Inga loves her job, characterized by a lack of routine, where all days are different. She is a Professor at the University of Bergen and a director of a research center.
- What’s your research field?
I’m a professor of applied mathematics at the University of Bergen and Director of the Center for Modeling of Coupled subsurface Dynamics. I work on mathematical modelling, partial differential equations and numerical methods for simulation of coupled thermo-hydro mechanical-chemical processes. I am interested in understanding processes in geothermal systems and fault reactivation induced by subsurface injection and production.
- What inspired you to study mathematics and when did you realize that maths was something for you?
Originally, my plan was to study physics at the university, but starting with the calculus courses, I realized it was more to maths than what I had experienced in high school. I got fascinated and decided to pursue a degree in applied maths.
- How was your way to what you are today?
I have both a MSc and a PhD from the University of Bergen, and during these studies I had visits to UCLA in the U.S. and INRIA in France. I was fortunate to be employed in an associate professor position right after I completed my PhD in 2005. Since then I have been active in establishing new research activity at UiB and running research projects, as well as many other interesting tasks that comes with being a university faculty member. In 2013 I was promoted to full professor.
- How do you use mathematics as part of your work or studies?
I use mathematical models based on the laws of physics to understand processes in the subsurface. I am especially interested in how different processes interact, and how mathematical models can provide insights that otherwise would have been difficult to grasp.
- How is your working/study day?
My day is characterized by a lack of routine, where all days are different. This is something I love about my job. I work on research projects with colleagues and students at the University of Bergen. As a director of a research center I have a variety of leadership tasks related to the center’s activities. I also participate in international collaborations and research networks.
- What would you say to those who wonder whether maths is a possible career path?
Studies in applied mathematics provides great career opportunities! My former master and PhD students have a range of interesting jobs, ranging from academic to industrial research and from consultancy work to teaching, in both national and international careers.
- Would you have done things differently?
For my own part, I am happy with how it has all turned out as well as the great journey I have had to get to where I am now, with a job that I truly love. At the same time, I am sure that I could also have been happy in a different career with a different path to get there. I think it is important to not think that there is only one optimal career path, but several possible paths one can take that each give a range of interesting opportunities.
– Which positive experiences has mathematics given you? Can you tell about one?
Mathematics have given me wonderful moments of full concentration as well as the great feeling when you understand a complex problem that you have worked on for a long time.