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Dr Patrick E McSharry
Royal Academy of Engineering research fellow at the University of Oxford

As a child I was always very questioning, and I wanted to understand how everyday objects worked. I later discovered that such an understanding required a broad range of knowledge, and that this scientific expertise could also be useful for solving practical problems. School lessons helped me to understand the foundations of science, but the focus on theory and underlying principles made it easy to forget that the most important objective is to explore and enjoy science.

I decided to read theoretical physics at Trinity College in Dublin, and this provided a good balance between theoretical and applied science. I enjoyed the fact that mathematical models could explain so much of what we had learned in physics classes. At the same time, I realised that while these models were interesting in themselves, they relied upon some drastic assumptions.

Since then, I have been pursuing multidisciplinary applied science, and I have worked with engineers, applied mathematicians, economists, biologists and statisticians. I enjoy following a project all the way through from a problem or idea to the development of new technology. I believe that multidisciplinary problem solving allows us to use science in a way that is fun and of great interest, to both experts and laypersons.

Patrick McSharry is coeditor of Advanced Methods And Tools for ECG Data Analysis (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)). See his website.