Alumni Magazine #5_July 2020_single pages web

Dylan Durieux: Applied mathematicians are at the forefront of 4IR and COVID-19 Faculty of Science Faculty Prize for the Most Prestigious Honours Student for 2019

Dylan Durieux is in his element in the time of COVID-19 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Working towards his master’s degree in applied mathematics, he knows that in 4IR many things will be controlled and determined via algorithms and mathema- tical models. “A strong foundation in applied mathematics in South Africa will put us at the forefront of this age. It is imperative to have the skills to comprehensively analyse data, create robust models, and be in the position to incorporate them into the industry. An applied mathematician is the perfect profession from which to build a better and stronger South Africa.” “The COVID-19 pandemic has applied mathematicians at the forefront analysing data, such as infection and mortality rates, and it is applied mathematicians who model the spread of the disease. The information and data produced by these models are currently used by governments across the globe for the betterment of humanity,” says Durieux. Durieux was awarded the Faculty of Science’s Prize for the Most Prestigious Honours Student for 2019, an honour he believes will help set him apart from his peers in the job hunt and work environment. “Achieving this prestigious award illustrates characteristics that I would look for in an employee, such as tenacity, perseverance, and taking great pride in my work.” It did indeed require tenacity and perseverance for him to come out on top as the most prestigious honours student. “It took a lot of hard work and endless hours of dedication to try and be the best I could be. It was not an overnight accomplishment by any means; in my first year (2013) applied mathematics was the first module I ever failed, achieving a semester mark of only 24%. This trend


of underperforming and failing modules continued up until the end of 2015 where due to my academic ‘performance’ in the second semester, I was placed on academic warning at the University. This meant had I failed another module, I would have been given an F7 and kicked out of the University.” It was then that he promised himself to never fail anything again. In 2016, he passed all his modules, and in 2017, he achieved four distinctions out of his seven ANALYSE DATA, CREATE ROBUST MODELS, AND BE IN THE POSITION TO INCORPORATE THEM INTO THE INDUSTRY. AN APPLIED MATHEMATICIAN IS THE PERFECT PROFESSION FROM WHICH TO BUILD A BETTER AND STRONGER SOUTH AFRICA.”



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