Research Fellow in Statistical Science@UWollongong

Closing Date: 6 February 2022, 11:59PM AEDT

The Centre for Environmental Informatics (CEI) in the National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (Centre for Environmental Informatics – University of Wollongong – UOW) is seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral Research Fellow in Statistical Science for up to three years, to join CEI Director Dist. Prof Noel Cressie and Assoc. Prof Andrew Zammit Mangion on a major initiative from the Australian Research Council: Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF). SAEF will deliver interdisciplinary science to forecast environmental change across Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic, and the Southern Ocean; deploy effective environmental-stewardship strategies in the face of this change; and secure Antarctica as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science (https://arcsaef.com). 
Details about the position can be found at:
Research Fellow in Statistical Science – University of Wollongong Careers (oraclecloud.com) 

The successful candidate will use statistical data science skills in areas that include the development and implementation of regional-climate data fusion, statistical downscaling, ice-sheet model calibration, and studying the effects of present and future climate on biodiversity in Antarctica. This will involve collaboration with researchers from SAEF’s participating universities and research institutions.

Wollongong is a highly liveable city on the beautiful Illawarra coast, about 50 miles (80km) south of Sydney.

Contact: Dist. Prof Noel Cressie (ncressie@uow.edu.au)

Algy Howe

It is with great sadness that we bring to you the news of the sudden passing of Algy Howe, at the age of 79.

Algy was the Society’s Treasurer between 1994 and 2019, and an Honorary Member of AustMS in recognition of his many years of exceptional service.

Algy was born on the third of August 1942, and grew up in Guyra, NSW. He attended Armidale High School, before commencing his undergraduate studies at the University of New England in 1960. Algy completed his BSc Honours degree at UNE in 1963 and moved to the ANU in 1964 to undertake his doctoral degree in mathematics under the supervision of Andrew Coppel.

Following the successful completion of his PhD, specialising in differential equations, he took up a temporary lectureship at the University of Queensland in early 1967. Later in the year he commenced a two-year postdoctoral position at Brown University in the United States. In August 1969, Algy commenced his appointment as Lecturer in the Department of Pure Mathematics, in the Faculty of Arts at ANU, under the Headship of Hanna Neumann. He subsequently remained at ANU throughout the rest of his career.

Algy unexpectedly passed away on 21 December, and will be deeply missed by all of those in our community who have had the pleasure of knowing him.

The Society wishes to expresses its condolences to his wife Maisie and children Marc and Melissa.

The family will hold a private farewell with just the immediate family prior to the New Year.

They will be holding a memorial event at the ANU mid to late January. Details will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Please note, the family are also gathering personal messages for Algy that they will place with him on the day of his cremation before the New Year.  

If you would like to convey a personal message to Algy, please email it to melissahowe10@gmail.com prior to 30 December.

In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations be made to https://www.marineconservation.org.au/actions/donate-sustainable-fisheries/ .

Deborah Jackson

Neil Trudinger

Ole Warnaar

AustMS2021 plenary profile – Richard Brent

This is the eighth in a series of interviews with the plenary speakers for the upcoming 65th Annual Meeting of the AustMS.

  1. What is your earliest mathematical memory?

 It’s hard to be sure, but I do remember being pleasantly surprised to learn that 1 + 2 + … + n = n(n+1)/2 – I don’t recall if I worked it out for myself or not. When a young boy (aged about 6) I used to amuse myself on long car trips by doing mental arithmetic, but maybe that doesn’t count as “mathematics”.

  1. What made you decide to become a mathematician, and when?

When I went to Uni (Monash, 1964-67) as an undergraduate I was undecided between maths, physics and chemistry, but I found that chemistry was too “ad hoc” and physics too “experimental” for me. Also, Monash had a great maths (and stats) department in those days – people like Gordon Preston, Zvonimir Janko, E. Strzelecki, Terry Speed, etc. So perhaps I decided to become a mathematician around 1966, in my third year at Monash. As a graduate student at Stanford (1968-71), I took courses from some great mathematicians (George Polya (in his eighties), Menahem (Max) Schiffer) but ended up graduating in Computer Science (which also had mathematicians: Forsythe, Golub, Knuth, etc). I then worked at the mathematical end of computer science for many years, and did not get a “real” job as a mathematician until the age of 58, when I became a Federation Fellow in MSI at ANU.

  1. Name a favourite paper by a contemporary mathematician, and why (or more than one, if you can’t decide).

This paper improved on several earlier papers, and any further improvement would require proving (or disproving) the RiemannHypothesis. (Several other papers by Terry Tao are also amongst my “favourites”.)

  1. What historical mathematician would you like to be able to talk maths with? What would you ask them?

Bernhard Riemann. I would ask him what he knew (or believed to be true) about the Riemann zeta function, but had not published.

  1. What result would you like to see in mathematics in the next 10 years?

A proof that P ne NP, or that the Riemann Hypothesis is true, or that the optimal exponent in the complexity of matrix multiplication is strictly greater than two, or […]. One attraction of mathematics is that there is never a shortage of interesting open problems!

