Dr Orsola Rath Spivack
"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I've found it!), but 'That's funny...'" - Isaac Asimov

Welcome to my website! I'm an applied mathematician in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) at the University of Cambridge, with a focus on wave scattering and inverse problems. I also have a long-standing interest in mathematical outreach.

You can find out more about my research here, and my outreach here.

Office: G0.09

Phone: +44 (0)1223 337861

Email: or100@cam.ac.uk


I'm also affiliated to the Cantab Capital Institute for the Mathematics of Information (CCIMI).

About me

My interest in Maths started at secondary school in Italy, and at first I started having fun with symbolic logic and mathematical objects such as groups and rings. Physics and the philosophy of quantum physics also sparked my interest so my first degree at the Università degli Studi of Milan was in Physics. After a stint teaching Mathematics and Physics in secondary schools in Milan, and then Applied Mathematics at Tel-Aviv University, I moved to the UK in 1984 to study for a PhD in Applied Mathematics with Professor Derek Richards at the Open University. In 1988, I took up a post-doctoral research position at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. Following a 5 year career break in 1991 to look after my two young children, I joined Lucy Cavendish in 1995 with a Daphne Jackson Research Fellowship, and started working in the Faculty of Mathematics. I was subsequently Lu Gwei Djen Research Fellow in Lucy Cavendish, before becoming Graduate Tutor from 1999 until 2015, and Director of Studies in Mathematics from 2007 until 2021. Since 1995, I've worked on various research projects in DAMTP. I have also contributed to a variety of outreach activities over the years, becoming Faculty Admissions Officer in 2015. In October 2021, I joined Newnham College as a Fellow, College Lecturer, and Director of Studies in Mathematics.