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Mary Met, in cordoba than 28 years, the pandemic of covid-19 the was in Edinburgh, where since last October is a postdoctoral researcher in Heriot-Watt University. There, according to the measures of protection against the virus have been less restrictive than in Spain, and perhaps because of this, she reflects, “we are still semi”. In these difficult circumstances -his grandmother passed away and was unable to travel to Spain to be with his family-, he received the news of the award. Has been recognized with one of six awards Vincent Caselle s that grant the BBVA Foundation and Real Sociedad Matemática Española (RSME) to young mathematicians. Among its merits, the resolution of an open problem from 20 years ago.

Fulfilled, which he studied Mathematics at the University of Seville and is a doctor by the of Seville and Rennes 1 (France), study groups, braids, something like ropes that are intertwined. These groups of braids are part of another larger group of mathematical objects of which very little is known, called from Artin-Tits . The young man has discovered that what is learned from the groups of braids since the geometry can be translated into the algebraic language, bringing the two disciplines. What he has done to resolve a problem identified two decades ago that has to do with the groups that is parabolic.


The researcher responds with patience to the obvious question of what this does? “My research focuses on the pure mathematics and the truth is that I am not very keen on the utilitarian vision of mathematics. There is a lot of mathematics that are now the basis of the current technology and that when they did it in his time ‘it was nothing'”, he argues. “In pure mathematics you do things because you seem interesting,” he says.

that Said, Met believes that their field of research, the algebra, and in particular the theory of groups, has on all applications in areas of computer and information security . Especially, we are interested in the cryptography . “When you have a problem that is difficult to solve, can be used to create a cryptosystem or a security protocol. The classic example is the multiplication of prime numbers. If I give you a number that is obtained by multiplying two prime numbers very large, to get these two prime numbers is in general a complicated problem. With the braids can pass on similar things. To verify or study the level of safety of these potential systems is essential”, explains.

“To a population that does not know mathematics it is very easy to fool them”

The young man started to be interested by the numbers thanks to the olympics mathematics, the program ESTALMAT (Stimulation of Mathematical Talent) and the encouragement of their teacher institute. “The ‘rush’ and the satisfaction of solving a difficult problem are feelings that nearly all the math we engage and which make the moments of frustration worth it,” he admits.

In this sense, believes that the use of mathematics during the pandemic, to explain the famous curve with the number of cases, for example- “has served to highlight that we need to have a basic culture of mathematics “. And makes a reflection to keep in mind: “As a person knows the first sentence of don Quixote and who painted las Meninas, you should also know how to look at a graph and understand what it means to major traits. And what is certain is that a population that does not know mathematics it is very easy to trick her, putting a statistic ahead without analyzing the data well, as if you are teaching a text in a language you do not know and you inventaras translation”.

“I don’t know how they intend to attract talent with little to offer in Spain”

the Met has a contract of two years in Edinburgh, but I’d like to go back before they cash in on the Brexit. Your desires and your talent may not be enough. “I am very sorry to say it, but the investment in scientific research in our country leaves much to be desired,” he says. Had to do the phd in Rennes because it did not find any funding in Spain. “In France I have the possibility to opt-in to squares fixed a college professor, in quality of work. In the Uk pay some salaries quite worthy. In Spain, right now I can only choose, with luck, five-year contracts, or postdoctoral fellowships very prestigious but in general are paid very poorly, with which a family can live barely. I don’t know how they intend to attract talent if after so many years of effort, this is all that you can offer”, he says.