How do you make a star-shaped Cheerio? How do they make the glass on your smartphone screen so flat? And how can you make a vacuum filter that removes the most dust before it blocks?

All of these challenges fall under the umbrella of industrial mathematics and they all have a common theme: we know the final properties of the product we want to make and need to come up with a way of manufacturing this. Ian Griffiths demonstrates how we can use mathematics to start with the final desired product and trace the problem ‘back in time’ to manufacture products that would otherwise be impossible to produce.

Ian Griffiths is a Professor of Industrial Mathematics and a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford.