Skip to main content
School of Mathematical Sciences

Undergraduate Research Seminar

Develop your knowledge of Mathematics in a more informal setting and network with members of our School's research community. 

What is the Undergraduate Research Seminar?

The Undergraduate Research Seminar is a series of sessions exploring fun maths topics not covered in the lectures. These sessions are often led by PhD students, and we make sure to introduce every topic in an accessible manner. There are no prerequisites! All undergraduates and postgraduates students in the School of Mathematical Sciences - single honours and joint degrees - are welcome to join. 

We also lead sessions where students can ask PhD students and alumni any questions they may have about research, applying for a Master's degree or a PhD program, including what kind of careers a PhD can lead to. All sessions are run in a relaxed environment where we always encourage discussions and provide snacks. 

When and where does the Undergraduate Research Seminar take place?

Sessions take place most Wednesdays during term time at 1pm in the Bancroft Building, room 3.24. Please see number 31 on the campus map to locate the Bancroft Building. The next few sessions and topics to be covered are detailed below. Suggestions for session future topics and general ideas and feedback can be given here. To receive email reminders about each event, please fill out this form.


To subscribe to email reminders about upcoming research seminars, please fill out this form. This webpage will also be updated periodically with new events, so please check back regularly. 

The research seminars are
organised by the following PhD students from the School of Mathematical Sciences: Samuel Brevitt, Lucille Calmon, Luka Ilic and Louis Yudowitz.


Upcoming Events

7th December 2022, 1pm

What on Earth is Topological Data Analysis by Adam Onus (Bancroft Building, Room 3.24)

Topological data analysis (TDA) is a relatively new field of mathematics which uses tools from (algebraic) topology and geometry to perform a shape analysis of real-world data - think about morphing a coffee cup into a doughnut and applying this notion to a discrete set of points. In the first part of this talk, we will introduce pure mathematical tools used in TDA such as simplicial complexes and persistence diagrams. In the second part of this talk, we will see examples of how TDA has been applied in areas such neuroscience, ecology, LCD appliances, phylogenetics and crystallography. In the worst case scenario, we will just look at pretty pictures ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.


30th November 2022, 1pm

From PageRank to Biological Networks by Anthony Baptista (Bancroft Building, Room 3.24)

The PageRank algorithm is a famous way to define centrality measures in networks. Since it was developed at the end of the 90s by the founder of Google, this algorithm and its extension have become a standard way to explore networks thanks to random walks. Moreover, amounts of available data, variety, and heterogeneity have been increasing drastically for several years, offering a unique opportunity to better understand complex systems. In this context, various extensions have been developed for exploring the whole topology of large-scale complex networks. However, the exploration of large multidimensional datasets remains a major challenge in many scientific fields. We will first introduce the basic notion of graph theory and the basic knowledge about Pagerank and its extensions. We will conclude with a recent extension of the Personalised PageRank algorithm (a.k.a Random Walk with Restart) to explore very general kinds of networks in the context of biological networks.


23rd November 2022, 1pm

Neurohydrodynamics by Tom Foteinos (Bancroft Building, Room 3.24)

Neurohydrodynamics is a general term for the field of scientific enquiry associated with the fluid dynamics of the brain and spinal cord. This talk will have a particular focus on the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through the perivascular space (PVS), an annular region which surrounds most arteries in the brain.


16th November 2022, 1pm

Abstract Maths and Thinking Outside the Box by Arick Shao (Bancroft Building, Room 3.24)

From the modules you have taken (or will be taking soon), you may have noticed that a lot of the mathematical material is quite general and abstract! This is especially true if you are more focused on the pure mathematical side. Thus, you may (and should!) be wondering why modern maths is so abstract, and what is the point of it all. 

In this talk, I will try to survey just a few answers to this question. I will take some simple, familiar concepts (e.g. limits, derivatives) and discuss some interesting ways to generalise and extend them. We will explore some of their applications, as well as how these can be used to build surprising connections among different areas of maths, or between maths and other fields.


2nd November 2022, 1pm

Q&A Session on Further Studies after Queen Mary (Bancroft Building, Room 3.24)

In this session we will help answer any questions or concerns you might have about applying and studying for a master’s or PhD after your time at Queen Mary. The panel will consist of the organisers and another PhD student (Zain Kapadia), who have each had a variety of experiences when applying and studying. We hope to see you there!


26th October 2022, 1pm

Order and Disorder by Robert Johnson (Bancroft Building, Room 3.24)

Do regular patterns exist even in the most disordered structures? This talk is about a branch of mathematics called Ramsay theory which deals with the existence of patterns in the most unlikely places.

One important facet of Ramsay theory concerns structures in graphs (or networks). The starting point is the following puzzle which you can think about before the talk: is it true that among any group of 6 people there are either 3 mutual friends or 3 mutual strangers?

Along the way we will see how graphs are popular objects of study for pure mathematicians as well as being important tools for understanding the world. We'll also get a glimpse of how graph theory has developed as a subject and some of the research going on in the Combinatorics group.


19th October 2022, 1pm
1=2 by Luka Ilic (Bancroft Building, Room 3.24)

Wouldn't it be nice if mathematics would allow for a way to take a ball and duplicate it? Starting with one and ending up with two of the exact same thing, like cheating master balls in Pokémon back in the day.

Or would this be awful, because 1=2 and our whole world would collapse?

I will discuss the way mathematics allows us to duplicate our balls and the implications and precise statement of this. Keep an open mind, because serious mathematicians started long lasting mud-fights about this very topic 94 years ago and the splatters last until today.


12th October 2022, 1pm
Hardly simple by Tim Davis (Bancroft Building, Room 3.24)

In our first session, we’ll look at some problems in maths that may seem easy at first but are more subtle than they look and don’t often have any solutions!

Back to top