FACES OF MATHEMATICS

Paul Glendinning

Professor Paul Glendinning

UMIST

Paul Glendinning is Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). His research interests are in dynamical systems, models of the time-evolution of complex mathematical or physical processes. Paul Glendinning uses a deft combination of rigorous analysis, geometry and penetrating intuition to discover the key features of dynamical systems, and to describe their evolution. His work is concerned both with the frequently surprising and intricate mathematical properties of dynamical systems, and with their interpretation for applications to physical processes.

"I have a story to tell, and I like telling that story, and if I haven't proved everything completely, I don't really mind. Obviously you've got to do a certain amount of work, you've got to be familiar with these objects, you've got to be able to turn them around and see what is on the other side, that sort of thing. And I think I'm quite good at that game... I'm a story-teller, and usually my stories are right.

"I guess most things start with pictures: I doodle and I draw pictures and I try to work out what the geometry is. So there's geometry that, at some stage, has to change to analysis. You try to build a picture of what's going on, and try then to build a picture of what's the general bit. Then you have to translate that into some sort of mathematical statement, so from an example where you think you know what's going on to a gut feeling about what's important, to an attempt at a mathematical statement - which is almost always wrong but often holds some a bit of truth. To get from the mathematical statement which may be wrong to something which is hopefully is correct, then at that stage, analysis is my main tool."

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