Prof Michelle Simmons named Australian of the Year

UNSW Quantum Physicists Prof Michelle Simmons has be awarded 2018 Australian of the Year. Professor Simmons leads the Quantum Physics Department of the University of New South Wales, a world leader in quantum computing research.

The 2018 Australian of the Year Awards highlighted the importance of STEM with Botanist Dr Graham Farquhar (ANU) named Senior Australian of the Year, and Maths Teach Eddie Woo named Australian Local Hero. The Young Australian of the Year is Samantha Kerr, who has overcome gender barriers to become an international sports star.

Personal Safety at Conferences

Recently, a statistician wrote about her experiences of sexual assault and harassment at statistics conferences. Her account has been corroborated by others.

The American Statistical Association (ASA) and The International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA) have both set up task forces targeted at personal safety of conference participants.

The Safe ISBA task force is being led by Prof Kerrie Mengersen (QUT), who was a plenary speaker at the 2017 WIMSIG conference.

The AustMS is setting up a Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee which includes the scope to improve AustMS practice to support women in mathematics. A call for nominations to this committee closed on January 31. When the committee is set up they will develop a framework for dealing with specific cases and safety concerns. AustMS and AMSI take this issue very seriously.

If you would like to discuss your concerns, comments or experience about personal safety at mathematics conferences you may contact:

WIMSIG Incoming Chair & Immediate Past Chair positions

It is a pleasure to welcome A/Prof Jessica Purcell (Monash) to the WIMSIG Executive Committee. As the sole nomination for the Incoming Chair position, no election was needed. Thank you Jessica for taking on this important role. The Committee is looking forward to working with you.

We also farewell A/Prof Lesley Ward (UniSA) as the Immediate Past Chair on the WIMSIG Executive Committee. Lesley was an Ordinary Member in the inaugural WIMSIG term (2013-2014), then Chair during the second term (2015-2016), followed by Immediate Past Chair (2017). In her five years of service on the Executive Committee Lesley has done a tremendous amount of work, including proposing and then being Director for the inaugural 2017 WIMSIG conference which was a great success. Thank you Lesley for your many contributions and we wish you well in your future endeavours.

Recent Promotions to Professor

Yvonne Stokes (Adelaide), Natalie Thamwattana (Wollongong) and Diane Donovan (UQ) have all been promoted to Professor. Congratulations to these fabulous women!

Room named in honour of Kerry Landman

A meeting room in the Peter Hall Building at The University of Melbourne has been named after recently retired Prof Kerry Landman.

“Professor Kerry Landman, who retired in 2015, was appointed as a lecturer at The University of Melbourne in 1986. In 2007, Kerry became the first female professor in the mathematical sciences at The University of Melbourne. She made profound contributions to the mathematical sciences locally, nationally and internationally over 30 years. She directed a number of national Mathematics in Industry Study Groups and was a trailblazer for industrial mathematical consulting. She established the discipline of mathematical biology at The University of Melbourne and had notable collaborations with biologists and medical scientists, especially on problems of normal and anomalous embryonic growth and development.”


UNSW Sydney

University of Wollongong


Oxford University is experimenting extra time on maths exams to reduce the gender grade gap.

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.