Bethany Evans

How did you get involved in the Nuffield Research Placements Programme and why did you want to take part in the programme?

I've always been a passionate mathematician and in general I really love learning and finding out new things. Reading 'Finding Moonshine' by Marcus du Sautoy opened up my eyes to the idea of multiple dimensions. It inspired me to do some research into multiple dimensions. Around the same time I heard of the Gold Crest and Nuffield Research Placement schemes through school.  I thought that some mathematical research, formal report writing and experience would be useful for when I study maths at university.

What were the aims of your project, and how did you go about achieving these?

The aim of my project was to research four-dimensional genetic shapes to see whether their corresponding graphs belonged to the set of lgraphs, which are commonly referred to as 'good' graphs. My main aim was to research the specific root system (D4) to see if it has properties that make it useful for routing. This research aimed to solve the question posed by M. Deza in his monograph of 2004. 

What did you learn most from your placement experience? 

I learnt a lot about how mathematical research works. My project involved degree level mathematics and lots of extra study. I also learnt how to formally write a conjecture and a proof. Another big achievement was getting to grips with multiple dimensions, which I found really challenging at the start. 

What was it like exhibiting at the Big Bang? 

Exhibiting at the Big Bang Fair was fantastic. I spent ages preparing my posters; I was so pleased that so many people looked at them and asked questions about my project. At the fair I met lots of other competitors, and found out about their own projects.  When I wasn't being judged, I went to some of the events (Braniac Live and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation). The awards ceremony was a great night and I was so surprised to win!