STRATFORD-upon-Avon mum Martine Barons has just graduated with a maths-centred PhD from Warwick University—after twice being told by her school teachers that she would not cope with the maths at A-level.
Martine’s interest in mathematics began to develop at age 16 when the penny seemed to drop shortly before her O-level exams.
Despite being predicted a ‘C’ grade and achieving a ‘B’, she was told she wouldn’t cope with ‘A’ level and so did not pursue it.
Fast-forward 25 years, now married with three teenage sons and a plan to become a teacher, Martine enrolled at Stratford College and passed A-level maths with the top grade.
She went to Coventry University where she was introduced to mathematical modelling—representing a part of the real world with mathematics to predict its behaviour—and was enthralled with the idea that maths can be used to make people’s lives better e.g. by improving traffic flows or revealing the best strategy for dealing with an epidemic.
At the end of her degree, Martine was offered a place on the MSc+PhD course at Warwick’s Complexity Science centre.
Once again, one of her teachers told her she wouldn’t cope. Martine said: “I thought they were probably right, but I really wanted to do it, so I thought I would rather try and fail, than not try.”
In the event, Martine passed both her master’s degree and doctorate and has now secured a research position at the University of Warwick.
Martine’s doctoral research compared the efficacy of machine learning and statistical techniques for the tailoring of medical treatments to patients.
Her current research uses mathematics to bring together the diverse elements involved in food security in a coherent way to support decision-making and test policy options.
“With a predicted nine billion mouths to feed by 2050, food security is a very hot topic right now and this research fits very firmly into the use of maths to make people’s lives better which I find so inspiring.”
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