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.