Australian mathematicians recognised for contributions to research, teaching and the discipline

This week the Australian Mathematical Society recognises the work of leading Australian mathematicians at its 65th Annual Meeting.

The hybrid event, hosted by the University of Newcastle, started today and saw the award of the AustMS Medal, the George Szekeres Medal, the Society’s Award for Teaching Excellence, and the Gavin Brown Prize. These prizes cover the breadth of contributions of mathematicians—from distinguished research of a mid-career researcher to sustained outstanding contributions; from teaching to specific outstanding publications in the last decade.


Read more

Honorary memberships for trio of leading mathematicians

AustMS is pleased to announce that, at the hundred and thirty-first Council meeting, Council has unanimously decided to award Professor Graeme HockingProfessor Nalini Joshi and Associate Professor Peter Stacey Honorary Membership of AustMS for their exceptional services to the Society and to the discipline of mathematics.

A person distinguished for the promotion, extension or application of mathematical knowledge may be elected by the Council as an Honorary Member of the Society.

https://austms.org.au/membership/

AustMS2021 plenary profile – Robyn Araujo

This is the seventh in a series of interviews with the plenary speakers for the upcoming 65th Annual Meeting of the AustMS.

  1. What is your earliest mathematical memory?

I don’t have any very early mathematical memories, although my Mum has always proudly claimed that she heard me speak my first words as a toddler when I started to count out the clothes pegs in her laundry!!  (Apparently I was an avid watcher of Sesame Street as a young child, and my parents are convinced that I learned to count, and read simple words, from watching that).   But I do remember starting to take a serious interest in mathematics in early High School, as I had a truly fantastic maths teacher who gave wonderful explanations of mathematical concepts, so I started to appreciate the exciting possibilities of mathematics.

  1. What made you decide to become a mathematician, and when?

I never made a conscious decision to pursue mathematics, as such.  As an undergraduate, I initially got started in Engineering, but was a little disappointed with the amount (and level) of mathematics taught in my degree.  Bit by bit, I transitioned over into a more mathematical direction and then did a PhD in applied mathematics at QUT.

  1. Name a favourite paper by a contemporary mathematician, and why (or more than one, if you can’t decide).

It’s hard to pick just one paper, but I’d love to highlight the extraordinary work of the German mathematician Karin Gatermann here [See eg ACM DL, ResearchGate -Ed].   Unfortunately, Karin passed away in 2005 while only in her early forties;  but Karin was an extraordinary mathematical pioneer in symbolic computation and toric geometry, and was one of the first mathematicians to identify deep connections between mass-action kinetics and toric varieties. 

  1. What historical mathematician would you like to be able to talk maths with? What would you ask them?

If I had to pick just one historical mathematician, I’d probably pick Galois … I’d love to ask him where his ideas and insights came from, and how his mathematical thinking evolved.

  1. What result would you like to see in mathematics in the next 10 years?

I’d love to see a big breakthrough in the mathematics of the ‘Laws of Life’.  In many ways, the current state of biology and the life sciences is reminiscent of the state of physics 400-500 years ago.  Historically, biologists have shied away from ‘grand theories’ of nature, and have tended to focus more on details and reductionist approaches.  But things are changing, and there is now renewed hope that we may find the ‘laws of life’ in a similar spirit to the fundamental laws of nature in other areas of physics.

AustMS2021 plenary profile – Jennifer Flegg

This is the sixth in a series of interviews with the plenary speakers for the upcoming 65th Annual Meeting of the AustMS.

  1. What is your earliest mathematical memory?

I was listening to my parents talk about something and I interrupted them to ask my dad what a 15% discount meant. I remember his explanation of “one-tenth and then half that again” being really easy to follow. My dad says I then worked out what their discount was going to be (on my brother’s braces); but I don’t remember that I just remember his explanation of how to calculate 15%.  

  1. What made you decide to become a mathematician, and when?

I decided to become a mathematician in my first year of university. I was studying maths and economics in a double degree at the time; business because my parents were worried that I’d have no career options after finishing a maths degree on its own. I didn’t enjoy the economics much but loved studying maths at university and from then there wasn’t another career on my radar. 

  1. Name a favourite paper by a contemporary mathematician, and why (or more than one, if you can’t decide).
  • Jonathan Sherratt and James Murray, “Models of epidermal wound healing”, Proc Biol Sci. 1990 Jul 23;241(1300):29-36. doi: 10.1098/rspb.1990.0061. PMID: 1978332.

This paper started my love of mathematical biology and was the first that I spent many months looking over as part of a research project in my undergraduate degree. I wish I had time to look over papers now like I did this one.  

