[Image] Emily Roff

I am a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, where I am a member of the Geometry and Topology group in the Hodge Institute, working with Tom Leinster. My research has to do with numerical and homological invariants of metric spaces that derive from an interpretation of a metric space as a type of enriched category. More generally, I am interested in enriched category theory and its applications within and beyond pure mathematics.

On this page: Events | Writing | Talks | Teaching | Outreach and exchange | Past lives | Contact


This year I am co-organizing, with Ruben Van Belle, The Categorical Late Lunch, Edinburgh's informal category theory seminar.

Last year I co-organized, with Guy Boyde and Aryan Ghobadi, a meeting for junior researchers called Topics in Category Theory: A Spring School. You'll find the programme of events here, and the conference photograph here.


'The maximum entropy of a metric space' (with Tom Leinster), arXiv:1908.11184, 2019; Quarterly Journal of Mathematics, to appear


Nov 2020 'Maximum entropy, uniform measure' ML@CL seminar, Cambridge Computer Laboratory
Jun 2020 'Magnitude homology, from scratch' Pure PGR seminar, Southampton
Dec 2019 'Diversity and magnitude' LMS Applied Algebra and Geometry research network, Oxford
Nov 2019 'Hochschild homology for enriched categories' Hodge Club, Edinburgh
Jul 2019 'The maximum diversity of a compact metric space' Magnitude 2019, ICMS, Edinburgh
Apr 2019 'The magnitude and diversity of a metric space' TopApp workshop, IST Austria
Apr 2019 'The magnitude of an enriched category' GEARS seminar, Edinburgh/Glasgow
Mar 2019 'Diversity: developments in the biology of mathematics' Hodge Club, Edinburgh
Jan 2019 'Building complexes from point clouds' Persistent homology working seminar, Edinburgh
Mar 2018 'Commutative monads' Part III seminar, Cambridge


As a teaching assistant in the School of Mathematics:

Autumn 2019, 2020 Accelerated Proofs and Problem Solving
Spring 2019, 2020 Honours Algebra
Autumn 2019 Honours Analysis Skills

As a teaching assistant in the School of Economics:

Autumn 2019, 2020 Advanced Mathematical Economics

As a supervisor for the undergraduate vacation research programme in the School of Mathematics:

Summer 2020 Six-week project on 'Categorified linear algebra and the Legendre-Fenchel transform', based on this paper by Simon Willerton.

Outreach and exchange

Sep 2019 — Performing Arts Forum, Saint-Erme-Outre-et-Ramecourt
Instructor at Mobilis in Mobili (led by Gabriel Catren)—a week-long workshop, addressed to non-scientists, introducing the history that led from the first axiomatic formulation of geometry in Euclid's Elements to Einstein's theory of special and general relativity. Presented a class on Euclidean and Cartesian geometry, and a workshop aimed at "discovering" Gaussian curvature and the Theorema Egregium.
Nov 2018, May 2019 — Robert Schumann Hochschule, Düsseldorf
Invited participant at Form and Formalism (led by Julian Rohrhuber and Tzu Chien Tho)—a seminar for students of music informatics and media theory with an interest in abstract algebra and category theory. Led discussions about universal properties, diagrams and limits.
Jun 2018 — Performing Arts Forum, Saint-Erme-Outre-et-Ramecourt
Instructor at Categories for the Hard-Working Non-Mathematician (led by Gabriel Catren)—a week-long, philosophically oriented introduction to the basics of category theory for people without a university background in mathematics. Presented three two-hour lectures: on sets, equivalence relations and groupoids; on categories and functors; and on algebraic methods in topology.
Feb 2018 — Skowhegan Gallery and NYU, New York
Invited participant at the Institute of Physical Sociality—a research group interested in mathematics and physics, ethics, gender and race, organized by Arika and led by Karen Barad, Gabriel Catren, Fred Moten and Fernando Zalamea.

Past lives

Before joining the University of Edinburgh in September 2018 I took the MASt in Pure Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, where I wrote my Part III essay under the supervision of Martin Hyland. Prior to that, I studied for a BSc with the Open University and King's College London.

I haven't always been a maths student. From 2011 through 2016 I worked as a welfare rights adviser with the Child Poverty Action Group, Drumchapel Money Advice Centre and WestGAP, and from 2005 until 2012-ish I (also) worked as a producer of music and arts projects with Arika and Tracer Trails. I have an undergraduate degree from the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

As my outreach and exchange activities suggest, I'm interested in talking with non-mathematicians about what mathematics has to do with understanding the social world, and I'm a fan of pedagogical experiments that aim to make such conversations possible.


Email firstname.lastname@ed.ac.uk

This page was last updated on 8 December 2020. Photo by Christian Töpfner.