Scientific Board Member
Prof I. David Abrahams is the N M Rothschild and Sons Professor of Mathematical Sciences and Director of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and past President of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
David has devoted research effort to the broad area of applied mathematics, and specifically to the theoretical understanding of wave processes, since graduating in 1982 with a PhD in theoretical acoustics. He has published extensively in the areas of fluid/structural interactions, nondestructive evaluation, fracture mechanics, electromagnetism, water waves and seismology. He has been particularly concerned over the years with the development of existing or new mathematical techniques, and has had a number of successes in this direction, for example with matrix Wiener-Hopf systems. He is also interested in the application of such methods, for example to problems in physics and engineering, including acoustics, Stokes’ flows in ducts, electromagnetic and geophysical wave propagation and scattering, and recently to mathematical finance. Abrahams is enthusiastic about public engagement activities within the applied mathematics community and gives occasional talks to non-specialists.
Dr Jamie Beacom joined the Smith Institute in July 2019. He holds a DPhil in algebraic number theory and arithmetic geometry from the University of Oxford, where he also completed an MMath. His research involved developing and implementing explicit algorithms towards understanding rational points on curves. During the course of his DPhil he also taught undergraduate students across a range of subjects in pure mathematics.
Outside of work he enjoys salsa dancing, gardening, cooking (and eating), travelling (to sample local food), reading (mostly sci-fi, fantasy and history) and running. In April 2019 he ran the London Marathon, raising money for Versus Arthritis. He’s also interested in conversations around mental wellbeing, having previously volunteered for confidential support lines.
Director of Mathematics
Dr Jakob Blaavand joined the Smith Institute in September 2015, having completed his DPhil in differential and algebraic geometry at the University of Oxford, and taught undergraduates there and at Aarhus University, Denmark, for a total of 7 years.
Dr Blaavand works in the field of spectrum auction design and verification, offering independent advice, verification and testing of auction rules, algorithms and software in auctions worldwide. He has recently concluded a major verification project for the US 600MHz Broadcast Incentive Auction, being responsible for the design of a comprehensive test plan and the verification of all optimisations aspects for the reverse auction, the repackaging and the forward auction.
He has given over 30 public lectures popularising mathematics, on topics including knot theory and the maths of Google.
Jakob and colleagues have published a paper on the use of mathematical optimisation tools in spectrum management to quantitatively evaluate the consequences of spectrum policies through scenario analysis: Unlocking the value of spectrum using optimization tools.
Project Manager and Mathematical Consultant
Dr Tim Boxer joined the Smith Institute in 2002.
Previously, he worked for ArjoWiggins as a Diagnostic Engineer, where he worked on time series and signal analysis, flow through compressible porous media and linear elastic beams.
More recently Tim’s interests have developed into the areas of probabilistic modelling and decision making under uncertainty. Tim holds a PhD in modelling industrial processes from UMIST, and an MSc in Industrial Applied Mathematics from the University of Southampton.
Scientific Board Member
Coralia Cartis is Associate Professor of Numerical Optimisation at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford.
Her research interests include algorithm design, analysis and implementation of large-scale optimisation problems in a number of applications.
Coralia was previously a member of the Industrial Mathematics Knowledge Transfer Network Scientific Committee.
Business Development Director
Dr Claudia Centazzo joined the Smith Institute in 2006 as Business Development Manager and became Business Development Director in 2017.
She has overall responsibility of the Institute’s Business Development activities and manages the Business Development and Marketing teams.
Previously she was an Assistant Lecturer at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium.
Claudia holds a PhD in category theory from UCL and an MSc in Mathematics from Dalhousie University in Canada. Claudia is the co-author of a book chapter on categorical foundations, published by Cambridge University Press in 2004, and she is also fluent in Italian, French and Spanish.
Claudia and colleagues have published a paper on the use of mathematical optimisation tools in spectrum management to quantitatively evaluate the consequences of spectrum policies through scenario analysis: Unlocking the value of spectrum using optimization tools.
Outside work, Claudia likes outdoor sports: a run, hiking or skiing are her favourite options, time has passed since some good international games of Ultimate frisbee. She loves cooking and also enjoys traveling and putting her knowledge of languages to use.
Scientific Board Member
Prof Alan Champneys is Professor of Applied Non-linear Mathematics and Head of Queens School of Engineering at the University of Bristol.
