1998 BH Neumann Awards

The 1998 BH Neumann Awardees were Norm Hoffman, David Hunt and Hans Lausch. They were presented with their awards at separate ceremonies and their citations follow.

Dr Nathan (Norm) Hoffman

[Norm Hoffman]

Dr Nathan (Norm) Hoffman receives his award from Professor Neumann at a function at the Perth Parmelia Hotel on 5 March 1998. His wife Leila is at left.


Dr Nathan (Norm) Hoffman is an outstanding example of a BH Neumann Award recipient, with most of his activities external to the Trust.

He has been involved in mathematics enrichment programmes for nearly forty years.

In the mid 1960s he was part of a small team assembled and led by Professor Larry Blakers that provided the first state-wide programmes for talented Year 11 students. (These programmes were the fore-runner of the national programme that Larry Blakers established as the Australian Mathematics Summer School.

In 1980 Norm became the Australian Mathematical Olympiad Committee’s first WA State Director.

For the past seven years Norm has provided after-school classes for able primary and secondary school students. To illustrate the scope of these classes in 1997 almost 200 students were involved in these classes. Seventy of these students participated in the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians at the Euler, Gauss and Noether levels (there is also a fourth, most advanced level called Polya).

The remaining students, all primary students, participated in a year-long programme which Norm devised specially for them.

Norm taught classes on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, while his colleague Tony Edwards took the Euler class on Tuesday afternoons. So these statistics for 1997 indicate the scale of the organisation which Norm has developed.

Peter Taylor
05 March 1998

David Hunt

[David bhn]

Associate Professor David Hunt , with UNSW Vice Chancellor Professor John Niland, receiving his BH Neumann Award from Professor Neumann at a function at the University of New South Wales on 4 November 1998.


David started as an academic at the University of New South Wales in 1971 and throughout this period his work has been dedicated to working with young people, both at the University and secondary levels, who are gifted and talented in mathematics.

His earlier efforts involved coordinating the UNSW/IBM Competition (which still thrives) for a number of years.

He has been actively involved with the Australian Mathematical Olympiad Committee since 1985. His highlights would involve having been Australian Team leader in 1986, 1989, 1990, 1996, 1997 and 1988, serving as academic coordinator of the International Mathematical Olympiad when it was held in Canberra in 1988, and being Director of Training since 1996.

With respect to his role as Team Leader, the results have been outstanding, particularly in the last two years, when Australia has beaten Japan and all western countries (except for the United States) on both occasions.

His role as academic coordinator at the Canberra Olympiad required him to supervise the entire assessment process, including development of marking schemes, supervision of teams working on each question, and ultimately ruling on all disputes, which frequently happen when leaders of other teams feel their solutions have not been duly appreciated.

David, as Director of Training, now leads a strong team of young, former Olympians and more seasoned teachers and academics have now got an extraordinary program in place of identifying talent around Australia and maximising its development. This program is so good that I am frequently asked by people from other countries, including countries with good traditions, what is the secret behind our success.

David has also had 13 years of continuous service as a member of the AMOC Senior Problems Committee, which develops the major examinations which our talented students undertake.

David’s service to these activities goes well beyond the call of duty. As Director of Training, for example, he lives at the training schools for about 25 days of the year in addition to the time he commits to the IMO team while travelling.

In his University career he has served very strongly in an administrative sense, having terms of Director of First Year Studies, Deputy and Acting Head of the School of Mathematics at the University of New South Wales (often while maintaining a high commitment to the Olympiad program) and his CV shows his strong research background and contribution to teaching at UNSW.

Peter Taylor
04 November 1998

Hans Lausch

[Hans Lausch]

Hans Lausch receiving his BH Neumann Award from Professor Neumann at a function at Monash University on 5 August 1998.

[Hans Lausch]

Hans Lausch with his wife Elizabeth (second from left), son Peter and daughter Monika after the Award was made.


Hans took over as Chairman of the AMOC Senior Problems Committee in 1987 and has consistently overseen the requirements of

  • setting the AMO paper
  • setting the AMOC Senior Contest paper
  • submitting questions from Australia to APMO
  • submitting questions from Australia to IMO

He is Australia’s pre-eminent authority in this area and has a wide knowledge of problems as set internationally. In the case of APMO and IMO he has had a number of questions accepted. In 1994 (Hong Kong) two of his questions made the final IMO paper out of 6 altogether.

Hans has also been Australia’s representative on APMO since its inception in 1989 and coordinated Australia’s entry. He has been a member of the Committee for the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians since its inception in 1991. He has also been Chairman of Selectors for the Australian IMO team (the exact number of years I cannot trace). In addition he has freely given much of his time to live-in with training schools, giving lectures and marking exams.

In his university career, Hans has a strong research background in algebra and the history of mathematics, particularly the post-war mathematicians who came to Australia from central and eastern Europe, some as refugees. He has been at Monash University for 26 years, 25 of which were as Reader or Associate Professor.

Peter Taylor
05 August 1998