Professor Susan Scott (ANU) to travel to Antarctica

Early this year I was selected to join an international team of 80 women for the 2018 Homeward Bound program. This 12-month leadership program is an initiative, turned global movement, which aims to heighten the impact of women with a science background in order to influence policy and decision making as it shapes our planet over the next decade. It culminates in a 3-week female expedition to Antarctica in February-March 2018.

Four of the key objectives of the Homeward Bound vision are as follows.

  • To elevate each participant’s leadership capabilities.
  • To educate the team on the science of what is happening to our planet.
  • To refine participants’ skills to design and execute strategy, and to create plans for future collaborations as women working towards a sustainable future.
  • To enhance these skills, over a 10-year target, with 1000 women networked and skilled to affect change.

The 2018 Homeward Bound team is profiled here.

This is a fantastic opportunity for women in STEM. In the ten months I have been on this program so far I have learnt much about my own leadership skills and how I can improve them, about visibility and why women in general don’t have much of a voice in determining policy regarding the current and future health of our planet. I am very concerned and passionate about this global issue and am tremendously excited and inspired by my networking and training with this growing international cohort of wonderful women in STEM. I would like to encourage women in WIMSIG with similar concerns and interests to consider applying for the program in future years as this is a 10 year initiative.

2017 Nobel Prize awarded for gravitational wave detection

The 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish, and Kip S. Thorne who led the LIGO lab that discovered gravitational waves. This was a large international project that included researchers from Australia including Adelaide Uni, ANU, Charles Sturt, Melbourne Uni, Monash, Swinburne, UWA.

Professor Emma Johnston is the new President of STA

Science & Technology Australia (STA) is the umbrella body representing scientific and technical societies. AustMS was a founding member of STA. STA runs project such as Science Meets Parliament, Science Meets business, and the Superstars of STEM project.

Physicist Prof Michelle Simmons awarded 2018 NSW Australian of the Year

It’s great news when a female scientist is awarded such a public honour. Even better is that the 2018 NSW Local Hero is mathematics teacher Eddie Woo. That’s two recent honours to STEM professionals!

Election for AustMS President

A reminder to members that the election for AustMS President-Elect, with the two candidates Prof Geoff Prince and Prof Jacqui Ramagge, closes on Monday 4 December. Only ballot papers reaching the AustMS Secretary by that date will be considered.

As far as possible, ballot papers were sent by email to all eligible members (which does not include free student members or those liable to pay a subscription who have not paid for this year). If you believe you are eligible and have not received a ballot paper, or if you have received but mislaid the ballot paper sent to you, please contact AustMS Secretary, Peter Stacey, as soon as possible at secretary@austms.org.au

Discipline Profile of the Mathematical Sciences

AMSI has released the 2017 Discipline Profile of the Mathematical Sciences. The trend of girls eschewing maths in the senior high school continues. However the achievement gaps in the early years are not statistically significant. You can read the full report here.

Choose Maths Short Films

AMSI Choose maths has made some short films profiling some of the Choose Maths Ambassadors. Each film is about three minutes long, and suitable for children and adults to watch. WIMSIG member Charles Gary is featured in the film “The Harmony of Maths”.

Maths Craft Book  with some seasonal decoration ideas

“The Möbius Band” by Clifford Pickover. (The subtitle of the book is: Dr August Möbius’s marvellous band in mathematics, games, literature, art, technology, and cosmology.)

Pickover describes a Slovenian artist Teja Krasek, who makes Möbius band sculptures, tiled with Penrose tilings, as always decorating her Christmas tree with Möbius bands made of shiny gold paper — she needs no strings, as she just hangs the loops directly on the tree (page 167).

Katherine Seaton has also posted about this on the Maths Craft Australia  Ravelry page.


61st Annual Meeting of the Australian Mathematical Society

WIMSIG General Meeting

At the 2017 AustMS meeting in Sydney, WIMSIG will have a general business meeting.

  • Time: 5-6pm, Monday 11 December 2017
  • Venue: E7B 263, Macquarie University (a short walk from the dinner)

This meeting is a chance for members and friends of WIMSIG to meet the Executive Committee and discuss things of interest. If there is an item you would like put on the agenda, please contact the WIMSIG Secretary.


  • Presentations from nominees for the Incoming Chair position
  • Presentation from Birgit Loch (La Trobe) on the peer-support promotion scheme
  • Presentation on our plans for the WIMSIG Mentoring Scheme, with results from the survey
  • Discussion about introducing a Student Representative to the WIMSIG Executive Committee

The General Meeting will be followed by the Women in Mathematical Sciences Dinner.

Women in Mathematical Sciences Dinner

  • Time: 6:45pm-9:00pm, Monday 11 December 2017
  • Place: MGSM Macquarie Room, Macquarie University

The dinner will feature speeches and Q&A from some prominent women, including plenary speakers.

Please note that registrations for the dinner have now closed.


ANZIAM Executive Committee

Call for nominations for all elected positions on the ANZIAM Executive Committee

Some current members of the Executive Committee cannot be renominated again for 2018 as they have already served their maximum term. These include ordinary members from South Australia, New Zealand and Queensland.

In addition, we are seeking a new Web Editor, as our current Web Editor, Dr Roslyn Hickson, is keen to handover this role.

Please complete the attached nomination form and send a scanned copy to me at melanie.roberts@au1.ibm.com by close of business on Friday 15 December 2017.  

Science Meets Parliament

Science & Technology Australia (STA) organises an annual 2-day event during which scientists can meet parliamentarians (and thus be ambassadors for their disciplines).

The AustMS is allowed to nominate two delegates and Council will decide on financial support for 2018 delegates at its meeting on December 11. In 2017 Council decided to provide up to $1,500 each to support registration costs, accommodation and travel expenses for up to two early career researchers (up to 9 years post PhD).

Details of the event, which will be held on February 13-14, can be found here.

Registration details, which will become relevant for those selected, are here.

The event is earlier than usual this coming year and there is early bird registration available before December 21. It is expected that AustMS representatives will be selected in time to take advantage of this.

To express interest in attending this event as an AustMS delegate, please send an email to secretary@austms.org.au, with a brief bio of up to 100 words (required for distribution to parliamentarians if you are selected) and your reasons for wishing to attend. Please do so by Friday 1 December.

Below is a list of WIMSIG members who have recently been to SMP.

  • 2017 Joanne Hall, Sponsored by AustMS
  • 2017 Jacqui Rammage, Sponsored by AMSI
  • 2017 Natalie Thamawattana, Sponsored by AMSI
  • 2016 Giang Nguyen, Sponsored by ASOR
  • 2016 Lesley Ward, Sponsored by AMSI
  • 2014 Bronwyn Hajek, Sponsored by AustMS
  • 2011 Deborah Cromer, Sponsored by AustMS
  • 2009 Amie Albrecht, Sponsored by AustMS

The University of Melbourne

Brandon University (Canada)

The University of New Brunswick (Fredericton)


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.