In February 2019, the Chair of Computational Mathematics in Deustotech, received the placement of Laura Psaila, a student from the Liceo Scientifico Statale Filippo Lussana, Bergamo (Italy). For a week, Laura was part of the team, participating even in the internal team meeting for definition of results generation and communication regarding the Work Packages of the DyCon Project. On the basis of her personal concerns, interests and the scope of the project progress, the management team led by Prof. Enrique Zuazua decided to set up a particular challenge for Laura.
Very often we hear about the importance of making science attractive to young people, but the development of research usually lacks focus on other issues not directly related to it, such as the receptiveness and captivation. Therefore, we considered a key point to challenge Laura on this issue and how the Chair’s research deals and/or avoids this subject: How can we do our project’s outcomes more accessible to younger generations? How to translate into an enthusiastic and applied use?
Laura positively took the challenge and dipped into the main dissemination and communication results of the Chair of Computational Mathematics. She recognised straight away the value of these results as well as the difficulties to understand the added value of all the information presented to the scientific community in papers and seminars. For this reason, we evolved the challenge to interview the PhD students and Post-doc students in the team. She carried out this task with assertiveness and a very professional attitude, and managed to talk to the team once the scope of the questionnaire was validated with the managerial team.
The results from the interviews could be summarised as follows:
- Why did you study Mathematics? The decision to study Mathematics often relies on different variables, such as the quality of school teachers for Domènec, the personal curiosity to solve problems for Azahar or study logical things for Dognam. Furthermore, for Miguel, Umberto and Borjan mathematics was the most attractive subject.
- Which is the final use of equations? All of them explained easily the potential uses of mathematics for disciplines line, energy, aviation, biology, heat or the control effect of jet-lag. Specifically, Azahar, Dognam and Umberto described the equations as the tool to model mathematically the daily observed reality in a centralised way. Additionally, Doménec and Borjan added the potential to represent the connection between quantities and the possibility to predict future interactions.
- How to enhance the added value of the project outcomes? There was a unanimous answer from the team: communication. The participants really valued the presentation of the results not only on scientific basis and formulas but also in other disciplines and potential users. The project must show the team’s skills to a more opened community, generating blogs, tools and tutorials to enhance the network with other teams. There is a strong need to develop concise and credible strategies within controlled stakeholders in order to achieve a higher level of interaction with other research teams.
The information collected by Laura has a significant value to be incorporated in the Communication Plan of the DyCon project, to enhance its impact on different audiences and potential users of the project’s output. The results provide us with crucial information on how to improve some of our web page aspects as well as the relevance to make science and mathematics a closer topic to students.
Grazie mille Laura for your work during your stay in the team! Eskerrik asko! Cheers!