Shaunagh Downing

Shaunagh graduated from the University of Limerick in 2016 with a BSc in Mathematics and Physics.

Shaunagh graduated from the University of Limerick in 2016 with a BSc in Mathematics and Physics. During this time, she undertook an internship at an international semiconductor company and completed a final year thesis concerning Stefan problems. Following her undergraduate, Shaunagh undertook an industrial research placement at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics in Los Angeles, collaborating with a National Research Laboratory. Shaunagh continued her studies at the University of Bath, completing an MSc in Modern Applications of Mathematics. Her Master’s dissertation was based on corner flows of viscoelastic fluids, in particular looking at the stress singularities around sharp re-entrant corners. Outside of maths, Shaunagh has a black belt in karate, and also enjoys watching Gaelic football, and reading.

Research project title:
Mathematical and numerical problems in seismic imaging

Ivan Graham, Euan Spence, Evren Yarman

Project description:
Shaunagh’s project, in collaboration with industrial partner Schlumberger, concerns the numerical analysis of wave propagation problems and applications to marine seismic exploration. As part of the seismic exploration process, acoustic waves are emitted from a source into the earth. These waves are then reflected from the subsurface and measured by sensors. The relationship between the earth’s subsurface and the measurements are mathematically modelled by partial differential equations (PDEs). Given the measurements, the properties of the subsurface can be inferred from the numerical solution of these PDEs to obtain a detailed image of the subsurface. This is then used to select and drill exploration and production wells. In seismic exploration, a problem of great practical interest is that of optimal sensor placement and this project explores how, if given prior information about the likely make-up of the subsurface (in the form of a class of generic models), the location of the sensors can be optimised to retrieve sufficient information about the subsurface.