Flooded with science – Nicole Beisiegel joins Real Scientists!

giving_my_talkThis week we’re happy to welcome Nicole Beisiegel (@NicoleBeisiegel) as the curator of Real Scientists. Nicole is a research fellow in applied mathematics and computational geoscience looking into flood simulations. Here’s a little bit about her:

Why/How did you end up in science?

By accident, really. I had to leave school age 16 and completed a vocational training. It just wasn’t for me, so I did everything I could to get the education I needed to go to university. Because I couldn’t afford to study English (language certs cost several hundred euros!). I studied Maths and after some time fell in love with it and how useful it is.

Why did you choose your current field/what keeps you there?

I love that my field of research (computational methods for floods and storm surges) is relevant to society. My entire career would not have been possible without hard work but also not without government funded programs that allowed me to get free education. So naturally, I am glad I can give back.

Tell us about your work!

My work focuses on flood simulations. I develop computer programs that can be used to hind- and forecast flood events. At the moment, I am mostly focussing on hurricane storm surge events and work on speeding up computer programs, so that less computational resources and time are needed to get accurate simulation results.

Motivation: why should the public care about your research?

Because it is important to understand where predictions come from. Computer programs are used by national weather services all over the world to produce e.g. flood maps and understanding how exactly the forecasts that we see on TV are made – I believe – may help understand uncertainties and help interpret forecasts.

Do you have any interesting external/extracurricular obligations?

Over this year, I have become a more or less regular scicommer.  I have talked at Soapbox Science Ireland; June 30th Dublin, Ireland: “How big storms move big boulders and big computers save our coasts” and Pint of Science Dublin; May 22nd in Doyle’s Dublin 2, Ireland: “The Mathematics of Storm Surges” and will talk at BrightClub Dublin during MathsWeek in October.

I actively support equality, diversity and inclusion in STEM (e.g. I spoke at Women and EDI in STEM — part of the “Celebrating Women in Mathematics” initiative honouring Maryam Mirzakhani, organised by University College Dublin, Talk entitled “Floods in Ireland”, Ireland on May 29th) and proudly wear my rainbow coloured “LGBT+ Ally” lanyard at work every day.

Any interesting hobbies you’d like to share?

I love pilates and yoga to relax. One of my favourite things to do in my free time is going for hikes. I love being outside in nature.
Please welcome Nicole to Real Scientists!

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