I got 99 inverse problems but maths ain’t one: thanks and farewell Paola Elefante

For the week of  September 6 -12 we were joined by mathematician @PaolaElefante of the University of Helsinki.  Paola not only shared with us some of the inherent beauty to be found in mathematics,

but also some of the fascinating real world applications of maths

And also applications of her own research area of inverse problems

We asked Paola our traditional set of exit questions, so here are her thoughts on her week at the helm.


In general terms, how did you find your week as a curator?        

I was really glad to see many followers interested and active in interacting with me. I tried to stimulate discussion with riddles and to show many “fun facts” of mathematics and I got a lot of positive feedback.
From my point of view, I took the chance to look at my own work with a fresh mind – so that I could explain it correctly and simply – and to review many problems I knew but had almost forgotten.

It can be a shock talking to so many. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?    

All people who interacted were polite and even if someone suggested corrections or different point of view, they did in a very fine way. Even when I spoke about women in STEM, that may be a controversial topic, people approached the topic with positive attitude, even when they did not agree on some suggested policies.

What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?   

I would say people were really excited with some of the riddles I suggested (the 12 ball problem, the hanging picture, …). A user even posted pictures of his friends and himself trying to solve a problem in the pub! It was lovely to see this fresh approach of people to mathematics

Did you have a plan? If so, did you stick to it?     

I planned some tweets for the first days, then went along with the flow. My aim was to show a new face of mathematics and to confess that frustration and headaches are part of it. I feel I fulfilled my goal!

Thanks once again Paola from all of us here at RealScientists HQ. If you missed anything from her week, the tweets are all collated at the following link.


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