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‘HSE University Was a Gateway into the Wider World of Science’

‘HSE University Was a Gateway into the Wider World of Science’

Photo courtesy of Fernanda Florido-Calvo

Fernanda Florido-Calvo came to HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod from Chile to study mathematics. While on her two-year Master of Science in Mathematics programme, she wrote her master’s thesis and presented it at the All-Russia Contest of Diploma Thesis of Russian Mathematicians 2021, where she won two awards with full marks. Fernanda spoke to the HSE News Service about her passion for mathematics and the paths that lead to HSE University.

A Passion for Mathematics

I discovered my interest in mathematics when I was seven years old. I had a very good teacher in primary school—she was truly talented and explained everything brilliantly. She laid a foundation for understanding lots of fundamental things, and this helped me to take on more complex areas of maths later on and to understand causal relationships. She was the one who suggested that I join a group of university students studying maths. I was the youngest person in the group. Our classes took the form of a summer camp, which was wonderful—even though I had almost no time for anything but maths. Then I moved schools and discovered another passion: physics. Antofagasta—the city where I was born—is regarded as the best place on the planet for astronomy [note: there are numerous observatories in Chile due to the effects of a stable anticyclone over the Atacama Desert, which produces downdrafts and creates optimal conditions for astronomical study]. I ended up with a wide range of fields to choose from, but I still preferred maths. After all, by studying maths, I could earn a PhD in Physics or work in astronomy. Mathematics is the foundation of everything.

Discovering HSE University

One summer day in February I received an email from a newsletter I was subscribed to. It mentioned the possibility of studying a master’s degree at HSE University. I was on vacation at the time, and decided to respond to the invitation. I thought, ‘OK, why not?’ I had just received my first degree in mathematics from Federico Santa María Technical University, and I was interested in new opportunities for development. After I responded to the invitation, I was contacted by Ivan Remizov. We talked about the topic of my research, and he told me about his work regarding the solution to the Schrödinger equation. It sounded very interesting to me—until then, I’d barely come across that kind of thing, and I only had a general idea of what it was about. During our conversation, I suggested combining the research with geometry.

Photo courtesy of Fernanda Florido-Calvo

Achievements as an HSE University Student

I’m very thankful to Ivan Remizov for giving me the idea to take part in the All-Russia Contest of Diploma Thesis of Russian Mathematicians. I won in two categories: a First-Class Award and a 100% Positive Marks Award. Ivan also mentioned me in the acknowledgements of one of his publications, which was really nice. He said that our conversations helped give him the right ideas. We’re currently planning to write a joint article for a research journal.

Research Interests

Ivan and I are working together to find solutions to the Schrödinger equation. The topic of my research is ‘Quasi-Feynman Formulas for the Schrödinger Equation on a Manifold.’ It was very interesting to work on, and it involved hard work and overcoming various difficulties. For example, we had geometric limitations, but we rose to the challenge in the end.

Ivan Remizov

Associate Professor, Department of Fundamental Mathematics, Faculty of Informatics, Mathematics, and Computer Science (HSE Nizhny Novgorod)

A manifold is a generalized concept of a one-dimensional curve and a two-dimensional surface at higher dimensions. The Schrödinger equation describes the dynamics of quantum particles on a manifold. Using a technique I suggested, Fernanda wrote a solution to the Schrödinger equation in the form of a quasi-Feynman Formula.

Plans for the Future

I would like to continue studying and researching in the future. I’m not sure yet where I’d like to continue my research work, but HSE University is one of the frontrunners, of course. I have almost finished my studies at the University of Passau in Germany, which is a partner of HSE [note: students on master’s degrees study in Russia for one year, Germany for another year, and graduate with two degrees]. I’d really like to go back to Russia and continue working with Ivan Remizov in related areas of maths and physics, using mathematical methods to explain physical phenomena. This is an important and relatively under-researched field with a lot of future potential.

For me, HSE University was a gateway into the wider world of science. While there, I learned about a new culture, gained experience and (most importantly) learned about Ivan Remizov’s research, which was a huge discovery for me. HSE University means a lot to me.

Photo courtesy of Fernanda Florido-Calvo

Impressions of Russia

During my time at HSE, I truly fell in love with Russia—the nature, the people, the culture. In Chile, where I was born and grew up, there’s desert all around. There’s a lot of sand, and almost no trees or green grass. It only rains twice a year at best, and it doesn’t snow, of course. The snow in Russia was a real shock to me, and that’s where I saw snow for the first time in my life. And so much of it! It was unbelievable! I also really like the sound of the Russian language. Unfortunately, I haven’t learned Russian yet; to me, it seems much harder than maths, but it’s something for the future.

International admissions for 2022/23 start November 1

HSE University welcomes applicants from all over the world and offers not only different levels of study, but also different formats in English and Russian, online and offline. International applicants can apply for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in a separate admissions process for foreign applicants and receive scholarships with full or partial tuition fee coverage.

When applying to a Bachelor’s programme, including five English-taught programmes in Moscow, it is possible to submit international certificates you have received in English and mathematics, such as IELTS, TOEFL, A-Level and other international exams and they will be recognized by HSE University, so taking entrance exams in relevant subjects will not be required.

Undergraduate applicants can test their chances of admission now by taking mock tests. Master’s applicants also have the opportunity to get a preliminary assessment of their portfolio and communicate with their programme of choice online.

To learn more about HSE University, its admission process, or life in Moscow, please visit International Admissions website, or contact the Education & Training Advisory Centre. The staff are happy to advise applicants and their parents via e-mail at inter@hse.ru, by phone +7 (495) 531 00 59, or WhatsApp +7 (916) 311 85 21, as well as on social media in Russian and in English: Vkontakte, Facebook, Telegram and Instagram.

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