathematical modelling of festive foods - Helen Wilson

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In this Oxford Mathematics Christmas Public Lecture we look at a variety of delicious delights through a lens of fluid dynamics and mathematical modelling. From perfect roast potatoes to sweet sauces, mathematics gets everywhere!

Helen Wilson is Head of the Department of Mathematics at UCL. She is best known for her work on the chocolate fountain (which features in this lecture) but does do serious mathematical modelling as well.

Watch on our Oxford Mathematics YouTube Channel at 5pm on 20th December and any time after.

The Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures are generously supported by XTX Markets.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 02 Dec 2022 - 11:44.

Postgraduate Open Day - now online

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Our annual Postgraduate Open Day is now available on our YouTube Channel. Hear about postgraduate life in Oxford from our students, the range of DPhil and taught master's programmes we offer from our faculty, and tips on how to decide whether postgraduate life is for you, and if you think it is, the best way of making it a success.

We have a range of scholarships including the Jane Street scholarships, four fully-funded postgraduate scholarships for UK Black or Mixed-Black students, the Martingale Postgraduate Foundation Scholarships for outstanding UK students to complete STEM master's and PhDs at leading UK research universities, the Pembroke Black Academic Futures Scholarship, the newly created Maryam Mirzakhani Scholarship for female DPhil students and the Heilbronn Doctoral Partnership Scholarship.

In addition we have the Wang Scholarship for DPhil candidates providing full fees and a stipend for four years, and the Charles Coulson Scholarship in Mathematical Physics, available to DPhil candidates in Mathematical Physics and providing full fees and a stipend for four years. We also have fully funded studentships available for the CDT in Mathematics of Random Systems.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 25 Nov 2022 - 00:00.

A Mathematician's Guide to the World Cup

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In 2010 Paul the Octopus 'correctly' predicted results in the 2010 World Cup. However, these days the experts are the analysts who trawl through the reams of data about players and teams. And where there is data, there is mathematics. And, particularly, mathematical models. Joshua Bull is a mathematical modeller. He was also the winner of the 2020 Fantasy Football competition from over eight million entrants. So when it came to the Oxford Mathematics 2022 World Cup predictor, Josh fitted the bill perfectly. Honing in on the data, applying his modelling skills, and adding a pinch of the assumptions that inform modelling (disclaimer: he is an Ipswich Town fan), Josh has come up with the answers - or rather, likely outcomes.

You can see what you think about his predictions and his methods via the video below. He is also going to be providing predictions of individual games starting with England-Iran and including all the later knockout games on our social media channels (links at the bottom of this email).

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 17 Nov 2022 - 00:09.

MAT (Mathematics Admissions Test) in 10 minutes or less

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Yesterday over 5000 applicants took the Mathematics Admissions Test, the entrance test used for undergraduate mathematics at Oxford, and other courses at Oxford and other universities. It's a two and a half hour exam. Here Dr James Munro gives you all the answers in 10 minutes or less.

The MAT is used by Oxford Mathematics to help us decide which candidates to invite for interview.

There are more MAT resources here and more supporting videos here


Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 03 Nov 2022 - 13:39.

Oxford Mathematics Public Lecture: Signatures of Streams - Terry Lyons

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Wednesday 2 November, 5 pm, Mathematical Institute, Oxford

A calculator processes numbers without caring that these numbers refer to items in our shopping, or the calculations involved in designing an airplane. Number without context is a remarkable abstraction that we learn as infants and which has profoundly affected our world.

Our lives start, progress in complex ways, and are finally complete. So do tasks executed on a computer. Multimodal streams are a pervasive “type”, and even without fixing the context, have a rich structure. Developing this structure leads to wide-ranging tools that have had award-winning impact on methodology in health care, finance, and computer technology.

Terry Lyons is Professor of Mathematics in Oxford and a Fellow of St Anne's College. His research is supported through the DataSig and Cimda-Oxford programmes. 

Please email @email to register.

The lecture will be available on our Oxford Mathematics YouTube Channel on 09 November at 5 pm.

The Oxford Mathematics Public Lectures are generously supported by XTX Markets.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 22 Oct 2022 - 20:53.

Introduction to University Mathematics - watch now

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In their first two weeks of their first term - which started just last week - Oxford Mathematics Undergraduates take the 'Introduction to University Mathematics' course, introducing them to the concepts and ways of mathematical thinking that they will use in the years ahead. Much of the context will be familiar from high school but the way we think and write about it at university, and construct arguments and proofs, is more rigorous. In summary it is a recap and a pointer to what is to come for our students.

