September 7th, 2016

Stratford statistician off to help save bees in Australia

Stratford statistician off to help save bees in Australia Stratford statistician off to help save bees in Australia

A CALCULATING mum who retrained as a mathematician after bringing up her three children has flown to Australia to help save bees.

With the world’s bees population decreasing rapidly, professors and experts in Melbourne are putting their heads together to try and find a solution.

And they called on Stratford resident Martine Barons – who works in the University of Warwick’s statistics department – to help develop a ‘support system’ to ensure the bee population starts to thrive.

The 54-year-old took up maths as a mature student and only graduated in 2013.

But since then she has become the chairman of the West Midlands Institute of Mathematics and in her spare time works closely with the Stratford Beekeepers’ Association.

It was this close link which led her to be invited on a two month trip to Australia to work with some of the country’s top scientists and mathematicians.

She told the Observer: “People always tell you that you have to learn things when you are young or you will never get anywhere. Yet here I am travelling to Australia and all over the visit world experts and tackling a problem which has implications for every creature on the planet.

“We rely on bees and other insects to pollinate one-third of food crops worldwide. Bees depend on factors such as weather, food predators and the use of pesticides and these are the type of problems our theory is designed to address. I look forward to putting it to work.”

Martine believes Australia is the perfect place to start the work as due to rigorous border controls, many of their bees are free from diseases and other problems which are prevalent in the rest of the world.

And she is planning to use the research she has gained from Stratford beekeepers in her work.

Martine said: “I believe experienced beekeepers have a wealth of understanding which is as important as formal research to understand what is going on with bees.

“I am in contact with DEFRA and the National Bee Unit in York and hope to turn maths into a thriving population of bees in the future.”

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