Alan’s research interests include understanding complicated dynamics (e.g. chaos) in physical systems and their application across engineering to aircraft and structural dynamics, power electronics, fluid-structure interaction, numerical bifurcation algorithms for periodic orbits of large systems and localised phenomena. In 2014 he gave the Alan Tayler Lecture at St Catherine’s College, Oxford.
Scientific Board Member
Richard Craster is Professor of Applied Mathematics at Imperial College. His research interests span across Fluid Mechanics and Elasticity/ Electromagnetism, primarily motivated by Engineering and Physics applications, and is often performed in close collaboration with scientists from those disciplines.
In Fluid mechanics, Richard’s interests are in fluid flows on the microscale concentrating on thin film theories, the effects of surfactants , electrokinetics and coupling between elastic substrates and fluid flow.
In Solid Mechanics and Electromagnetism Richard’s current interests are in wrinkling and buckling of thin elastic plates, fracture mechanics, trapped modes, slow waves in optics and high frequency homogenization theory for microstructured media.
Computer Systems Manager
Dr Caroline Edwards joined the Smith Institute in 2008.
Caroline holds a PhD in structural topology optimisation and an MSc in Modern Applications of Mathematics both from the University of Bath.
Caroline’s areas of interest include numerical analysis, linear solver techniques, linear elasticity and finite element modelling.
Outside of work Caroline enjoys baking cakes, ice-skating, travelling to new places and hopes to make it to the Southern Hemisphere one day.
Scientific Board Member
Alison Etheridge OBE is Professor of Probability at the University of Oxford where she holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics and a Fellowship at Magdalen College. She has previously held research fellowships in Oxford and Cambridge and positions in Berkeley, Edinburgh and Queen Mary University of London.
Her interests have ranged from abstract mathematical problems to concrete applications with much of her recent research concerning mathematical models of population genetics.
Alex Evans joined the Smith Institute in August 2017 following the completion of his PhD at the University of Cambridge focused on modelling uncertainty in porous media flows. Prior to this, he earned his MMath degree from the University of Oxford.
In his spare time he enjoys playing real tennis and, when the weather allows, cricket.
Scientific Board Member
Kevin Glazebrook is Distinguished Professor of Operational Research (OR) at Lancaster University holding a joint appointment between the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics (Faculty of Science) and the Department of Management Science (Management School).
He has previously held a Chair in Applied Probability at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and a Chair in Management Science at the University of Edinburgh. He has (co-)authored around 140 papers in outlets which span the leading international journals in OR, applied probability and statistics.
Kevin is co-investigator of the STORI CDT and Investigator of an EPSRC funded Programme Grant entitled “Mathematical models and algorithms for allocating scarce airport resources”.
Senior Marketing and Events Executive
Holly Gurr joined the Smith Institute in March 2017.
Holly manages the Institute’s marketing strategy and coordinates company events including the annual TakeAIM competition, providing an opportunity for university students to demonstrate the impact of their research to a wide academic and commercial audience.
She ended her career as a synchronised swimmer before attending The University of Winchester to read English Literature. Upon graduating Holly worked as a journalist, writing articles on travel and lifestyle, all the while continuing her passion teaching swimming to children.
Dr Thomas Hawes joined the Smith Institute in March 2017. He holds a DPhil in algebraic geometry from the University of Oxford, where he also taught undergraduates. Prior to the Smith Institute, he worked at a technology start-up serving the agricultural sector, applying mathematical modelling and data analysis to support the development of various products.
Outside of work he enjoys cooking, hitting the links to pursue his keen passion for golf and taking any opportunity to go walking in the Highlands.
Chair of the Board
Graeme Hobbs was appointed Chair of the Board of the Smith Institute in May 2018, having served as Non-Executive Director since February 2016. Until July 2015, Graeme was the Chairman of Motorola Solutions UK Ltd, the Country Manager for Motorola Solutions UK, and the Government Affairs lead and regional director for Europe and Africa.
He is a Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
Graeme is also the non executive Chairman of Bristol is Open Ltd, a joint venture between University of Bristol and Bristol City Council focused on smart city applications. Graeme has a number of pro bono roles including Chair of the Audit Committee and Lay member of Council for Southampton University, a Trustee of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and Chair of the Blue Lamp Trust.
Scientific Board Member
Rebecca is a Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Southampton. She works on applications of mathematics to evolutionary biology, biophysics, stochastic dynamics, and dynamics on social networks.
Most recently she has been working on how emotional and social feedback affect rates of cooperation in strategy games, and on the evolution of transgenerational effects in response to changing environments. She is also interested in what makes researchers creative and why, and how collaboration and interdisciplinarity lead to new ideas.
