September has come around already!
My virology work placement came and went so quickly. Great experience. I was certainly not expecting it to be such a creative process. Or should I say "necessarily creative process". It seems with research like this, you really do need to be mindful of other results popping out of your work. If the tangent appears to be more important/meaningful than the original work, then it's best to follow it!
Of course this creative approach gives rise to a bit of a problem. The project has the potential to meander. I suppose this would be fine on a longer time scale, but for my all-too-brief 8 weeks it meant I wasn't able to neatly draw a line under it by the end of the placement.
Though having said that, the work that I was looking at wasn't time-dependant so I still have however long I want to complete the project in my spare time. After this next year of study I'd love to return to it.
Speaking which... my next year of study has started! I won't be informed of my assigned tutor for about another month, but I have my learning materials. So learning has begun! This year it's complex analysis. Very excited to be looking at this subject, and to be writing up the areas I have difficulty with on here.
(Side note: Wow, I've been writing on this blog for 5 years?!)
Normally I'd take a well-earned break from mathematics during the Summer. Recharge for my next module that starts up in September.
Not this year!
This year, I've managed to take a short career break from my normal job to work as a work placement student in mathematics research!
So for eight weeks I'll be getting a taste of real life mathematics research! I've been lucky enough to be accepted into the mathematical biology research group at the University of York. Specifically, I'll be looking at mathematical virology, but the relevance to the current times is purely by chance: I first started arranging this placement about a year ago.
In my placement I'll be using group theory and linear algebra to produce predictions of virus structure.
It seems that all viruses appear to have the same symmetry as an icosahedron. But it turns out that you can find more icosahedral symmetry by translating an icosahedron along its axes of symmetry to create a larger non-crystallographic structure. When you do this according to strict rules, it turns out that you can start to predict overall virus structure. You can predict not just what it looks like on the outside, but what it may look like inside too.
I'm very early on in the position, but it's already fascinating. I'll be updating here when I can about how I get on with the experience.