We are showing the whole course over eight lectures over the next few weeks to help aspiring students whatever their ambition or destination. This is Lecture 1. Some of the accompanying materials (slides and problem sheets) are publicly available here

Dip in as you wish; and enjoy


Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 19 Oct 2022 - 16:05.

Oxford Mathematician Kaibo Hu wins SIAM Early Career Prize

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Kaibo Hu has been awarded the SIAM Early Career Prize in Computational Science and Engineering for "contributions to the finite element exterior calculus, particularly structure-preserving numerical algorithms for magnetohydrodynamics.”

Kaibo is Royal Society University Research Fellow in Oxford Mathematics and Christ Church College. He works on numerical PDEs, particularly finite element exterior calculus, a framework that preserves topological and geometric structures of continuous problems in numerical computation. His recent results include applications of the Bernstein-Gelfand-Gelfand resolution as a systematic approach for analysing and discretising PDEs, with potential applications to geometry, continuum mechanics and numerical general relativity. 

Kaibo will be awarded the prize at the 2022 SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering (CSE23), scheduled to take place February 26 – March 3, 2023 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where he will give a plenary lecture.

Established in 2016, the prize is awarded every two years to one post-PhD early career researcher in the field of computational science and engineering for outstanding, influential, and potentially long-lasting contributions to the field within seven years of receiving the PhD or equivalent degree as of January 1 of the award year.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 19 Oct 2022 - 00:28.

Oxford Mathematics joins Martingale Postgraduate Foundation programme

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Oxford Mathematics is delighted to be a partner in the Martingale Postgraduate Foundation's programme of scholarships for students wishing to pursue postgraduate studies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects.

Martingale is a new postgraduate foundation that offers full funding and multi-year support for outstanding UK students to complete STEM PhDs at leading UK research universities. The first cohort will be concentrated on mathematics.

In today’s modern job market, particularly in STEM, postgraduate degrees are now increasingly required for academic and career advancement. According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills Report, there is an annual shortfall of 40,000 STEM skilled workers and demand is expected to increase in the future. For many students, financial costs are a significant barrier to postgraduate education. Student loans alone are inadequate in covering tuition fees, especially when taking into account the rising cost of living.    

To address this, Martingale Scholars will receive funding for the full cost of a master’s and a PhD course. The scholarship will also include a full cost of living allowance, as well as an additional budget for research activities. The foundation will prioritise students for whom family income has been or would be a barrier to postgraduate education.

For its first cohort, Martingale is partnering with five leading research universities in the UK to provide scholarships in select master’s and PhD programmes in mathematics: the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, King’s College London, the University of Oxford, and University College London. The foundation plans to expand its scholarships to other STEM subjects and universities in the next few years.

In addition to having their tuition fees fully funded by Martingale, Scholars will also receive access to outstanding career development opportunities. This includes attending leadership events and residentials, internships and industry placements, as well as opportunities to contribute to public engagement projects. Scholars will join a community of researchers and a network of leading universities and businesses across the UK.

For its first year, Martingale Foundation is looking for a cohort of scholars at each university who wish to pursue their postgraduate studies and research in mathematics, commencing in September 2023.

James Sparks, Head of the Mathematical Institute in Oxford, said: 

"The mathematical sciences are fundamental to UK industry, the economy, as well as mathematical and scientific progress in general. It's vital that we continue to fund and support the next generation of talented mathematics graduate students, whatever their background. The Mathematical Institute is delighted to be partnering with the Martingale Postgraduate Foundation to help ensure that outstanding students have the financial means to pursue graduate study at Oxford, and that talent isn't lost because of personal or family financial circumstances."

Applications will open today, 6th October. Undergraduates in mathematics who are in their final year, as well as recent graduates, are encouraged to apply for the Martingale scholarship.

Applications are welcome from candidates from all backgrounds, especially those for whom family income has been, or would be, a barrier to postgraduate education. Candidates must also be able to demonstrate both academic excellence and a passion for their area of research. More information about eligibility and criteria can be found here and also on the Martingale Foundation website

The Martingale Foundation is a part of Ark Ventures, one of the country’s leading education charities. It is proudly supported by world-leading algorithmic trading company XTX Markets, whose generosity has helped make these scholarships possible.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Created on 06 Oct 2022 - 09:00.