Boselli, aged 27, was branded the “world’s sexiest maths teacher” earlier this year by newspapers and magazines around the world after one of his students at University College London posted on social media that he was also a successful model, and the post went viral.
Since then Boselli – a mechanical engineering PhD who taught maths to engineering students – has been hugely in demand, leading a campaign for designer underwear and posing for the cover of Attitude. He has more than half a million Instagram followers.
But only now has he decided to talk about what really turns him on: the fluid dynamics of turbo machinery.
What sparked your interest in maths and science?
The realisation that I had an inclination for mathematics came when I was 15. I started really enjoying it at school, and had fun solving problems at home. One of the most clearly recognisable events in my memory that I can quote as a “spark” of my interest in science was a book I read when I was 16, written by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, The Evolution of Physics. I remember reading the last page, and then sitting there with the book in my hands and having this sort of epiphany. I suddenly knew my future was going to be in science.
What’s your favourite piece of mathematics and why?
The Navier-Stokes equations, because together with conservation of mass and energy they are the governing equations of fluid mechanics. They represent the ultimate ability of the modelling of a natural system through mathematics, and they don’t (yet) have a known closed analytical solution.
When and why did you choose engineering over maths?
I always loved maths for its purity, and physics for its beauty. But I soon realised how innovation in these fields now pushes into metaphysics and it has become something that will be discussed in philosophy books in the future, when all theories will have been confuted. I am very creative and too much “hands on” for this sort of endeavour, and I realised this very soon too. Engineering seemed like the perfect choice for me, since it allowed me to use the maths and physics I loved, to create things that “work in real life”.
I love engineering, everything manmade that surrounds us required so much thought and knowledge, and studying engineering really made me see things around me in a different light. Also my way of tackling everyday problems and finding solutions has been affected.