Latest AustMS WIMSIG Awardees

Congratulations to the following awardees of the Maryam Mirzakhani Award and the April 2021 round (Round 14) of the Cheryl E. Praeger Travel Awards.

Praeger Award

  • Nargiz Sultanova (Federation University of Australia) was awarded a Praeger Award to participate in the SIAM Conference on Optimization (international conference, to be held virtually).
  • Adriana Zanca (The University of Melbourne) was awarded a Praeger Award for a research visit to Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane. 

Maryam Mirzakhani Award

  • Maud El-Hachem  (Queensland University of Technology)

Maud came to her postgraduate studies in applied mathematics with a background in computer science. Her undergraduate training and Master’s thesis involved the development of computational algorithms for approximating gradient operators using novel GPU approaches.  Given Maud’s background in computer science and numerical methods, her PhD program focuses on the analysis (formal asymptotics and numerical methods) to study partial differential equation models of invasion that are often used in mathematical biology.  

Maud’s research focuses on comparing classical models, such as the well-known Fisher-Kolmogorov model, with more recent approaches that re-cast these models as moving boundary problems.  This work seeks to overcome a key limitation of the Fisher-Kolmogorov model which, when non-dimensionalised, leads to travelling wave solutions with a positive wave speed, c > 2. This means that standard analysis neglects slower travelling wave solutions with c < 2.  These slow travelling wave solutions are routinely disregarded on the grounds of being non-physical owing to arguments that arise in the phase plane.  One of the limitations of traditional mathematical approaches to understand invasion is that the underlying biology is highly idealised, and a consequence is that travelling wave solutions with c < 2 are completely disregarded.  Maud’s work has carefully compared the classical application of the Fisher-Kolmogorov model with the more recent approach of studying the same partial differential equation reformulated with a moving boundary.  This reformulated problem, that Maud has called the Fisher-Stefan model, allows us to study travelling wave solutions with arbitrary speed.  This includes travelling wave solutions with c < 2, and even travelling wave solutions with c < 0, which Maud has called a receding travelling wave.  Maud’s work has been published in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena and Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences.

Honourable Mention: Ayreena Bakhtawar (La Trobe). Ayreena ranked second place for the Maryam Mirzakhani Award in 2020 and 2021.

A big thank-you to the Selection Committee, comprised of Florica-Corina Cîrstea (USyd), Sara Herke (UQ), and Sevvandi Kandanaarachchi (RMIT), for their work in assessing the applications.

Round 15 of the travel awards is now open and closes on October 1, 2021.

Launch of the 2021 WIMSIG Mentoring Program

Following a successful pilot mentoring program in 2020, WIMSIG is excited to announce the launch of our mentoring program in 2021! This will run from July 2021 to February 2022. We are now seeking mentor and mentee participants. Mentors can be Friends or Members of WIMSIG of any gender, while Mentees should be Members of WIMSIG and identify as women or nonbinary.

Anyone interested in applying for the program should fill out the following expression of interest forms by Friday 25 June.


Knot Theory Mini-Winter School

Join HDR students from across Australia for a three-day workshop on knot theory to be held at The Australian National University on June 23–25, 2021. Students from all disciplines are welcome! Financial support is available, but the applications close soon. Please email Joan Licata (joan.licata@anu.edu.au) with any questions. For more details, including registration, see https://maths.anu.edu.au/news-events/events/knot-days-mini-winter-school-anu.

Women in Geometry, Analysis and Topology at MATRIX

A week-long retreat (August 29 — September 4, 2021) where new and existing collaborative groups can meet to get some research done. Registration is by invitation. We encourage you to send us your research question and proposed collaborators by June 29. Organised by Julie Clutterbuck, Melissa Tacy, and Vanessa Robins. More info here.

Celebration of Women in Australian Mathematical Sciences

SAVE THE DATE: Friday 1st October, 2021

A preliminary schedule is now available here.


University of Southern Queensland

ARC Training Centre in Optimisation Technologies, Integrated Methodologies and Applications

UNSW Sydney

The University of Sydney


Have you read an interesting article? Have some news? Have an opportunity available?

Please send items to WIMSIG-news@women.austms.org.au.

Note: Newsletters are published on the 1st day of each month (or soon after). The deadline for submitted items is the 27th day of each month.

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