Giant of Australian Mathematics Honoured

 In News

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) congratulates Professor Cheryl Praeger AM on her recent recognition as the 2019 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.

An Emeritus Professor at the University of Western Australia and Australia’s second-ever female Professor of Mathematics, Praeger is the second mathematical scientist to win the $250,000 prize and the first for work in mathematics, a seminal moment for the discipline in Australia and its role in scientific discovery.

Among the world’s most published mathematicians – she has more than 410 publications to her name – Praeger’s research includes fundamental contributions to group theory, symmetry in graphical models, combinatorics and fast algorithms. These fields have numerous applications including banking security and encryption and even how we search the world-wide web.

AMSI Director, Professor Tim Brown, said the award was an important moment for mathematics in Australia and a fitting acknowledgement of a remarkable career that has shaped and propelled global understanding of mathematics.

“A true champion of the mathematical sciences and a giant in her field, Cheryl’s contributions to mathematical understanding, her leadership and commitment to fostering new generations of talent make her one of the most important figures in Australian mathematics,” said Professor Brown.

Praeger shares AMSI’s passion for developing Australian and global mathematical capability to secure the future of the discipline and its impact on innovation. She has worked closely with the Institute, including as a member of the AMSI Education Advisory Committee from its inception to 2009.  She has also been involved in significant leadership with many other organisations and has been a powerful and influential voice for gender equity in mathematics.

Professor Brown treasures the memories of being a colleague of Cheryl at the University of Western Australia from 1987 to 1992, remembering especially her dedicated mentoring of students and staff and wisdom as a leader.  Cheryl’s students include 2018 Fields Medallist Akshay Venkatesh, whom Cheryl taught as a 13-year-old undergraduate.

“Cheryl has been an instrumental force in building Australia’s mathematical research capability, mentoring new generations of extraordinary local talent who are now significant forces on the world stage,” said Professor Brown.

“We are all the better for Cheryl’s remarkable contributions to mathematics, education and Australian science,” said Professor Brown.

Available for Interview
Professor Tim Brown, AMSI Director

Media Contact: Laura Watson
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