My research interest lies in differential equations. Any time you want to describe movement of any type, such as stock prices, there’s a fairly good chance the scientific object that is modelling that movement is a differential equation - so that’s a large topic.
What I’m really interested in are these fundamental mathematical questions, and trying to find the absolutely essential mathematical ingredient that will create a phenomenon. Can I get a mathematical effect that will really generate a certain behaviour?
Mathematics as a life skill
I love explaining this sort of stuff to students. Mathematical thinking is phenomenally important in the real world. It enables us to really understand what is happening or not happening, and trying to isolate those things. That clarity of thinking that comes in mathematics and that I try to build into my students is critical. It helps you to step back, see the bigger picture, think about the problem in general and make the right response.
One thing that might interest people in a maths degree is the mathematics itself, the beautiful patterns and connections between things. Other people are interested in what that does for their understanding of the real world or their career, so they’re interested in the applications.
If you’re thinking about a career in finance, or actuary, we have those dedicated programs at DCU. We’re going to show you the mathematics that really underpins things, and you’re going to have real practical skills and a great way of thinking about things for the future.
John Appleby is Head of School of Mathematical Sciences, in the Faculty of Science and Health