Australian Maths Trust


The BH Neumann awardees for 2010 are John Dowsey and Cheryl Praeger. They were presented with their awards at separate ceremonies and below are their citations.

Cheryl receives the award from Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, Professor Bill Louden.

Cheryl with husband John Henstridge and son Timothy.

Professor Cheryl Praeger received a BH Neumann Award at the University of Western Australia, on Thursday 18 November 2010.

External to her Trust activities, Cheryl Praeger’s career is full of high achievement. Her research papers, normally in algebra and discrete mathematics, would rank her among the very top among Australian mathematicians. Indeed her selection as an “ISI highly cited researcher” places her among the very top mathematicians world-wide.

Born in Toowoomba and educated at University of Queensland and University of Oxford (where her PhD supervisor was BH Neumann’s son Peter) she also holds a DSc at UWA and an honorary doctorate at the Prince of Songkla University in Thailand and also at the Free University of Brussels (as translated into English).

At the age of 35, she was appointed as Professor at the University of Western Australia in 1983, the Chair which had been held by Larry Blakers before his retirement. She served a term as President of the Australian Mathematical Society (AustMS), 1992 to 1994 (the first female to do so). She was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1996 and was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1999.

She was the first Australian-based mathematician to be elected to the Executive (in 2006) of the International Mathematical Union and was re-elected to a second 4-year term in 2010. She has won numerous awards and prizes. For example, she was the first Pure Mathematician to win an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship in 2007 and she is currently Western Australia’s Scientist of the Year. As well as her research interests she has taken a particular interest in the teaching of mathematics, taking various advisory roles such as a term on the Education Advisory Committee of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI), and other federal and state roles. She also currently chairs the Australian Council of Heads of Mathematical Sciences.

Within the Australian Mathematics Trust, and its related events in Western Australia, Cheryl has contributed to the fullest level. She has chaired the Organising Committee of the Western Australian Junior Mathematics Olympiad since it was established by the WA AMOC committee 13 years ago. She has been a member of the Trust’s Board since the Trust was formed as a merger of the Australian Mathematics Foundation and Australian Mathematical Olympiad Committee (AMOC) in 1992. Originally she was on the Board representing AustMS. However, in 1996 she became Deputy Chair of AMOC and then Chair in 2002. She remains on the Board of the Trust, now representing the AMOC. She was also on the Problems Committee of the Australian Mathematics Competition between 1987 and 1989.

As a mathematician, she represents a role model for our young Olympiad students to aspire to. In her own state, she not only inspires students but also teachers and educators. With Cheryl’s encouragement, the number and range of enrichment activities available to students are second to none. Also the number of teachers and educators providing such activities is second to none.

Cheryl qualifies for the BH Neumann Award not just because of her own high standards and achievements, but also for the inspiration she gives to others and the enjoyment she gets from admiring the achievements of others.

Peter Taylor
Thursday 18 November 2010

From left Bruce Henry, John Dowsey, Peter Taylor, Philip Swedosh.

John Dowsey received a BH Neumann Award at the Mathematics Challenge Problems Committee dinner at Janine McIntosh’s Melbourne home, on Friday 05 February 2010. The Award was presented by Peter Taylor, Executive Director of the Australian Mathematics Trust.

John Dowsey is in the mathematics education department of the Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne, and as such is involved in the training of mathematics teachers in Victoria.

For 8 years until 2002, John was a member of the Problems Committee of the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians, much of that time as Deputy Chair, closely working with the Chair in developing the materials.

Since 2002 John has maintained his role in this work as a moderator, but he has also continued with his work in a number of other roles, particularly as a member of the committee of five mathematicians who compose the problems for the Australian Intermediate Mathematical Olympiad (AIMO), essentially the national Olympiad for students up to year 10.

Peter Taylor
Friday 05 February 2010