Australian Mathematicians

At the start of January we wanted to do something on our Facebook page to raise awareness about all the problems Australia has been through in the last period. We were shocked at the situation there.  For 2 weeks we researched and wrote more about Australian mathematicians and their work. In addition, each post has a link where you can donate for different charities and organizations. Things have changed a little bit since 4th of January when we started this project, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Also, the weather hasn’t been incredibly favourable neither. In this post we want to put together all the information we have discovered in those 2 weeks, including the mathematicians and where you can still donate to help.

Mathematician #1: Terence Tao

Donate #1: Australian Red Cross

Terence Chi-Shen Tao (born 17 July 1975) is an Australian-American mathematician who has worked in various areas of mathematics. He currently focuses on harmonic analysis, partial differential equations, algebraic combinatorics, arithmetic combinatorics, geometric combinatorics, compressed sensing and analytic number theory. As of 2015, he holds the James and Carol Collins chair in mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Tao was a recipient of the 2006 Fields Medal and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. He is also a 2006 MacArthur Fellow. Tao has been the author or co-author of 275 research papers.

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[Photo: 10-year-old Tao with Paul Erdős in 1985]

Mathematician #2: Cheryl Praeger

Donate #2: Salvation Army Australia 

Cheryl Elisabeth Praeger (born 7 September 1948, Toowoomba, Queensland) is an Australian mathematician. Praeger received BSc (1969) and MSc degrees from the University of Queensland (1974), and doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1973 under direction of Peter M. Neumann. She has published widely and has advised 27 PhD students (as of March 2018). She is currently Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Western Australia. She is best known for her works in group theory, algebraic graph theory and combinatorial designs.

Praeger is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, former president of the Australian Mathematical Society (1992–1994 and first female President of the Society), and was appointed as a member of the Order of Australia in 1999 for her service to mathematics in Australia, especially through research and professional associations.

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Mathematician #3: Eddie Woo

Donate #3: New South Wales Rural Fire Service

Eddie Woo is an Australian secondary school teacher best known for his online mathematics lessons published on YouTube. In 2018, Woo was awarded the Australia’s Local Hero Award. His YouTube channel has over 700,000 subscribers and more than 38.7 million views worldwide as of September 2019. In 2018, Woo hosted a show called Teenage Boss on the ABC, which gave teens control of their family’s financial decisions for a month. In October 2015, Woo was a joint recipient of the NSW Premier’s Prize for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education.

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Mathematician #4: Nalini Joshi

Donate #4: The St. Vincent de Paul Society Australia

Nalini Joshi AO is an Australian mathematician. She is Professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sydney, she is the first woman in the School to hold this position, and is a past-president of the Australian Mathematical Society. Joshi is a member of the School’s Applied Mathematics Research Group. Her research concerns integrable systems. She was awarded the Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2012.

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Mathematician #5: Akshay Venkatesh

Donate #5: NSW RFS has created dedicated bank accounts to collect donations for the families of volunteer firefighters who have been tragically killed while on duty this fire season.

Akshay Venkatesh (born 21 November 1981) is an Australian mathematician and a professor at the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study. His research interests are in the fields of counting, equidistribution problems in automorphic forms and number theory, in particular representation theory, locally symmetric spaces, ergodic theory, and algebraic topology.

He is the only Australian to have won medals at both the International Physics Olympiad and International Mathematical Olympiad, which he did at the age of 12. In 2018, he was awarded the Fields Medal for his synthesis of analytic number theory, homogeneous dynamics, topology, and representation theory.

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Mathematician #6: Alison Harcourt

Donate #6: WIRES, an Australian wildlife rescue nonprofit

Alison Grant Harcourt (born 24 November 1929) is an Australian mathematician and statistician most well-known for co-defining the branch and bound algorithm along with Ailsa Land whilst carrying out research at the London School of Economics. She was also part of the team which developed a poverty line as part of the Henderson Inquiry into poverty in Australia and helped to introduce the double randomisation method of ordering candidates used in Australian elections. In June 2019, Harcourt was made an officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of her “distinguished service to mathematics and computer science through pioneering research and development of integer linear programming”.

