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New ACEMS Chief Investigator Picks Up Prestigious Award from ANZIAM

Tim Macuga News

ANZIAM (Australia and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics) awards new ACEMS Chief Investigator Kate Smith-Miles one of its top awards – the EO Tuck Medal.

The EO Tuck medal is a mid-career award that recognises outstanding research and distinguished service to the field of applied mathematics, and is named in honour of the late Ernest Oliver Tuck. Kate received the award at the 2017 ANZIAM conference in South Australia.

Kate receives Tuck Medal from Helen Tuck, wife of EO Tuck, and ACEMS Director Peter Taylor (courtesy: Mark McGuiness)

Kate receives Tuck Medal from Helen Tuck, wife of EO Tuck, and ACEMS Director Peter Taylor (courtesy: Mark McGuiness)

“It is a great honour to receive the EO Tuck Medal, and it has come at a great time for me, just as I have been debating with colleagues about what is good applied mathematics in the modern era,” Kate said.

“Is it the development of new mathematical techniques motivated by an application area? Is it the novel adaption of the wealth of existing mathematical techniques to tackle a practical problem, which has been translated into the right mathematical question? Over the last 20 years, my research has contributed to both of these types of applied mathematics approaches,” Kate said.

Kate is a Professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Monash University, where she was also Head of the School from 2009-2014. She is also the Chair of the Advisory Board for AMSI’S “Choose Maths” program, which is aimed at trying to increase female participation in mathematics.

Kate said she’s delighted that all three prizes awarded at the ANZIAM conference dinner were awarded to women. In addition to Kate’s award, Jody Fisher from Flinders University won the T.M. Cherry student prize and Alys Clark from the University of Auckland won the J.H. Michell medal for an early career researcher.

“It is so important for young female mathematicians to feel that their gender doesn't define their mathematical capabilities, to find role models, and to believe that they are encouraged and supported to achieve their potential,” Kate said.

Kate has a Laureate Fellowship from the Australian Research Council (ARC), and is also the inaugural Director of MAXIMA (the Monash Academy for Cross and Interdisciplinary Mathematical Applications), and President of the Australian Mathematical Society.

“To be honoured in this way by ANZIAM has been very affirming, and I will keep striving to contribute to both the novel application and development of mathematics,” Kate said.

“I believe that such balance is important, and creates a sustaining duality: ensuring impact in the short term from the toolkit of existing mathematics while providing the impetus to create the new mathematics that will lay the foundations for future mathematical toolkits.”

Kate was also just named a Chief Investigator for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS).

Media Contact: Tim Macuga, ACEMS Communications & Media Officer, 07 3138 6741, timothy.macuga@qut.edu.au