If you compare my achievements to those of other men of Afro-Caribbean descent, you’ll find that I buck the trend. I have two degrees, a masters degree in mathematics and a DPhil in Systems Biology (it’s essentially what they call a PhD at the University of Oxford). I’m also now a data scientist, so my day job involves writing artificial intelligence algorithms to solve business problems. In the eyes of many they would say that this constitutes success. I’m told that I’m also a role model and that many people would love to be in my position. So I guess that means that I am successful and, regardless of how I feel, it also makes me a role model too. However, this is all the more significant not only because of my academic achievements, and not only because I have the “sexiest job of the 21st century“, but simply because I’m of Afro-Caribbean descent.

# Tag Archives: black mathematician month

# In conversation with Olubunmi Abidemi Fadipe-Joseph

Olubunmi is a Nigerian mathematician who gained her BSc Mathematics (first class honours) in 1995 and MSc in mathematics in 1999 from the University of Ibadan (the first university in Nigeria). She gained her PhD from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria in 2005, where she is currently a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics. She decided to study maths because “I loved doing calculations and everything related to mathematics right from my primary school. I always wanted to be a teacher, but then I discovered that as a lecturer I could do some research and so I carried on with my academic career. My father, a teacher, was my role model”. Continue reading

# You don’t need permission to be a great mathematician!

According to Dr Erica Walker’s book *Beyond Banneker: Black Mathematicians and the Pursuit of Excellence* it is estimated that there are approximately 300 living African-Americans who have a PhD in mathematics. An American columnist once implied that black people are incapable of genius because there has never been a black mathematician who has won the Fields Medal. This is an example of a racial stereotype of all black people, that they can’t excel in mathematics due to their intellectual inferiority.

My name is Nira Chamberlain, I am British born of Jamaican parentage and this is my mathematics story.

Continue reading

# Star polynomials

Edward J Farrell is a celebrated mathematician of the African Diaspora. In 1978, he introduced a general class of graph polynomials, called **Farrell-polynomials**. Let $F$ be a family of connected graphs (meaning there exists a path between each pair of nodes – a path can be made up of edges and other nodes). With each element $\alpha$ belonging to $F$, we can associate an indeterminate or weight $w_{\alpha}$. An $F$**-cover** of a graph $G$ is a spanning subgraph, all of whose components belong to $F$. A spanning subgraph is a subgraph which contains all nodes of the original graph. With each $F$-cover $C$ of $G$, we associate the weight $w(C)=\prod w_{\alpha}$, where the product is taken over all the components $\alpha$ in $C$. The $F$**-polynomial** of $G$ is $F(G;\underline{w})=\sum w(C)$, where $\underline{w}$ is a vector of indeterminates defined by $w_{\alpha}$ and the summation is taken over all the $F$-covers in $G$.

A **tree** is a graph in which any pair of nodes is connected by exactly one path. An $m$**-star** $S_m$ is a tree with $m+1$ nodes, containing a node of valency (degree) $m$ called the **centre** of the star, meaning it is joined to $m$ other nodes. These $m$ nodes of valency 1 are called **tips**. A **proper star** is a star that contains at least one edge. A **0-star** is a component node and a **1-star** is a component edge as shown below. Continue reading