Irina teaches and does her mathematical research at the University of Bergen.
I am a specialist in Analysis and Differential Geometry in a very broad sense.
I have always been good at mathematics. At the age of 16, I went to boarding school with a deep study in mathematics and natural sciences. I wanted to study physics, but the logic of mathematics fascinated me and I went to the University to study applied mathematics. This way I was trying to stay connected to physics. I could not resist the beauty of mathematics and finished my Ph.D. in pure mathematics. From my first years of University, I was working as a teaching assistant. Thus for me, teaching and doing mathematics are always two sides of my carreer. When I am tired of teaching, I am doing mathematics and vice versa.
The longer I work, the longer my working day. For one or another reason, the engagement is increasing. I will not say anything new, but to be a mathematician, one has to love math and have to be able to lose. To do science, and mathematics, in particular, is to feel “stupid” and “disappointed” since nothing works properly! But what happiness do you perceive, once your math puzzle is done! This is a great payment for days and days of frustration.
I think that mathematics makes a strong person stronger, nevertheless, it can destroy a weak personality. At least mathematics and the almost pure male society around me on the job made me resistant, insistent, and strong facing complex situations in life. Working with the young generation is an increasing pleasure. When I see the curious faces and flash of understanding in eyes of students, I feel satisfaction: life is good! Historically, we women were not very well welcomed to Academia, but now with all the support of the system, the situation will change. Maybe not quickly, but step by step, confirming the statement: “if a woman is good in mathematics she is really good!”