Mathematics student reaches Countdown quarter-finals

An applied mathematics PhD student in The University of Manchester's Department of Mathematics has qualified for a place in the quarter-finals of popular Channel 4 game show Countdown.

James Haughton, whose research focuses on developing mathematical models of the skin's mechanical (eg stress-strain) behaviour, accounting for how the skin's microstructures - the arrangement and properties of the skin's constituents - influence its macroscopic behaviour, has so far won eight games on the much-loved TV programme.

The show is headed by presenter Nick Hewer and also features mathematics expert Rachel Riley and wordsmith Susie Dent, as well as Dictionary Corner celebrity guests. Participants compete in word and number tasks against each other and the famous Countdown clock.

James's first episode was aired on Tuesday, 16 July, and every weekday after that until Thursday, 25 July. He said: "I am a big fan of the show, so to get the opportunity to appear on it was an absolute pleasure, and to win eight games was an incredible feeling.

"Fortunately, I was made to feel very welcome by everyone who worked on the show [...] It was also nice to meet my fellow contestants and chat to them in the green room between games; they were all very nice people.

"On one day I had to film six games, which was very tiring, but the adrenaline of this being my one chance on the show carried me through (plus the odd snack, or ten, throughout the day to keep my energy up). My quarter final match will be on TV in December, and hopefully a semi-final and final appearance too."

We wish James all the best and can't wait to see him back on our screens in December!

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