Dr Nira Chamberlain
Hailed by the Science Council as one of the UK’s top 100 scientists, Dr Chamberlain is also the first black mathematician to appear in the prestigious autobiographical directory Who’s Who. He is renowned for using algorithms to solve complex problems across engineering and industry.
An inspirational thinker, he describes maths as a “beautiful and powerful subject – the poetry of logical ideas”. He is currently principal consultant for data science and mathematical modelling at Babcock International Group, and vice president of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). Nira has been described by Loughborough University, where he is a visiting fellow, as one of its ‘greatest scientific minds’.
He has more than 25 years experience developing mathematical solutions across industries in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel. Successes include the creation of a mathematical cost capability trade-off, which led to the commission and creation of the Royal Navy’s £6.2 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth. His model convinced the client that the ambitious aircraft carrier should be built – when the designs were still at computer stage and before the first sheet of steel had been cut.
He has also devised a new method of long multiplication that is widely used in schools as far afield as Malaysia.
Dr Chamberlain is one of the BBC Academy Expert Voices – a database for TV and radio producers of BAME experts in their field.
A passionate believer in inspiring young people to take up maths, he is also a member of Speakers for Schools, a network of influential figures who give talks to schools, free of charge, in a bid to demystify certain professions. In 2016 he was a specialist speaker at the London International Youth Science Forum, a conference bringing together 500 of the top science students from around the world, and he is part of the National HE STEM Programme aimed at recruiting more students to STEM subjects in higher education.
A school career advisor once told him he had the jawline of a prize boxer. But while it was his love of maths that led him to global acclaim, he says solving mathematical problems is not unlike stepping into the ring: “[It] can be like fighting an invisible boxer, but I find the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.”