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Applied mathematics is the application of mathematics
to solve some sort of problem of importance, typically
in science or engineering. It is a bit different in pure
mathematics, in the sense that pure mathematics will
try to understand something theoretical purely for its own
intrinsic interest. Now many of that work in pure
mathematics may eventually have applications, but in
pure mathematics you're not necessarily really trying to
directly address some kind of problem. In applied
mathematics you typically have some sort of problem that
can be solved much more efficiently by using some sort of
theoretical approach, or mathematical approach. So
typically you use mathematics to build some sort of model
of the system, and you use that model to gain
understanding of the system or to predict its behavior, so
you can use that model in designing a better system,
for example.
I mainly apply mathematics to improving the efficiency of
manufacturing processes. The particular type of
mathematics that I work on involves what is known as
control theory, which is the control of particular systems –
basically to make systems do what you want them to do.
The particular type of manufacturing processes that I
work on involve bringing molecules together in just the
right way to form some high-value-added product. The
kinds of specific applications that I look at include
pharmaceutical manufacturing - making pure
pharmaceuticals, or to have higher efficacy; systems
nanotechnology where we try to develop new
nanotechnology devices. As well as micro-processes, such
as micro-electronics.
I like to exercise. Primarily bicycling, cross-country skiing
and walking. I really enjoy doing this either in the
Massachusetts area, or in southern Vermont and
New Hampshire because there's lots of parks in the area
with lots of hills and lots of trails. And they're pretty
heavily under-utilized so you have a lot of time to think
about what you're doing, and what kind of work and ideas,
but you can also chit-chat with colleagues who go off with
me. But most of the time I don't have the time to go all
the way out there so I just commute to work and back either
bicycling or walking.