Trailblazing Mathematician Visits NUI Galway

Monday, 4 April 2011

One of the world's outstanding mathematicians comes to NUI Galway next week. Professor Cheryl Praeger, from the University of Western Australia, is in the top one per cent of highly cited mathematicians in the world. She has made revolutionary contributions in several disparate pure and applied areas, including Algebra, Discrete Mathematics, and Statistics (Data Analysis). According to Dr Dane Flannery, of the de Brún Centre for Computational Algebra at NUI Galway: "We are very fortunate to be hosting Professor Praeger. We look forward to hearing about her latest research, as well as her insights about Mathematics in the wider contexts of modern science and society. Her visit here is also an important advertisement for the many successes of women in Mathematics." Professor Praeger visits Galway for the 5th de Brún Workshop from 11 to 16 April, where she will deliver a lecture course on the state-of-the-art in her specialities. The Workshop brings together international experts to discuss computational aspects that have recently emerged in Algebra and Discrete Mathematics. These areas are part of a current strategic focus of Mathematics at NUI Galway, which is supported by the de Brún Centre for Computational Algebra, funded by Science Foundation Ireland under its Mathematics Initiative 2007. Professor Praeger has strived to encourage involvement by talented students in mathematics from an early age; as she says, "We need to ensure a strong mathematical education for our young people to underpin their other skills, whether in science, medicine, engineering or technology. This requires a new educational focus on nurturing mathematically talented young people to ensure they realise their potential." Professor Praeger's forebears originally lived in Germany, but moved to Dublin for a time, before settling in Australia. In 1983, Praeger was appointed to her current position as Professor of Mathematics at the University of Western Australia. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, a former President of the Australian Mathematical Society (1992-1994), and a member of the Order of Australia (since 1999). Her many other prestigious awards include honorary Doctorates of Science from the Prince of Songkla University in 1993, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 2005. Professor Praeger works tirelessly for the mathematical community worldwide. As just one example of this, she is a serving member of the Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union which comprises 10 leading mathematicians who administer the Union. In particular, this committee oversees selection of the Fields Medallists, known as the 'Nobel Prize in Mathematics'.

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