Dr Freitag’s entry, titled Come Rain or Shine, was selected for first place by both the judges of the competition and members of the public who visited the public exhibition in Bath.
Her image was a montage of pictures she has taken of different weather conditions at the University campus. The accompanying abstract explained how collaboration between the Met Office and researchers in the Department of Mathematical Sciences helps to improve the weather forecast by finding better and faster techniques to solve the mathematical equations that describe the dynamics of the atmosphere.
Dr Freitag, who completed her PhD at Bath and is now a lecturer, was awarded a Great Western Research Fellowship to study weather forecasting in 2007. She spent six weeks with the Met Office learning about the problems they encounter predicting the weather.
She said: “Weather forecasts are created by combining physical
and mathematical models of the atmosphere with observations, using a method called data assimilation.
“There is a lot of work currently being done by mathematicians on how to improve this method to get more accurate forecasts. We created a smaller version of this set up here in Bath in order to investigate and try out new and better algorithms for the data assimilation process.”
Dr Freitag said she was surprised but pleased to be chosen as the winner. She said: “I have been interested in photography since I got my first camera when I was about 10. I enjoy the challenge of taking pictures in different light conditions, and capturing the University of Bath campus under the wide variety of weather conditions throughout the year was a fun thing to do.
“My favourite photos to take were those in the snow – as the reflections of the sun in the snow made these pictures particularly challenging to take.
“I think it is important to tell people about the research we do at the University. It might be that not everyone can understand the technical aspect of research, but everyone can relate to the weather because it affects us all.
“We had visitors from all over the world at the exhibition and they all said it was interesting and a really good idea.”
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