Q&A with Nóra Frankl

Nóra is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mathematics

Read about Nóra's experience in discrete geometry and advice for prospective candidates on approaching research

Set realistic expectations: you should not anticipate finding results quickly. It is a slow procedure. For me the recipe is to try to be happy even with small results.
LSE researcher profile | Nora Frankl | LSE research
Nóra Frankl

What are you currently researching?

I am mostly interested in discrete geometry, which includes combinatorial questions about geometric objects. Sometimes I also think about purely combinatorial questions, for example I am currently working on a question about partitioning edge coloured hypergraphs into monochromatic cycles.

Why did you choose this area of study?

I like combinatorics and geometry, and this area is a mixture of these two.

How will your research improve or have a wider impact on society?

Impact works somewhat differently in mathematics. Honestly, I do not envisage that my work will have a direct impact on society; it is not something that we can set out to achieve. I like solving problems because they are interesting and beautiful in their own right.

Whilst we would never exclude the possibility that one day a result will have a practical application (outside mathematics), it is not the duty of theoretical mathematicians to study problems regarding these aspects.

What do you hope to do career-wise, long term?

I would like to stay in academia and do research.

Can you provide any advice to prospective students about the most effective way to approach research and keep stress levels down?

Of course, this varies from individual to individual and from area to area, but there are some things that can be useful in general. Set realistic expectations: you should not anticipate finding results quickly. It is a slow procedure.

For me the recipe is to try to be happy even with small results: don’t let failure disappoint you too greatly. I think it is also good to not separate weekdays and weekends too much; when you have ideas and feel motivated, don't stop for the weekend, but treat yourself to much-needed rest days later.

What resources are available at LSE to help young researchers?

There are several funds at both School and departmental level. Mathematicians need whiteboards – we’re lucky to have many in our PhD office, plus all the basic provisions we could ever need (stationery, printing, equipment, etc.).

Our PhD office itself is a really good, productive environment to work in, where we can focus solidly on our research but also collaborate and share thoughts. The department as a whole, alongside the PhD Academy and our research manager, assist with the essential practicalities of PhD study.

The department invites key visitors to present at our seminar series. Crucially, we have a fantastic coffee machine!

In a few words, what is the best thing about studying at LSE?

Everyone is very nice and I am a valued member of the department.