She has also performed stand-up comedy inspired by her research.
Julian Hunt FRS is a British meteorologist who was Director General and Chief Executive of the British Meteorological Office from 1992 to 1997.
He was made a Life Peer in 2000.
He is Professor of Climate modelling in the Department of Space & Climate Physics and Department of Earth Sciences at University College London.
Julian was appointed as Vice President of the Smith Institute in 2015.
Vice President and Chair of the Scientific Board
Frank Kelly is Professor of the Mathematics of Systems at the University of Cambridge.
His main research interests are in random processes, networks and optimization. He is especially interested in applications to the design and control of networks and to the understanding of self-regulation in large-scale systems.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Engineering, and in 2013 he was awarded a CBE for services to mathematical sciences.
Frank was appointed as Vice President to the Smith Institute in 2015.
Business Development Manager
Dr Zoë Kelson joined the Smith Institute in 2012.
Previously she worked at Cardiff University, as a Lecturer in Statistics for the School of Mathematics and as a Research Associate and Statistician for the School of Medicine. Prior to this, Zoë worked as a Senior Decision Science Analyst at HBOS plc., building models for credit risk and marketing.
Zoë holds a PhD in modelling the progression of treatment scenarios in the HIV/AIDS epidemic from Cardiff University. She is a Chartered Statistician of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), where she is committee member of the Business and Industrial Section (BIS). She is also a Chartered Mathematician, Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), where she is member of both the Professional Affairs Committee (PAC) and Council. Her research interests include areas of modelling, operational research, and medical and forensic statistics.
Her non-mathematical interests include sport (badminton and running in particular), travelling the world, piano playing on occasion, going to comedy gigs, reading books (mostly thrillers) on holiday, and food (she likes food).
Dr Georgina Lang joined the Smith Institute in February 2016. Previously she worked as a mathematician at a research and development consultancy, applying mathematical modelling techniques to a broad range of engineering and scientific applications.
Georgina holds an MMath and DPhil in mathematics from the University of Oxford, where her research focussed on modelling the mechanical behaviour of biological tissues.
Michelle Ledbetter joined the Smith Institute in 2014 as a member of technical staff.
Previously, Michelle worked for HR Wallingford as a flood risk scientist, developing flood risk software and decision support tools. Prior to this she undertook a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project with the University of Exeter and HR Wallingford developing tools for long term decision making in flood risk management.
She holds a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Exeter and a PhD in Engineering which focused on the use of Real Options, Multi-objective optimisation and decision making under severe uncertainty.
Outside of work, Michelle enjoys outdoor activities such as hill-walking, cycling and camping with the ambition to one day do the Tour du Mont Blanc! She is also learning to play the piano.
Chief Technical Officer
Dr Robert Leese was appointed as Chief Technical Officer in May 2017, and was previously Chief Executive of the Smith Institute and a member of its Board of Directors since 1999.
He previously held Research Fellowships at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and a visiting position at Brown University.
Robert holds a PhD in mathematical physics from the University of Durham and has been a Fellow of St Catherine’s College, Oxford, since 1993. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and a member of the Peer Review College of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Robert and and colleagues have published a paper on the use of mathematical optimisation tools in spectrum management to quantitatively evaluate the consequences of spectrum policies through scenario analysis: Unlocking the value of spectrum using optimization tools.
Nigel joined the Smith Institute in March 2017 in the role of IT Officer, supporting hardware and software management and all things IT.
Nigel has a BA in English and Philsophy from the University of Wales and a PGCE from the University of Bristol, specialising in English and English as a Foreign Language. He has worked in many diverse jobs, including teaching English in Germany, designing school computer systems and running an IT support company.
Outside work, Nigel enjoys listening to birdsong as he runs through the Oxfordshire countryside, playing the tuba with a local brass band, reading lots and going to the theatre.
David Miller supports the Director in the financial management of the Institute and was appointed to The Board in May 2014.
He is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in the smaller business sector and expanding operations. David qualified with Ernst & Young and then moved to Gillette, rising to Finance Controller in one of the UK divisions. He then gained sales, marketing and finance experience in the manufacturing sector in the USA before joining a Management buy-in buy-out team.
David is currently self-employed and is focused on assisting growing companies expand in a careful and controlled manner.
Business Development Manager
Dr Alexi Reynolds joined the Smith Institute in April 2017. Before this, Alexi was a PhD student in mathematics at the University of Bristol, researching random matrix theory.
