Tuesday, 29 June 2004

David Acheson awarded National Teaching Fellowship

David Acheson has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship worth £50,000 in recognition of 'his outstanding contribution to learning and teaching'. He plans to use the award to attempt a breakthrough in the communication of mathematics, particularly to students who are about to start at university.

Monday, 21 June 2004
Monday, 21 June 2004

LMS Prizes

Congratulations to Roger Penrose on the award of the 2004 De Morgan Medal for `his many deep and important contributions to mathematical physics'. The citation describes Roger as `one of the really original thinkers of our time'.

Congratulations to Boris Zilber on the award of the Senior Berwick Prize for his paper "Exponential sums equations and the Schanuel conjecture." J. London Math. Soc. (2) 65 (2002).

Congratulations to Ulrike Tillmann on the award of a Whitehead Prize. Her citation describes her as `one of the world leaders in the study of the moduli spaces of algebraic curves'.

Congratulations also to Richard Jozsa on the award of the Naylor Prize. Richard, now at Bristol, was a graduate student of Roger Penrose in Oxford; and also to another Whitehead Prize winner and former Oxford student, Richard Thomas, now at Imperial College.

Friday, 26 March 2004

Team of Oxford Undergraduates Wins International Mathematical Modelling Competition

A team of three Oxford undergraduates has accomplished something extraordinary: Alex Frolkin, Frederick van der Wyck, and Stephen Burgess, all 3rd year straight maths students at Merton College, have been selected as one of the 7 Outstanding Winners and have been awarded the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) Prize in the 2004 Mathematical Contest in Modelling (MCM) organized by The Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP). Still more extraordinary, this was their first time competing in the contest which is typically dominated by institutions that have been training and entering teams for many years.

The MCM is a major international competition that is now in its 20th year of operation. This year there were nearly 600 entries from more than 10 countries. The contest took place over a 96 hour period from February 5th to the 9th. At the start of that period two open-ended mathematical modelling problems of real-world importance were revealed on a website. Teams then chose one of the two problems and worked round the clock with little or no sleep over the next four days to produce a written report describing the construction of a model and how analysis of the model yields a practical solution to the problem at hand.

Alex, Frederick, and Stephen demonstrated the versatility of their mathematical backgrounds by choosing Problem B, which deals with designing a more efficient system for the distribution of ride tickets at an amusement park in order to minimize time spent waiting in queues. They combined tools from statistics, computer simulation and mathematics to determine an optimal strategy. In the 96 hours of the contest they produced a paper good enough to be published in a journal! In fact, it will be published later this year in the UMAP Journal (a journal that emphasizes applied maths, modelling, and undergraduate research), along with the other winning entries from this year's contest.

The team was organized by Prof. Ulrike Tillmann (Merton College) and was coached by maths graduate student Jeff Giansiracusa (Merton College), who competed in the MCM several times as an undergraduate.

See also the official contest results.

Thursday, 25 March 2004

Michael Atiyah awarded Abel Prize

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has to-day awarded the Abel Prize jointly to Sir Michael Francis Atiyah and Isadore M. Singer.

Sir Michael Atiyah, OM, FRS, was elected to a Fellowship at St Catherine's College, Oxford, in 1961. He held the Savilian Chair of Geometry from 1963 to 1969. After three years at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, he returned to Oxford and held a Royal Society Research Chair at the Mathematical Institute until 1990, when he left to become Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Isadore Singer was a frequent visitor during Michael's long and distinguished Oxford career.

Tuesday, 17 February 2004

Dominic Joyce awarded Adams Prize

Dominic Joyce has been awarded this years Adams prize. This year's subject was Differential Geometry.

Sunday, 1 February 2004
Friday, 15 August 2003

Part II Finals Prizes

  • Anton Evseev (St Annes) - Gibbs Prize
  • Elizabeth Baldwin (Wadham) - Junior Mathematical Prize
  • Jacob Krich (Balliol) - Proxime accessit Gibbs prize
Wednesday, 6 August 2003

Ben Hambly et al awarded first Ito Prize

The first ever Ito prize has been awared to Ben Hambly, James Martin and Neil O'Connell for their paper 'Concentration results for a Brownian directed percolation problem'.

The prize has just been instituted and is awarded for a recent paper published in the journal 'Stochastic processes and their applications'. The prize was awarded in Rio at the annual conference on stochastic processes and their applications.

Friday, 11 July 2003

John Ball awarded first David Crighton Medal

Warm congratulations to John Ball, who is to be the recipient of the first David Crighton Medal, awarded by the LMS and the IMA.


The David Crighton Medal for 2003 for services to Mathematics and to the mathematics community is awarded to Professor John Ball, F.R.S., Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Oxford (currently on sabbatical leave at Princeton University, USA).

John Ball is an outstanding mathematician of international standing. At the same time he has exerted himself both nationally and internationally for the good of Mathematics and its community. In particular, his activity internationally has done much to raise the profile of UK Mathematics, especially of Applied Mathematics. He has an exceptional record of getting things done and making things happen - in this he demonstrates the qualities of David Crighton himself.

Nationally, he was very effective in pressing for and establishing an Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Scotland; it was very much due to his efforts that the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences was set up in Edinburgh more than 10 years ago. Over the years it has been, and remains, an important national asset and one whose programmes are complementary to those of the Isaac Newton Institute.

John Ball was President of the London Mathematical Society from 1996-1998, and led the Society's moves throughout that period to increase its activity and influence in its promotion of mathematics and its links with other bodies.

He has been a member of the Council of the EPSRC, nominated by the Royal Society and speaking up for mathematics as well as for the sciences and engineering. He chaired the 1998 EPSRC review of the Isaac Newton Institute and served on the board of BRIMS (Hewlett-Packard) at Bristol.

Internationally, John Ball has been for some years a leading member of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), its Fields Medal Committee and of its Council. At the 2002 Beijing Congress he was elected President of the IMU for the next four years, bringing distinction to the UK mathematics community. He was one of the five members of the Abel Prize committee which awarded its first international prize in June 2003.

John Ball's research focuses on applications to solid materials, bringing to bear an armoury of knowledge and techniques of mathematical analysis and algebra. He has developed an approach to applied mathematics which brings a greater degree of mathematical rigour to bear.

In one of his earliest papers he discussed "discontinuous equilibrium solutions and cavitation in non-linear elasticity". The discussion centred on the emergence of a hole, cavity or void in a solid material subject to traction, and brings into play mathematical concepts of singular solutions, weak solutions energy-minimisers and Lyapunov functions. This paper illustrates in many ways his fine qualities in linking Mathematics with mechanics.

In later work with RD James, John Ball developed a non-linear theory of martensites, materials with a fine structure in which the concept of an energy infimum can be used in the way that is different from the rubberlike materials; for martensites there is no true minimiser, no true infimum, but the minimiser-infimum can be approached indefinitely closely by a sequential development of finer and finer structure.

His work indicates how mathematical concepts can be brought to bear to explain phenomena of real importance. At the EPSRC-IMA-LMS conference in 2001, on 'Connectivity between Mathematics and Engineering', Ball's contribution was a highlight, showing how the choice of the space of functions is of such importance in ensuring that the numerical/computational scheme gives a solution that converges.