Space science is one of HM Government’s ‘eight great technologies’. In this lecture I will explain the mathematics behind satellites, showing how they are controlled, how they are sent to distant planets and how they transmit and receive data over vast distances.
I will also explain how GPS systems work and show how General Relativity plays a vital role in making GPS systems so accurate. I will finish by showing a link between space science and Origami.
Gresham Professor of Geometry, Chris Budd OBE, is based at the University of Bath, where he is Professor of Applied Mathematics and Director of the Centre of Nonlinear Mechanics. He has a long history of engagement in the public understanding of science and mathematics through institutions such as the Royal Institution and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.
A graduate of the Universities of both Oxford and Cambridge, Professor Budd has held the position of Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Bath for over twenty years. His other current positions include Chair of Mathematics at the Royal Institution at Great Britain since 2000, and Professor of the Public Understanding of Mathematics at the ICMS, Edinburgh, since 2015.
Professor Budd’s broad research interests circle around interdisciplinary industrial and applied mathematics, and he has a particular interest in complex nonlinear problems arising in real applications. He has carried out a large volume of work in numerical weather prediction and data assimilation in close collaboration with the Met Office over the past ten years. His algorithms are now incorporated into the Met Office operational weather forecasting code where they have made a significant difference to their accuracy and received a Knowledge Transfer Award. He is also carrying out research on climate modelling using modern mathematical and computational methods and is actively involved in a number of international climate modelling networks, including CliMathNet which he co-directs and the Mathematics of Planet Earth programme. He also collaborates with the energy industry, the aerospace industry, the telecommunications industry and the food industry.
The advancement of the public understanding of and engagement in science and mathematics is a central element of Professor Budd’s career. He has been involved in developing successful programmes with young people through his positions at the Royal Institution and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications. One of the most significant of these projects is the Bath Taps into Science Festival, a major hands-on science festival which has won many national prizes since its establishment in 2001. Professor Budd was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to science and mathematics education.
All of Professor Budd's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.