Women of Mathematics: Elena Resmerita

Country: Romania

Affiliation: Universität Klagenfurt, Austria

Field of Research: inverse problems (regularisation methods, image reconstruction theory and continuous optimisation)



1.) Why did you choose this formula?

This relates to the proximal point method, an optimisation technique introduced in 1962. The method has generated a number of efficient algorithms for inverse problems, for instance in signal and image reconstruction. About 15 years ago, I thought it was getting old and people would lose interest in it, but I’m happy that recent developments in applied mathematics have shown the contrary: it will continue to be a powerful tool in solving complex mathematical problems.


2.) What made you decide to study Mathematics?

Initially I wanted to study medicine, but I found it difficult to learn all of the biology needed for the entrance exam. However, I realised that the entrance exams for mathematics would be relatively easy for me. This, together with my passion for teaching (I used to give my friends, neighbours and other children private lessons) made me choose mathematics.


3.) What do you like so much about Mathematics?

In mathematics everyone is happy when a problem can be solved in some way, and even happier when there are several ways to solve it. If a solution cannot be found, we come across new problems when trying to approach the original problem, and these are sometimes more important than the problem we started with. So we keep on trying to solve problems…


4.) How does Mathematics influence our lives on a daily basis?

On a personal level, mathematics helps us to develop very structured thinking, whether it’s about efficiently planning your holiday or taking important decisions in life. On a global level, it provides a basis for all natural sciences: physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, and so on.


5.) Have you experienced a special Mathematics moment?

After finishing my PhD studies in Israel, I started to learn about another field of mathematics in Linz, Austria. I remember the sense of achievement I felt when I successfully published a paper of my own in this new field – incidentally, that has been my most successful publication so far.


6.) What advice would you give future mathematicians to help them on their way?

A career in mathematics has the same requirements for success as any other field. You have to enjoy the subject and feel comfortable working with it, but you also need to be committed and see the work through.