Heather Collis outside in front of some pine trees. Photo provided by Heather Collisof
Heather Collis outside in front of some pine trees. Photo provided by Heather Collis

Heather is PhD researcher in The School of Mathematical Sciences at The University of Nottingham. She works in the field of Mathematical Biology and her project focuses on using mathematics to help understand hormone regulation of plant root growth. Alongside her studies, Heather enjoys playing netball, playing DnD, and going for long walks.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

I wanted to be an Astronaut as kid, and would definitely still take up the opportunity to be one!

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Climate science

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

I’m trying to fly less so now only fly for work – so it would have to be to an amazing mathematics conference!

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?


12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

I’ve started listening to Fit & Fearless on BBC Sounds. It’s a great podcast about getting fit and improving body confidence in a healthy way.

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Absolutely nothing, some times it’s nice to just relax. Though I will always leave the house at some point – I hate not feeling fresh air at least once a day.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Fresh air, friends, and chocolate

15 What beverage gives you life?

Ice cold water

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I hated reading until I read that book. It’s probably the only reason I still enjoy reading.

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

A hope that my work might lead towards the development of more sustainable crop species.

19 What got you excited in science?

A really good chemistry teacher who always found an experiment that exploded that was some how linked to what we were learning.

20 What excites you about science now?

Hearing about great discoveries but knowing there’s still so much to learn.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Too much chocolate

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I’m not sure it’s a secret, but I play the flute and the tenor saxophone.

23 What is your favorite game?

Dungeons and Dragons

24 What is the last book you read?

BOSH! How to be Vegan by Henry Firth & Ian Theasby

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

You only get one brain, protect it (referring to buying the best cycling helmet I could afford).

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Stand up comedy

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Learn to fail, it’s the best way to grow.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Having a rant to your best friend.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Doctor Who

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Nothing – I once forgot my purse so just carried an empty bag around all day.

31 What is your favorite animal?

Baby hippos

32 What is your favorite book?

I don’t really have one.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?


34 What is your favorite day of the year?

My birthday

35 What is your favorite plant?

Aloe vera

36 What is your favorite science fact?

e^(i*pi) +1 = 0 (Euler’s Idenity)

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Fresh baked bread

39 What is your favorite sound?

A good saxophone solo

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I quite like being tall

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Passing my Grade 8 on my flute and saxophone

43 What kind of tree would you be?

A really tall one

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

Lot’s of independent coffee shops

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

Maths is actually really cool!

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Zia Bresnahan @ZiaNeverSleeps