Alexi holds an MSci in theoretical physics and applied mathematics from the University of Birmingham. She has also undertaken research projects in plasma physics and nanoscale physics.
Company Administrator and Executive Assistant
Judy Reynolds joined the Institute in 2010.
She supports the Institute’s staff and acts as a liaison between the Council, staff and the Scientific Board. Judy ensures the smooth running of the Smith Institute and is the first point of contact for new enquiries.
President & Founder
Dr Bruce Smith is President and Founder of the Smith Institute.
Until 1997 he was the Chairman and majority shareholder of Smith System Engineering Limited. Before founding that company in 1971, he worked in design engineering for Decca Radar Limited after a period in the United States with Bellcomm Inc in the US Space programme. Bruce was Chairman of the Council of the Smith Institute until May 2018.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institute of Physics. Bruce is a director of a number of private companies, and a Domus Fellow of St Catherine’s College, Oxford.
Chief Executive Officer
Dr Heather Tewkesbury joined the Smith Institute in 2001, was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in May 2017 and has been a member of The Board since 2010. Prior to her current role, Heather was Business Development Director from 2006-2017.
Before joining the Smith Institute, Heather worked as a Modelling Development Manager for Cadbury Trebor Bassett, applying mathematics across all areas of the business.
Heather holds a PhD in modelling heat transfer from the University of Birmingham. She is a Chartered Mathematician, Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, member of the Advisory Board for Warwick University’s MathSys CDT and was an impact assessor for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.
Her interests outside of work include playing violin and viola (but not at the same time), making cakes for friends and family, and kayaking.
Dr Lincoln Wallen is Chief Technology Officer at British technology company, Improbable.
After joining DreamWorks Animation in 2008 as Head of Research and Development, he was promoted to CTO in 2012, a position he held for the next 5 years. Lincoln was formerly CTO of Electronic Arts Mobile where he was instrumental in shaping EA’s approach to the mobile business, which saw EA deliver a strong portfolio of mass market mobile games, as well as games delivering a next-generation consumer experience. Prior to joining EA, Lincoln was with Criterion Software and MathEngine.
His early career involved 20 years of professional IT and mathematics research, including two years as BP Venture Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, and latterly as a Reader in Computer Science at the University of Oxford. In 2012 Lincoln was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Edinburgh.
Dr Rachael Warrington joined the Smith Institute in October 2016. Before this, she was carrying out PhD research on modelling the effects on building temperatures of phase change materials (things that melt and solidify). She did this work at the University of Cambridge, where she also completed an MMath degree.
Outside of work, she enjoys knitting, dressmaking (her favourite project so far has been making her wedding dress), and being part of her local church.
Dr Bob Whelan was previously a non-executive director of NPL Management Ltd and Director of the Institute for Prospective Technical Studies of the European Commission in Seville.
He was founder Director of CEST, the Centre for Exploitation of Science and Technology and was heavily involved with the conception of the Faraday programme and technology foresight.
He has 20 years experience of new product and process development with PA Technology, Cambridge. Bob was a member of the Radio Regulations Group of CEPT.
Scientific Board Member
Dr Keith Winters was previously Chief Technologist at AEA Technology, where he was responsible for initiatives directed at medium to long-term market opportunities, and for strategic relationships with other technology companies and the science base.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and an Honorary Professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences of Nottingham University.
Dr Francis Woodhouse joined the Smith Institute in August 2019. Francis previously spent six years working in applied mathematics and biophysics research at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Western Australia, including three years as a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He holds MMath and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge.
In his downtime Francis is fond of consuming cryptic crosswords and classical music, ideally with a cup of coffee.
Dr David Wyncoll joined the Smith Institute in January 2017.
He previously worked as a Senior Statistician in the flood management group of HR Wallingford providing statistical support across the company, particularly focusing on estimating the likelihood of large-scale coastal flooding.
David holds an MMath in Mathematics from the University of Bath and a PhD in Statistics from Lancaster University on extreme value modelling and sequential Monte Carlo algorithms.
His interests outside of work include travelling the world and playing rock music on electric bass and guitar.
Dr David Allwright joined the Smith Institute in 2000.
He holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge and worked as a Research Fellow on control theory at the Universities of Cambridge and Toronto.
David’s technical interests then expanded at Topexpress Ltd to include signal processing, acoustics, vibration and other areas of fluid and solid mechanics, and then further, to other wave phenomena and probabilistic and Markov models at the University of Oxford and the Smith Institute. David joined the Smith Institute’s Scientific Board when it was established in 2014.