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Mathematician #7: Geordie Williamson

Donate #7: Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

Geordie Williamson (born 1981 in Bowral, Australia) is an Australian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Sydney. He became the youngest living Fellow of the Royal Society when he was elected in 2018 at the age of 36. In 2016, he received the Chevalley Prize of the American Mathematical Society and the Clay Research Award. In 2016 he was awarded the EMS Prize, for 2017 he was awarded the New Horizons in Mathematics Prize. In 2018, he was plenary speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Rio de Janeiro and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and the Australian Academy of Science. Williamson was awarded the 2018 Australian Mathematical Society Medal.

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Mathematicians #8: Szekeres family

Donate #8: Currumbin Wildlife Hospital

George Szekeres (29 May 1911 – 28 August 2005) and Esther Szekeres (20 February 1910 – 28 August 2005) were Hungarian–Australian mathematicians.

The so-called Happy Ending problem is an example of how mathematics pervaded George’s life. During 1933, George and several other students met frequently in Budapest to discuss mathematics. At one of these meetings, Esther Klein proposed the following problem:

“Given five points in the plane in general position, prove that four of them form a convex quadrilateral.” 

After allowing George, Paul Erdős, and the other students to scratch their heads for some time, Esther explained her proof. Subsequently, George and Paul wrote a paper (1935) that generalises this result; it is regarded as one of the foundational works in the field of combinatorial geometry. Erdős dubbed the original problem the “Happy Ending” problem because it resulted in George and Esther’s marriage in 1937.

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Mathematician #9: Alfred van der Poorten

Donate #9: NSW Rural Fire Service

Alfred Jacobus van der Poorten (16 May 1942 – 9 October 2010) was a Dutch-Australian number theorist, for many years on the mathematics faculties of the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University. He was the author of approximately 180 publications in number theory, on subjects that included Baker’s theorem, continued fractions, elliptic curves, regular languages, the integer sequences derived from recurrence relations, and transcendental numbers. Some of his significant results include the 1988 solution of Pisot’s conjecture on the rationality of Hadamard quotients of rational functions, his 1992 work with Bernard Dwork on the Eisenstein constant, his work with Enrico Bombieri on Diophantine approximation of algebraic numbers, and his 1999 paper with Kenneth Stuart Williams on the Chowla–Selberg formula.

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Mathematician #10: Peter Jephson Cameron

Donate #10: GIVIT, a national not-for-profit connecting those who have with those who need, in a private and safe way.

Peter Jephson Cameron FRSE (born 23 January 1947) is an Australian mathematician who works in group theory, combinatorics, coding theory, and model theory. He is currently half-time Professor of Mathematics at the University of St Andrews, and Emeritus Professor at Queen Mary University of London. Cameron specialises in algebra and combinatorics; he has written books about combinatorics, algebra, permutation groups, and logic, and has produced over 250 academic papers. He posed the Cameron–Erdős conjecture with Paul Erdős.

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Mathematician #11: Anne Penfold Street

Donate #11: The World Wildlife Fund

Anne Penfold Street (1932–2016) was one of Australia’s leading mathematicians, specialising in combinatorics. She was the third woman to become a mathematics professor in Australia, following Hanna Neumann and Cheryl Praeger. She was the author of several textbooks, and her work on sum-free sets became a standard reference for its subject matter. She helped found several important organizations in combinatorics, developed a researcher network, and supported young students with interest in mathematics.

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Mathematician #12: Charles Edward Miller Pearce

Donate #12: RSPCA

Charles Edward Miller Pearce (29 March 1940 – 8 June 2012) was a New Zealand/Australian mathematician. At the time of his death on 8 June 2012 he was the (Sir Thomas) Elder Professor of Mathematics at the University of Adelaide.

He is known for probabilistic and statistical modelling. Pearce published prolifically in the area of probabilistic and statistical modelling and analysis, with strong contributions being made in both theory and practice. His book with Dragomir addresses the fine points of the Hermite–Hadamard inequality. His applied interests included queuing theory, road traffic, telecommunications, and urban planning. With former student Bill Henderson, who followed him from Sheffield to Adelaide, he helped establish the successful Teletraffic Centre in the University of Adelaide. Publications are numerous and include three books, 23 book chapters, and over 300 research articles.

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Hope you liked this post. Have a great day. You can find us on Facebook, Tumblr,   Twitter  and Instagram. We will try to post there as often as possible.

Lots of love and don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy!



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