Cheryl Praeger Travel Award: two funded applications
1. Adriana Zanca for the requested $1,000 (domestic travel) for a research visit to Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane
2. Nargiz Sultanova for the amount of $477 (or the AUD amount equivalent to 365 USD) for the SIAM Conference on Optimization (international conference, to be held virtually).
Maryam Mirzakhani Award successful applicant Maud El-Hachem.
The committee has also proposed Ayreena Bakhtawar for honourable mention. She came in second for the award both in 2020 and 2021.
A little bit about this year’s MM awardee:
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.