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Our History

UCL was perhaps the first university in England to admit women on equal terms with men, in 1878. The department of mathematics followed this illustrious precedent by appointing one of the very first female Professors in Applied Mathematics in the UK (possibly the first). Professor Susan N. Brown worked here for 39 years, retiring in 2003.

Raised in south-coast England, Susan was an undergraduate at Oxford University and gained a prize-winning First in Mathematics. She began her doctoral research there in 1959 at Oxford with George Temple as her supervisor and completed her thesis on theoretical fluid mechanics by 1964. Before then Susan also began what became a long, close and fruitful association with Keith Stewartson, leader in the subject at the time, moving with him to Durham in 1962, Newcastle in 1963, followed by UCL in 1964. She stayed on the staff in the Mathematics Department at UCL as Lecturer, Reader and from 1986 Professor until her retirement in 2003, becoming thereafter an Emeritus Professor.

Susan collaborated with many people, and her supreme analytical skills combined with research attitude, determination and intellectual honesty were and are recognised universally. This led to pioneering research in aerodynamics, geophysical fluid dynamics, engine dynamics, particularly on vortex breakdown, critical layers, delta wings, hypersonics, critical layers, triple–deck theory, spot disturbances, leading- and trailing-edge effects, rotating fluids, linear and nonlinear stability, and much more. It also led to a great many international visits, especially in the USA to work with Tuncer Cebeci, Sid Leibovich, H K Cheng, Odus Burggraf, and to international fame: Brown and Stewartson together became world leaders in the 60s and 70s (and there remains a delightful correspondence by airmail between the two during those times.) Susan continued in research with UCL departmental colleagues until her retirement. Working with her guaranteed a study of the very highest standard but also she attracted a certain warmth from all who knew her, being kind, understanding, open, dedicated, among many other fine qualities. Derek Moore, also a distinguished applied mathematician, at Imperial College, and Susan lived together in a long close association in later years. Her teaching was excellent throughout despite a (too) heavy load, it was always clear and top-rate and coupled with care for all students.

We are very proud of this historic appointment, and as a department we are working hard to encourage female mathematicians at all levels.

Current Staff

  • Dr Hannah Fry
    Hannah is a lecturer in the Mathematics of Cities at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL, and is an Honorary Lecturer at the Department of Mathematics. She works alongside a unique mix of physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists & geographers to study the pattens in human behaviour - particularly in an urban setting. Her research applies to a wide range of social problems and questions, from shopping and transport to urban crime, riots and terrorism.
    Alongside her academic position, Hannah is currently an EPSRC public engagement fellow, taking the joy of maths into theatres, pubs and schools. Her first book "The Mathematics of Love" will be published by TED in February 2015. She also co-presents the BBC worldwide YouTube channel BritLabs (formerly Headsqueeze) and regularly appears on TV and radio in the UK.
    Please click here for Hannah's personal webpage.