  1. What historical mathematician would you like to be able to talk maths with? What would you ask them?

I don’t think I could go past having a chat with Alan Turing about his mathematical work of how biological shapes and patterns develop.  I’d probably have a few questions about cracking the Enigma code too 🙂   

  1. What result would you like to see in mathematics in the next 10 years?

Since what I work on is quite applied, this is difficult for me to answer in the way I’m assuming the question was intended. So, I’m going to take this question a bit differently and say that the ‘result’ I’d like to see is more structure/support around interdisciplinary work that involves mathematics and statistics.  

AustMS2021 plenary profile – Gang Tian

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with the plenary speakers for the upcoming 65th Annual Meeting of the AustMS.

  1. What is your earliest mathematical memory?

My mother was a mathematician who made outstanding contributions to Hilbert’s 16th problem. When I was between 5 and 6 years old, she gave me some logical problems. One of them was to find bad ball by balance, say you have 9 balls, one of them is bad, but you do not know this ball ball is heavier or lighter, the problem is to find this bad one by using balance three times. The maximum number of balls one can do is 13. I found it was interesting. 

  1. What made you decide to become a mathematician, and when?

I like mathematics since very young. I decided to become a mathematician when I was in college. One reason is its beauty, the other is its simplicity in some sense, for instance, unlike many other disciplines, I can do mathematics in a rather independent way. 

  1. Name a favourite paper by a contemporary mathematician, and why (or more than one, if you can’t decide).

There are a number of papers I enjoyed reading and studying. A particular one is Perelman’s first paper on Ricci flow. It solves some long-standing problems on Ricci flow in an elegant yet simpler way. Moreover, it led to solving the Poincaré conjecture and so on. 

  1. What historical mathematician would you like to be able to talk maths with? What would you ask them?

Maybe skip this question. Of course, being a geometer, I have the highest respect for Riemann. 

  1. What result would you like to see in mathematics in the next 10 years?

I would like to see a fundamental progress on understanding smooth structures of 4-manifolds, such as the smooth Poincaré conjecture for 4-manifolds, through geometric methods.

AustMS2021 plenary profile – Emily Riehl

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with the plenary speakers for the upcoming 65th Annual Meeting of the AustMS.

  1. What is your earliest mathematical memory?

Not the earliest memory but an early memory is being absolutely delighted by Louis Sachar’s Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School. Problems include EGG + EGG = PAGE, SHE+EEL = ELSE, etc.

  1. What made you decide to become a mathematician, and when?

I’ve loved math my entire life and had decided to become a mathematician by mid high school, when I started learning about proofs.

  1. Name a favourite paper by a contemporary mathematician, and why (or more than one, if you can’t decide).

John Bourke’s and Richard Garner’s “Algebraic weak factorisation systems I: accessible AWFS” is absolutely beautiful and on a topic very close to my heart. 

Though I also have to mention the delightful “Homophonic quotients of free groups” by Jean-Francois Mestre, René School, Lawrence Washington, and Don Zagier, which everyone should read immediately.

  1. What historical mathematician would you like to be able to talk maths with? What would you ask them?

I’d love to hear Emmy Noether describe the insights that lead her to modern algebra.

  1. What result would you like to see in mathematics in the next 10 years?

I’d like to see a variant of homotopy type theory which actually computes, includes higher inductive types, and has semantics in any ∞-topos. Mike Shulman has proven that traditional homotopy type theory (without higher inductive types) has semantics in any ∞-topoi, but we’re still working on understanding the semantics of the new experimental “cubical” versions of homotopy type theory which have constructive proofs of univalence.

AustMS2021 plenary profile – Joaquim Serra

This is the third in a series of interviews with the plenary speakers for the upcoming 65th Annual Meeting of the AustMS.

  1. What is your earliest mathematical memory?

Something I remember well is spending a long time trying to solve a problem which required solving a quadratic equation, by only “rules of three”. The teacher had given it to us so that we failed, in order to motivate the coming lessons on quadratic equations.  I was stubborn enough to find, after hours, a solution using only rules of three. I was very proud about it until I learned what a quadratic equation was,  how easily it was solved

  1. What made you decide to become a mathematician, and when?

I always wanted to do Physics, but then I went to the Physics and Maths olympiads and  I performed rather poorly in the Physics ones, so I decided to try Maths.

  1. Name a favourite paper by a contemporary mathematician, and why (or more than one, if you can’t decide).

The paper “Regularity of flat level sets in phase transitions” of Savin is one of the first papers I read  and among my favorites since then. I remember struggling to understand some proofs at the beginning, but at the same time finding the interplay between PDE and geometry of the level set very beautiful.

  1. What historical mathematician would you like to be able to talk maths with? What would you ask them?

Gauss, who gave deep pure results with the most useful practical applications. After he was updated on today’s state of the art of knowledge, I would ask him what is his opinion on Machine Learning and its implications for Mathematics

  1. What result would you like to see in mathematics in the next 10 years?

Many of them! For instance, the classification of stable solutions  (stable critical point of the energy) of the Allen-Cahn equation in three dimensions.  Or the Cartan-Hadamard conjecture (isoperimetric inequality with Euclidean constant on spaces of nonpositive sectional curvature).