Women in Science Profiles
Dr. Neza Mramor Kosta
My decision to study mathematics was more or less a coincidence, in fact my two brothers-in-law (one a physists and one a doctor) convinced me that mathematical knowledge would become more and more important and that with this choice I cannot make a mistake. So I discovered and learned to appreciate mathematics only during my studies at the university. The credit for my enthusiasm is due above all to my excellent teachers, who opened for me a new door to the unexpected and exciting world of abstract mathematics. They also taught me that mathematics is a very precise and efficient language, used in most sciences and elsewhere for describing and forecasting phenomena.
Also my decision for a scientific career was not planned. During my studies I was invited to join the mathematical group at the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering as an assistant for mathematics. Because of this I enrolled as a graduate student of mathematics immediately after finishing my undergraduate studies. But my graduate studies as well as my work at the university had to wait because of the birth of my daughter and, a year and a half later, my son. I finished my studies of functional analysis with a master’s thesis in the field of topology. My doctoral thesis, also in topology, was prepared partly in Ljubljana and partly at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana in the US where, with some luck, my husband and I both managed to get a scholarship. Together with our two children we spent there altogether two years.
The core of my research work is in theoretical mathematics, more specifically in topology. At the Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Mechanics in Ljubljana I am a member of the group for topology and geometry. Here, my main interest is in equivariant topology, which represents a mathematical way of describing the existence of symmetry in a set or an object. Applications of mathematics to various fields, for example economics, computer vision and image analysis, optics and artificial intelligence have also always attracted me. At the Faculty of Computer and Information Science I am the head of the Laboratory for mathematical methods in computer and information science, where our research is oriented more towards applied mathematics. In addition to working on applied projects we try to offer help to our colleagues with their mathematical problems. In the past few years I have been working also in computational topology, where we developed algorithms for data analysis which are based on topological methods.
The main part of my work is teaching mathematical analysis to students of computer science at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science in Ljubljana. Working with students is a pleasure to me and it is especially rewarding when my students, future computer scientists show a good knowledge and understanding of mathematics and an enthusiasm for the topics of their study.
Apart from my family, my teaching and research work, I love to spend time in the mountains. I enjoy the mountains in any time of the year, on foot or on skis, alone or, even better, with my friends, my colleagues or my family, in which the central role belongs to my little granddaughter Inja.