  • Dr Cuiye He
    Cuiyu obtained her Ph.D. in the Department of Mathematics, Purdue University. She was mentored by Prof. Zhiqiang Cai and studied the robust a posteriori error estimation for finite element approximations of interface problems. The a posteriori error estimation plays a key role in the adaptive mesh refinement procedure. Cuiyu currently works as a Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Mathematics at UCL, working with Prof. Erik Burman. Her research will focus on the project that aims to apply nonconforming finite element method in the application of shape optimization and inverse image identification.
  • Dr Kim Moore
    Kim completed her MMath at the University of Bath in 2012, before undertaking her PhD at Cambridge Centre for Analysis at the University of Cambridge. She was supervised jointly by Jason Lotay (UCL) and Alexei Kovalev (Cambridge) and her thesis, Deformation theory of Cayley submanifolds, focussed on a special type of volume minimising submanifolds which naturally arise in manifolds with special holonomy. She is now holds an EPSRC Doctoral Prize at UCL, where she continues to work on problems in geometric analysis.
  • Dr Hao Ni
    Hao is a senior lecturer in financial mathematics at UCL and a UCL faculty fellow at Alan Turing Institute since September 2016. Prior to this she was a visiting postdoctoral researcher at ICERM and Department of Applied Mathematics at Brown University from 2012/09 to 2013/05 and continued her postdoctoral research at the Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance until 2016. She finished her D.Phil. in mathematics in 2012 under the supervision of Professor Terry Lyons at University of Oxford. Her research interests include stochastic analysis, financial mathematics and machine learning. More specifically she is interested in non-parametric modelling effects of data streams through rough paths theory and statistical models. Rough paths theory is a non-linear extension of classical theory of control differential equations to model highly oscillatory systems, and the core concept in rough paths theory is the signature of a path, which can be used as useful features for learning to summarize sequential data in terms of its effect. Moreover, she is also interested in its applications, e.g. online Chinese handwritten character and financial data streams.
  • Prof Karen Page
    Karen took her DPhil in Oxford in Mathematical Biology, after which she spent two years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Her first lecturing post was in UCL's Computer Science department; she moved to the Maths department in 2006. She is currently on maternity leave.
  • Dr Nadia Sidorova
    Nadia graduated from Moscow State University and completed her PhD at University of Kaiserslautern, Germany, in 2003. In her thesis she studied stochastic processes on Riemannian manifolds. After that she took a postdoctoral position at Oxford to work on Rough Paths theory. Then she moved to Bath for another postdoctoral appointment and started working on random processes in random environments. This field of research is still one of her main interests. Nadia moved to UCL in 2007 and is now a Reader. She works in the area of Probability.
  • Prof Helen Wilson studied at Cambridge before taking a two-year postdoctoral appointment in Chemical Engineering in Boulder, Colorado. She was a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Leeds for four years before moving to UCL in 2004. She is now a Reader and deputy head of department. Her research focuses on complex fluids: bouncy, gritty or sloppy liquids that don't follow the standard rules of water flow.

  • Prof Sarah Zerbes
    Sarah completed her PhD in 2005 in Cambridge under the supervision of Professor John Coates; the topic of her thesis was non-commutative Iwasawa theory of elliptic curves. She then spent a year at the IHES before moving to Imperial College London for two years as a Chapman fellow. She then became a lecturer at the University of Exeter, and she joined the number theory group at UCL in 2012. Currently, her research is concerned with modular forms and Iwasawa theory. She has previously been working extensively on the interplay between Iwasawa theory and p-adic Hodge theory. Her non-mathematical interests include climbing (rock and ice), skiing, reading, cooking and languages.


PhD Students

  • Georgina Al-Badri
  • Khadija Alamoudi
  • Holly Brannelly
  • Carmen Cabrera Arnau
  • Yik Tung Chan
  • Pengcheng Chen
  • Eleanor Doman
  • Giada Grossi
  • Nikoleta Kalaydzhieva
  • Antigoni Kleanthous
  • Dmitra Kyriakopoulou
  • Anna Lambert
  • Zihua Liu
  • Giulia Luise
  • Emily Maw
  • Jessica Renton
  • Sally Said
  • Belgin Seymenoglu
  • Erin Sutton

Further details about these PhD students is available on the Mathematics PhD Students webpage.


European Women in Mathematics Travel Grants

European Women in Mathematics (EWM) will start awarding a few grants each year for female mathematicians that are EWM members and are at an early stage of their career or work in a developing country, who need funding (travel and/or accommodation, up to 400 EUR) for participating and giving a talk at a significant conference in their field.

There will be two deadlines per year for applications:  June 1st and December 1st.

The applicant should submit to contact@europeanwomeninmaths.org the following:

-a CV

-a short letter from the PhD advisor (in case of PhD students) or of the applicant (in case of PhD holders) describing the relevance of participating at that event and motivating the need of funding.

-a presentation abstract, names and institutional affiliations of co-authors and an estimate of the expenses for which the application is made.

Grant holders will be expected to represent the EWM when participating in the meeting for which the funding was applied for. In particular, the EWM logo should be added to talks and posters that the successful applicant presents. Moreover, promotional material (that will be sent to the applicant before the meeting) should be laid out at the registration desk of the meeting if agreed by the organizers.