Best of Australian Mathematics Honoured
Leading Australian mathematicians have been honoured at today’s opening of the 63rdAustralian Mathematical Society (AustMS) annual meeting in Melbourne.
Associate Professor David Harvey from the University of New South Wales took top honours as winner of the 2019 AustMS Medal. Presented to an AustMS member under 40, the medal recognises distinguished research in the mathematical sciences.
Also recognised with awards today, Queensland University of Technology Mathematical Sciences Lecturer, Belinda Spratt received the 2019 Award for Teaching Excellence (Early Career). The 2019 Gavin Brown Prize for outstanding article, monograph or book was presented to University of Queensland researchers Dr Zdravko Botev and Professors Joseph Grotowski and Dirk Kroese for their paper Kernel Density Estimation Via Diffusion published in the Annals of Statistics.
Congratulating this year’s winners, AustMS President, Professor Jacqui Ramagge said it was exciting to celebrate work has transformed Australian and global mathematics.
“We are delighted to recognise outstanding Australians whose contributions have advanced understanding of mathematics in and beyond their fields,” she said.
The AustMS Medal is another highlight in a year of success for Associate Professor David Harvey, whose work on integer multiplication settled a notorious conjecture that had remained unsolved for nearly 50 years. In Melbourne to accept his award, Harvey said he was overwhelmed by the honour that places him in a winners list featuring some of his mathematical heroes.
“Many of the past recipients of this medal are giants of Australian mathematics who I admire greatly. It is very humbling to be listed with them as a recipient of this award and I thank AustMS for this honour and their commitment to recognising and celebrating Australian mathematics research,” he said.
Known for her innovative approaches and teaching techniques, Teaching Excellence Award recipient, Belinda Spratt, was recognised for transforming student engagement and perception of mathematics. From online videos and quizzes to live coding with personalised feedback, she has had notable impact on her students learning experience and outcomes.
Thanking AustMS for the recognition, she said the real reward was seeing the change in her students and their learning success.
“I am very grateful for this recognition of my work by AustMS and the Australian mathematical community. This award sends a very important signal about the value and impact of teaching and its role in developing and inspiring new talent,” said Belinda Spratt.
This year’s Gavin Brown Prize winning paper, Kernel density estimation via diffusion has been described as ‘stunning’, ‘exceptionally well written’ and ‘extraordinary’. Marrying ideas from mathematical analysis and applied statistics, the trio have been praised for their fast kernel density estimator, which also achieves excellent accuracy thanks to an ingenious bandwidth selection algorithm.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Dr.Botev said the award was a humbling honour that recognised four years of tireless search resulting in a compelling and beautiful estimator.
“This work is yet another example of the unifying power of mathematics — our estimator uses the abstract concepts originally due to Fourier, Einstein and others, that describe phenomena ranging from the spread of heat in objects through to the spread of information in social networks,” he said.
Today’s ceremony opens the 2019 AustMS Annual meeting at Monash University’s Clayton Campus in Melbourne. A calendar fixture for Australian mathematical sciences and statistics, this year again boasts a diverse program of cutting-edge mathematical methodologies and research to nurture national and international collaboration. For meeting details, visit austms.org.au
Awarded annually to an AustMS member under 40 for distinguished mathematical sciences research.
Presented to encourage excellence in mathematics teaching in higher education, this award recognises outstanding contributions to teaching and student learning at a tertiary level.
Awarded to an outstanding article, monograph or book consisting of original mathematical research.
Professor Jacqui Ramagge, AustMS President
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