Queen’s Birthday Honours for Mathematics and Statistics

 In News

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) congratulates Australian mathematics and statistics pioneer, Alison Harcourt, who was recognised for her outstanding contributions to research and Australian social and electoral policy in today’s 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

AMSI Director, Professor Tim Brown said the recognition reflected the discipline’s cross-discipline impact on education, research and innovation.

“Alison’s work is a powerful example of the capacity of mathematics and statistics to transform Australian research, innovation, policy development and society,” he said.

Still working as a tutor at the University of Melbourne, Harcourt (nee Doig) co-defined the branch and bound algorithm with Ailsa Land in the 1960s. The ground-breaking integer linear programming technique is still widely used today.

The 90-year old is also known for her work as a statistician, including contributions to the Henderson Poverty Line and the amendment of the Commonwealth Electoral Act in 1984 to introduce the double randomisation method.

A career of extraordinary achievement, Professor Brown said the legacy of Harcourt’s work would continue to be felt well into the future.

“Alison’s contributions will continue to impact global mathematics and Australia’s social and political systems for generations,” he said.

Harcourt is one of a number of women honoured today for contributions to all areas of Australian life, including STEM, research, innovation, business, media and the arts, with 40 per cent of recipients female.

Other AMSI friends honoured include:


Professor Michelle Yvonne SIMMONS 
Honoured for distinguished service to science education as a leader in quantum and atomic electronics, Michelle is a role model for emerging STEM leaders, particularly women. A long-time friend of the AMSI, she inspired young Australians to keep their doors open with mathematics and statistics with her opening message in the 2018 edition of Maths Adds Careers Guide.

Ms Kathryn Joy FAGG
Recognised for her contributions to business, finance, central banking, logistics, manufacturing and women. Kathryn was a keynote speaker at AMSI’s inaugural APR.Intern Women in STEM event in 2018.


Ms Marita CHENG 
Recognised for her significant service to science, technology and robotics, Marita featured in the 2018 AMSI Choose Maths Careers campaign. This has seen her story shared in classrooms nationally to inspire new generations to maximise their opportunities with mathematics and statistics.

Professor Gilah Chaja LEDER
Honoured for significant service to higher education, and to the Jewish community of Victoria, Gilah is a member of the AMSI Choose Maths Advisory Committee and has been an active collaborator with AMSI on Choose Maths projects.

Professor Arun Kumar SHARMA 
Deputy Vice Chancellor – Research at the Queensland University of Technology, Arun is a worthy recipient for his significant service to computer science and information technology.

The Institute also congratulates all Australians honoured today for their contributions, leadership and impact across the community.

For Interview:
Professor Tim Brown, AMSI Director

Media Contact: Laura Watson
E: media@amsi.org.au
P: 04215 18733

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