Friday, 6 March 2015

It's lucky that The University of Western Australia's Professor Cheryl Praeger is a whiz at maths - she needs to be to keep track of her mounting tally of awards.

This morning, in a ceremony at Government House, Professor Praeger AM FAA was inducted into the WA Women's Hall of Fame in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the education of girls and women in a field once considered the realm of the male gender.

In the Hall of Fame, she joins other eminent WA women including Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, Professors Fiona Stanley and Fiona Wood and former WA Premier and UWA academic Carmen Lawrence.

Professor Praeger, who was WA Scientist of the Year in 2009 and the first pure mathematician to be an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, is a member of the Order of Australia.  She established and was inaugural Director of UWA's Centre for Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation.

She is the nation's most highly cited pure mathematician and has been designated a Highly Cited Researcher in international rankings.  In 1983 she was only the second woman in Australia to be appointed a Professor of Mathematics.

Last year Professor Praeger was the first woman to be awarded the Australian Mathematical Society's George Szekeres Medal which honours those who have made an extraordinary contribution to the mathematical sciences over an extended period.

Professor Praeger is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and is Foreign Secretary of the Academy.  She was recently elected an Honorary Member of the London Mathematical Society, joining Albert Einstein.

"As the vital role of technology in modern society increases, the mathematical sciences are becoming indispensable," she wrote in UWA News .  "Virtually every area of our lives depends on them, from healthcare to telecommunications, from understanding climate change to making secure financial transactions.

"Mathematics is more than just important.  It is a critical skill that every Australian should have in order to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.  We need to ensure a strong mathematical education for our young people to underpin their other skills, whether in science, medicine, engineering or technology.

"Australia needs to at least double the number of mathematics and statistics graduates it produces to properly equip itself for the future."

Media references

Professor Cheryl Praeger (UWA Centre for Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation)  (+61 8) 6488 3344
David Stacey (UWA Media and Public Relations Manager)  (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716


Awards and Prizes — Media Statements — University News
Centre for the Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation — Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences