“Oh, you don’t look like a mathematician!”
This is the response Chaitanya Oehmigara gets when she says she studies mathematics.
But while her decision to study maths may confuse some, it makes perfect sense.
For a start, she loves pure maths.
“I find pure mathematics really beautiful… People always find that strange,” she laughs.
“I get excited and talk about it at parties!"
But there is also an increasing need for mathematicians.
“In Australia there’s a skill shortage in mathematics. And especially for women. We are still underrepresented, there’s no doubt about that.”
But things are changing, she says.
“Maths is actually a booming field at the moment. It has such a broad scope and there are so many opportunities in it. It’s not going anywhere, except up.
“It’s a great, exciting, creative field to be working in.”
Chaitanya is currently working on her PhD at the Mathematical Sciences Institute at ANU. She’s looking at ways of modelling gravitational wave signatures and investigating how the process can be made more efficient.
“Maths is fundamental to astrophysics and the techniques that we use,” she says.
“My big motivation is to make a contribution to the field of gravitational wave astronomy in my career.
“I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done so far. I hope that what I do has a great impact.”