Powered by MathJax From GCSE Maths, to Rocket Scientist...: I'm Back, Sort of...

Friday, 30 December 2016

I'm Back, Sort of...

Well, what an incredible two years it has just been.

I am writing tonight because I was prompted by an anon comment which arrived on my iphone, earlier, saying 'what happened?'.

Well, thank you anon, for prompting me, and good question...

I am pleased to report the following events.

I studied hard for my complex analysis course with the Open University, averaging over 70% for my course work (TMA's) and then I attended my exam in Coventry in the summer.  The exam was three hours long and I knew that I had to answer most of the part one question correctly, to stand a chance of a decent grade 2 result (70 - 84%).  The invigilator opened the exam and I leafed through the paper, trying to prepare myself for the hard slog ahead.  Unfortunately, I spotted an immediate problem.  A question which I had practiced well came up; however, it required an algebraic manipulation which completely stumped me.

I went through more questions and spotted another nightmare which needed some deft calculation.

Anyway nil desperandum, I thought, as I ploughed through the questions averaging about 8 mins per sum in the first hour.  But then things took a turn for the worst.  I felt mental fatigue setting in and I began having difficulty remembering the most basic of formula.

Two hours later, I left the exam and sat in my car for an hour.  Not moving.  I knew I had stumbled and had begun to plan for my, soon to be wasted, year of resitting.

However, I don't quite know how, but my exam result arrived in the inbox about 8 weeks after the big day and, somehow, I passed with a grade 2 result!

The relief was unbelievable and I don't know how, to this day, I picked up the needed marks to achieve my target grade.

What happened then was completely unplanned and fortuitous.

I proudly accepted my BSc (Hons) Open degree in Mathematics and Humanities with a 2.1 grade and started to prepare applications to send in for MSc programmes which focussed on mathematics and big data (a new interest of mine), as well as being accepted as an associate member of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.

However, during that time, my professional life (which I have never discussed in this blog) offered me an opportunity to do some research (I had been working in the criminal justice sector) as part of a new post.

I started researching and realised - Hey, I love it!  The enrichment and satisfaction gained from pouring through literature, critically evaluating and then synthesising new knowledge is beyond description.

A large part of my research involved doing mathematics, crunching numbers and designing methods for evaluating criminal justice processes, as well as using fuzzy cognitive mapping to analyse social networks.

In short, the draw towards research was irresistible so I promptly stopped preparations for my MSc plans and set about organising a bold step towards getting accepted directly onto a doctorate.

Now, my blogging journey was always meant to document my path from my GSCE in maths, to a PhD; and. I have to admit, there have been times when I lost hope of ever getting there.  It's really, really hard.

But, I am pleased to announce that 3 months ago, I started as a part-time student on a doctorate programme at Keele University studying Criminology after accepting an unconditional offer.

Now, I know, I can hear you saying - Criminology?  that's not maths - and you are right.

However, although I am still honing my research question; unless things change, I am planning to use fuzzy cognitive mapping (yes, some maths) to explore the networks involved in some criminological areas.

So, in my maths degree, I avoided applied maths like the plague; and now, I'm writing a thesis using it!  Go figure.

So, my friends, I don't know where to go from here with regards to this blog.

I'm not sure how interested people would be to hear about my doctoral escapades or whether it simply wouldn't interest my usual audience of aspiring hard-core mathematicians.

All I can say is make your voice heard and leave a comment below, if you would like me to carry on blogging.

Otherwise, I will bid a farewell to those who have supported me with their kind words, over the last several years, and wish you all a very happy new year. (Especially you, Chris F)

I think I ought to make you aware that I now plan to partake in what is now a traditional pint of Bishops Finger, to celebrate new year.

Ooh Matron!


  1. Always interested in reading your posts if you have time to write them. Congratulations. You have achieved a huge amount in the last few years and carried on where others have stumbled. Well done.

  2. Just discovered and read through some (not all!) of your posts. Amazing achievement, well done!! Best of luck with the PhD.