2000 BH Neumann Awards

The 2000 BH Neumann Awardees were Malcolm Brooks and Maurice Starck. They were presented with their awards at separate ceremonies and their citations follow.

Malcolm Brooks

Dr Malcolm Brooks, a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Canberra, received a BH Neumann Award from Professor Neumann at a function at the Atlantic Restaurant, Manuka, Canberra on Friday 16 June 2000.

[Malcolm Brooks bhn]

Dr Malcolm Brooks receives his Award from Professor Neumann.

[Malcolm bhn]

Malcolm’s children Alex, Lucy and Ben, Professor Neumann, Malcolm and his wife Mary after Malcolm received the Award.

CITATION

Malcolm’s Award is a little unusual, because much of his work in mathematics enrichment is of his own initiative, often with little or no resources available. He is the classic dedicated University teacher, winning high ratings from students for the quality of his teaching, availability and attention to detail.

He has a long history of association with programs beyond his call of duty in stimulating the interest in mathematics by secondary students.

Since the inception of UC Maths Day in 1982, Malcolm has been its Director, leading a small but committed group of colleagues to ensure that day is a highlight of the mathematical year in Canberra, drawing school teams from throughout Canberra and the southern regions of New South Wales. Maths Day presents administrative challenges every year, even to the point where the very existence of Maths Day has not always been certain. Malcolm is also active with its Problems Committee.

Malcolm’s other significant role has been as Joint Director of the Canberra Mathematics Enrichment Program since 1988, when Mike Newman and Laci Kovacs agreed to an extension of the classes they had been running for many years. In 1988 Canberra received an invitation to run the International Mathematics Tournament of Towns and an elite group was set up to participate and in fact became the first Western city in the event.

Malcolm has been one of the group’s most regular teachers also in that time, particularly specialising with the senior group (Years 10 to 12). The group has flourished, with the organisers now having to restrict numbers. Three of the students have been selected in Australia’s IMO team and several have been reserves.

Malcolm has for some time been a moderator of the AMC paper, was a member of AMOC’s Senior Problems Committee from 1983 to 1990, and has been Assistant Editor of the Australian Mathematical Society Bulletin.

He has been active in the development of University teaching methods, and has earned teaching grants as leader of a team developing multi-media methods.

Peter Taylor
Friday 16 June 2000

Maurice Starck

Maurice Starck, for many years a mathematics teacher at Jean Marriotti Secondary School, received a BH Neumann Award from Professor Neumann at a function at the University of Canberra Staff Club on Sunday 14 January 2001.

[Maurice Starck bhn]

Maurice Starck receives his Award from Professor Neumann.

[Maurice bhn]

Peter Taylor, wife Michelle, Maurice and Professor Neumann after Maurice received the Award.

CITATION

Maurice Starck was born in a German-speaking village of Lorraine in 1946. His parents had been married there during German occupation and had received a personal wedding present from Adolf Hitler: a copy of Mein Kampf.

In 1967 he was drafted into the French Army but instead opted to teach in New Caledonia for two years. In 1969 he returned to France and studied at the University of Strasbourg, upgrading his qualifications to teach mathematics. He found a number of opportunities to return to New Caledonia, and in 1976 settled there, becoming a mathematics teacher at Jean Marriotti Secondary School.

In the early 1980s he was up a ladder on the house he was building when a woman approached, seeking directions. It turned out to be Michelle, to whom he is now married.

In 1996 he was appointed Agrégé Professor at the University of the French Pacific. This enables him to maintain his study of his much beloved Euclidean and Hyperbolic Geometry.

He is now a legend in Noumea. Many people have been taught mathematics by him. Michelle follows interests in Art and poetry. Maurice enjoys sailing, formally in a 28-footer, but now in a 36-footer.

In respect of this award it is noted that in 1985 he became director of the AMC in New Caledonia, a post he now shares with Christiane Hopman-Audet. During this time New Caledonia has contributed a consistent number of entries up to about 5,000, a high number for a region with smaller population than Canberra. In this time New Caledonia has earned one AMC Medal. These entries are remarkable considering the strained relations between France and Australia on occasions.

[Maurice Starck bhn]

Maurice presents a New Caledonian AMC T Shirt to Professor Neumann.

Citation (continued)

Maurice is a remarkable problem creator. In 1990 he attended the first WFNMC Conference in Canada, where he won the prize for submitting the best problem. In 2000 he submitted a fascinating problem to the AMC. This problem was fair, but highly challenging and particularly suitable for the AMC. It was No. 30 in the Junior and Intermediate papers and No 29 in the Senior paper.

He has also established impressive web pages on interactive geometry. These pages can be accessed from the Trust’s web site. A particular highlight is the section on polyhedra (in English).

In conclusion, Maurice has given long and distinguished service to mathematical education, both in his own country and internationally. He is a worthy winner of the BH Neumann Award.

Peter Taylor
Sunday 14 January 2001