2009 BH Neumann Awards

The 2009 BH Neumann Awards were presented to Katrina Sims, Elena Stoyanova and Lucho Stoyanov. Following are their citations.

Katrina Sims

Katrina Sims received a BH Neumann Award at a function at the Scarth Room, University House, Australian National University, on Saturday 30 May 2009. The Award was presented by Professor Peter Taylor, Executive Director of the Australian Mathematics Trust.

[Katrina Sims]

Katrina Sims receives her Award from Peter Taylor.

[Katrina Sims]

Katrina afterwards afterwards with Peter Taylor and her family, at left husband Bill and at right daughter Yvette and son in law Paul.


Katrina Sims, Gold Creek School Canberra at time of award announcement, now Merici College Canberra. Born in England and educated in New Zealand, Katrina first worked in a bank and accountancy firm before moving to Australia and graduating with Diploma of Teaching as a mature age student at the Canberra College of Eucation (now University of Canberra).

She developed a special interest in science and mathematics, and Gifted Education and went on to complete a Bachelor in Education, specialising in Gifted Education, completing part of the degree at the Catholic University in Canberra. She later graduated as a Masters in Gifted Education at Charles Sturt University and established a Gifted and Talented Program at a Canberra Primary School.

Katrina won a National Teaching Award in 1999 and joined the Problems Committee of the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians, specialising in the problems for the younger age groups.

She has involved students in codes and cyphers and been at the forefront of using computers in the classroom. Her students won a national webpage competition and became national finalists in the HP problem solving competition in 1998.

Katrina also taught herself animation skills and completed a Diploma in Multimedia. She has also established chess clubs and taught a robotics program, winning awards. She is now teaching in a Middle School running special programs for students up to Year 10.

[Challenge Committee]

The presentation was made at the dinner of the Mathematics for Young Australians Problems Committee. From left Anna Nakos, Andrei Storozhev, Paul Vaderling (guest, Sweden), Andy Edwards, Katrina Sims, Steve Thornton, Mike Newman, Hans Lausch, Peter Taylor, Andy Liu (guest, Canada), Bob Bryce, Lorraine Mottershead, Giovanna Vardaro, Kevin McAvaney. Absent Bruce Henry, Janine McIntosh.

Peter Taylor
Saturday 30 May 2009

Elena Stoyanova and Lucho Stoyanov

Elena Stoyanova and Lucho Stoyanov were both presented with BH Neumann Awards by Professor Cheryl Praeger, a member of the Board of the Australian Mathematics Trust, at a function at the Perth Hyatt Regency Hotel on Friday 19 June 2009. It was only the second time such an award had been made simultaneously to a husband and wife, the first having been to George and Esther Szekeres in 1993.

Elena Stoyanova

Elena works for the Western Australian Department of Education.

Elena and husband Lucho (see below) were born and educated in Bulgaria, where they were already active in running enrichment and Olympiad programs before moving to Australia. Elena had in fact been the Deputy Leader of the strong Bulgarian IMO team, including the team which participated in the IMO in Canberra in 1988.

For 7 years (1995 and 2000 to 2005) Elena was the WA Director of AMOC.

From 1998 to 2000, Elena designed and conducted Mathematics Enrichment programs with mathematically able students in Years 5, 6 and 7.

Elena initiated and drove the development of the annual Western Australian Junior Mathematics Olympiad, now in its tenth year.

The UWA Academy for Young Mathematicians is the realisation of the vision of Elena and Lucho Stoyanov and began in 1995. The Academy is an enrichment programme in Mathematics organised by the School of Mathematics and Statistics of The University of Western Australia for high school students who are currently in Years 10 and 11. Advanced Year 9 students, for example those who have completed the Noether or Polya Enrichment Series of the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians, are also encouraged to participate. The aim is to broaden and deepen their mathematical knowledge, to involve them in problem solving and to extend the range of their mathematical skills. The Academy runs on a regular basis during the school terms. Further discussion of this continues under Lucho’s citation.

Over many years Lucho and Elena ran the WA Mathematics Training Seminars, a fortnightly intensive training session for a group of 10-15 high school students. These were enrichment classes training the elite students taking part in the IMO training – they would often be graduates of the Academy classes and/or other enrichment classes around Perth.

[Stoyanov family]

After the presentation, also with sons Ned (left) and Nick (right).

Latchezar (Nedeltchev) Stoyanov

Lucho is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Western Australia. He was born and educated in Bulgaria, where he played a key role in training the strong national team, before moving to Australia.

Lucho has been instrumental over many years in organising and building up the Academy (introduced in the citation above to Elena), and is its director.

The Academy is the single most important outreach initiative to high school mathematics students that the UWA School of Mathematics and Statistics has undertaken since the demise of the WA Mathematics Summer School which ran in the time of Professor Larry Blakers (also a BH Neumann Award winner). Lucho is its champion. As well as his own contributions, he harnesses the efforts of others to make this wonderful initiative a success.

Lucho’s role in the WA Mathematics Training Seminars is referred to in Elena’s citation. In particular, Lucho was involved in the WA training programme for the last WA IMO participant Peter McNamara, being his mentor during the years when he got his two gold medals.

In addition, Lucho has been on the Problems Committee for the Western Australian Junior Mathematics Olympiad (also referred to above in relation to Elena) each year since its inception, and for many years played a key role in the detailed organisation.

Lucho was also a member the Senior Problems Committee of AMOC from 2001 – 2005


[Former winners]

At the end of the function are shown presnt and former Western Australian BH Neumann Award winners who were at the function, from left, David Haimes, Russell Coad, Phill Schultz, Jamie Simpson, Lucho Stoyanov, Elena Stoyanova and Norm Hoffman.

Peter Taylor
22 June 2009