Mathematicians in list of UK top 100 scientists

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) is delighted to announce that five of its members are among a list of 100 Leading UK Scientists. The list is the result of a competition held by the Science Council to mark its 10th Anniversary with the winners announced on the 14th of January 2014.

David Youdan, IMA Executive Director, said: ‘This is fantastic news’. Professor Edward Stansfield, an IMA Councillor and former Vice-President, added that it: ‘Clearly demonstrates the underpinning role of mathematics in all aspects of science, engineering and technology’. The competition was organised around 10 different ‘types’ of scientist roles covering a broad range of the many different ways that people work with science, making valuable contributions across UK society and the economy. The full list ( shows the rich diversity of activities undertaken by scientists.

The list includes those who undertake research to develop our future knowledge, who teach and mentor future scientists, who shape policy and campaign on science issues, and who communicate and explain complex scientific issues. It also includes scientists who are successful entrepreneurs and business managers, who ensure the safe and legal application of science services and products, and who deliver services and analysis that support almost every aspect of modern life.

Two IMA members are identified as ‘developer/translational’ scientists: Dr Nira Chamberlain, Optimisation Lead (SME Optimisation and Insight) at Npower and Professor Alistair Fitt, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Knowledge Exchange) at Oxford Brookes University. Another two are ‘investigator’ scientists: Professor John McWhirter FRS, FREng, Distinguished Research Professor, School of Engineering, Cardiff University, and Dr Ahmer Wadee, Reader in Non-linear Mechanics, Imperial College London. The fifth IMA member is identified as a ‘business’ scientist: Dr Ben Dias, Senior Commercial Analyst at Tesco Stores Limited. All five are to be congratulated on their well deserved accolade.

It is particularly pleasing that the Science Council has recognised the contributions made by mathematicians across a broad spectrum of industry, academia and commerce. In addition to their career achievements, Professor John McWhirter is a former President of the IMA, Professor Alistair Fitt is a former Vice-President of the IMA, and Drs Ben Dias and Nira Chamberlain are currently IMA Councillors.

Professor Edward Stansfield said: ‘Mathematics is a multifaceted subject, which underpins the global economy. People who study mathematics are able to pursue a wide range of rewarding careers. As the Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard P. Feynman said: “One cannot understand … the universality of laws of nature, the relationship of things, without an understanding of mathematics. There is no other way to do it”. The UK needs more of our young people to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Publication of the Science Council list challenges the oft held view that a career in mathematics is only for academics and researchers. It is a vocation with a vital supporting role for industry and commerce, and an interesting subject in its own right’.

Notes for Editors

1. The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) is the learned and professional society for mathematics. It promotes mathematics research, education and careers, and the use of mathematics in business, industry and commerce. Amongst its activities the IMA produces academic journals, organises conferences, and engages with government. Founded in 1964, the Institute has 5,000 members. Forty percent of members are employed in education (schools through to universities), and the other 60% work in commercial, industrial and governmental organisations.  In 1990 the Institute was incorporated by Royal Charter and was subsequently granted the right to award Chartered Mathematician and Chartered Mathematics Teacher designations.

2. The Science Council’s introduction to the five IMA members in its Top 100

Professor John McWhirter FREng, FRS
Current science role: Distinguished Research Professor, Cardiff University, School of Engineering. Recognised for his experience as an applied mathematician in theoretical physics, electronic engineering and computer sciences. He is a Chartered Scientist, Chartered Physicist and Chartered Mathematician. He is a past-President and Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society.

Dr Ahmer Wadee CMath FIMA CSci
Current science role: Reader in Non-linear Mechanics, Imperial College London. Recognised for his research in the field of nonlinear mechanics of structural stability, primarily involving modelling buckling instabilities in metallic and composite material structures. He is a Chartered Scientist and Chartered Mathematician, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and the Institute of Structural Engineers.

Dr Nira Chamberlain CMath FIMA CSci
Current science role: Optimisation Lead, Npower SME Optimisation and Insight. Recognised for developing mathematical modelling applications for industry. Currently models the strategies of Npower’s main competitors and the subsequent influence on market share through time. He is a Chartered Mathematician and a Chartered Scientist. He is a Fellow and Council member of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and is an active member, chairing two IMA Younger Mathematicians Conferences.

Professor Alastair Fitt CMath FIMA CSci
Current science role: Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Knowledge Exchange), Oxford Brookes University. Recognised for mathematical research on the flow of glass, food and other complex fluids, flow and deformation in human eyes, and betting and gambling. He is a Chartered Mathematician and a Chartered Scientist. He is a Fellow and Council member of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.

Dr Ben Dias CMath FIMA CSci
Current science role: Senior Commercial Analyst, Tesco Stores Limited. Recognised for managing industry-higher education research collaborations and working on predictive consumer mathematics for ‘Big Data’ analysis. He is a Chartered Mathematician, a Chartered Scientist and a STEM Ambassador. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and has been an active member of a number of its committees including past-Chair of the Early Career Mathematicians’ Committee.

3. Contact:
David Youdan
Executive Director
Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
Catherine Richards House
16 Nelson Street, Southend-on-Sea
Essex SS1 1EF
Tel: +44 (0)7974 436793


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