Elizabeth Carlsen

BSc Mathematics

Elizabeth graduated with a first class honours degree, a lifelong dream since she was in primary school. She was also awarded the ‘Quantum Advisory Prize for the most original contribution to Mathematics’ and received £1000 donated by Quantum Advisory, Cardiff, the Actuaries and Employee Benefit Consultants. 

Elizabeth's final year project focussed on ‘Kustaanheimo-Stiefel Transformation’. This transformation connects together two of the key problems in classical mechanics: the motion of a particle in a gravitational field (known as Keplerian motion) with the motion of a particle on a spring (known as simple harmonic motion). These are both fundamental problems in physics. The Kustaanheimo Stiefel transformation illustrates how the two can be viewed as the same problem with the use of some clever geometrical tricks - including adding in extra dimensions to space! In her project Elizabeth showed how this theory was developed first working on 1 and 2 dimensional versions of the problem before dealing with the complete 3 dimensional problem. She also showed how the transformation fits into the wider theory of canonical transformations in classical mechanics. 

She was supervised by Dr Andrew Neate of the Department of Mathematics who stated that “Daisy worked really hard on this project and presented her results in a very clear and elegant manner. Her project showed that she had clearly mastered this difficult topic in classical mechanics and understood where it fitted in with the theories of mechanics”.

Elizabeth said, "I had to pinch myself when I received the letter stating I had won the Quantum Advisory Prize. I was so proud that my work was good enough to deserve recognition."