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Sir Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013

Launch event at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences

The Mathematics of Extreme Climatic Events

Speakers' Biographies








Mr Howard Covington had a career in investment banking and asset management, having been a director of SG Warburg, the investment banking predecessor of UBS, chief executive of the European investment banking business of Wasserstein Perella and a founder shareholder and chief executive of New Star Asset Management. He is the chairman of the management committee, and an Honorary Fellow, of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, a trustee of the Royal Institution and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics.

Dr. Filimon Gournaris joined Securis in 2012 as a senior investment analyst. In his last role he was a Products Actuary/Modeller for Execution Noble, a specialist reinsurance and retrocession broker within an Investment Bank. While at Execution, Filimon was the sole actuary on the platform working on all aspects of transactions from structuring, modelling and pricing through to execution. He also spent time working with the Fixed Income trading desk originating transaction across catastrophe bonds, as well as having worked with the Investment Banking FIG team on Lloyd.s market M&A transactions. Prior to that he was a quantitative analyst at Aon Benfield, working for the ReMetrica Risk Software team specializing in Monte Carlo simulations for risk and economic capital modelling, Cat Bonds, ILWs, reinsurance pricing and portfolio optimisation. Filimon holds both a MSci and PhD degrees in High Energy Particle Physics from University College London and has spent time as a visiting researcher at Stanford University in the US and Université Paris-Sud (Paris XI) in France. He has been a visiting lecturer at the European Academy of Actuaries is Chairman of the Willis Research Network.

Professor Lord Julian Hunt is Emeritus Professor of Climate Modelling in the Department of Earth Sciences at University College London, and Honorary Professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, at the University of Cambridge.
A Fellow of the Royal Society, he was Director General and Chief Executive of the Meteorological Office for 5 years from 1992. Whilst at the Met Office he was elected to the Executive Committee of the World Meteorological Organisation and worked to improve international warnings for disasters ranging from tropical cyclones to volcanoes and to emphasise urban meteorology at WMS.
In 2000 he was inducted into the House of Lords as Baron Hunt of Chesterton, where he sits as a Labour Peer

Professor Virginia Murray is Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at the Health Protection Agency, and Visiting Professor in Health Protection, MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health at Imperial College and King's College, London.
Qualified in medicine, in 1980 she joined Guy and St Thomas’s Hospital Poisons Unit and in 1986 was appointed consultant medical toxicologist before starting the Chemical Incident Research Programme and becoming Director of the Chemical Incident Response Service from 1995. She has considerable experience in advising on toxicological and environmental public health aspects of response to actute and chronic chemical and extreme event incidents.
In 2011, she was appointed as Head of HPA's new Extreme Events and Health Protection section, and is taking forward work on evidence based information and advice on flooding, heat, cold, volcanic ash, and other extreme weather and natural hazard events.

Professor Rod Rainey is Head of Technology, Floating Structures at WS Atkins plc and is a Visiting Professor at Southampton University and University College London.
He read first engineering and then maths at Cambridge University before gaining an MSc from Imperial College London in Control Theory.
Following a period at Yarrow shipbuilders on the Clyde he joined Atkins Oil and Gas in 1978 where he specialises in the scientific analysis of ships and offshore structures.
He has been closely associated with the development of the Pelamis and Anaconda wave energy devices and has written a number of well-known scientific papers, on slender body theory (JFM 1989, Proc.R.Soc 1995), on freak waves (J.Eng.Maths 2007), and on tidal barrages (JFM 2009).
The present talk is based on his papers at a recent Royal Society discussion meeting (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. 2012).

Professor David Spiegelhalter is Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk, and Professor of Biostatistics, at the University of Cambridge. His background is in medical statistics, particularly the use of Bayesian methods in clinical trials, health technology assessment and drug safety. He led the statistical team in the Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry and also gave evidence to the Shipman Inquiry.
In his post he leads a small team (UnderstandingUncertainty.org) which attempts to improve the way in which the quantitative aspects of risk and uncertainty are discussed in society. He works closely with the Millennium Mathematics Project in trying to bring risk and uncertainty into education. He gives many presentations to schools and others, advises organisations and government agencies on risk communication, and is a regular columnist on current risk issues. He presented the BBC4 documentary 'Tails you win: the science of chance', and in 2011 competed in Winter Wipeout.
He was elected FRS in 2005 and awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to medical statistics.
Professor John Toland, Director of the Isaac Newton Institute and NM Rothschild & Sons Professor of Mathematical Sciences, served as President of the London Mathematical Society from 2005 to 2007 and in 2010 was appointed Chair of the Mathematical Sciences panel for the Research Excellence Framework by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union, the non-governmental body for the promotion of co-operation in mathematics world wide. Between 1982 and 2010 he was professor of mathematics at the University of Bath and, between 2002 and 2010, Scientific Director of the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences in Edinburgh as well. His research interests include mathematical analysis, nonlinear partial differential equations and the mathematical theory of steady water waves. Between 1997 and 2002 he held an EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship. In 2000 he was awarded the Senior Berwick Prize by the London Mathematical Society' and, in 2012, the Sylvester Medal of the Royal Society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, of St John's College, and an honorary fellow of UCL.


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