Women of Mathematics: a one-day meeting at the ANU

27 February 2019

The event celebrated Women of Mathematics through a range of activities, including a networking lunch, a panel discussion, long (1 hour) and short (20 minutes) research talks, and an official opening (with cocktail reception) of the exhibit "Women of Mathematics" at ANU.

Some of these activities will be aimed at the general public, some at undergraduate students, and some at research mathematicians. Everybody is most welcome.

Invited speakers

Dr Anita Liebenau, UNSW
First organiser of the exhibit Women of Mathematics in Australia (Monash 2017).

Professor Sylvie Paycha, Universität Potsdam 
Curator (together with the photographer Noel Matoff) of the exhibit Women of Mathematics (since 2016).
Chair of the European Mathematical Society committee Women and Mathematics (2006-2009). Convenor of the organistion European Women in Mathematics (1995-1997).

Professor Cheryl Praeger AM FAA, University of Western Australia
Australian Research Council Federation Fellow (2009-2013). Member of the Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union (2007-2014). Foreign Secretary of the Australian Academy of Science (2014-2018).

Professor Jacquie Ramagge, University of Sydney
Head of the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sydney.

Professor Kate Smith-Miles, University of Melbourne
Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow. President of the Australian Mathematical Society (2016-2018). 

Professor Yvonne Stokes, University of Adelaide
Chair of the Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group of the Australian Mathematical Society.



Time Session
9 - 10am Level 5, Building #145
D-modules: an algebraic approach to analysis (undergraduate level)
Asilata Bapat, ANU
Algebraists usually think about algebraic functions: polynomials, rational functions, and sometimes radicals such as the square root function. The standard tools of algebra are not built to handle transcendental functions such as exponentials and logarithms. This talk will explore D-modules, which is a purely algebraic construction that can access analytic gadgets like partial differential equations and transcendental functions. D-modules have turned out to be a powerful tool that connects several areas of mathematics, including representation theory, algebraic geometry, topology, and analysis. We will also an application of this theory to "standard" algebra, which produces a previously unknown invariant of polynomial functions.
10 - 10.30am
tea/coffee break
10.30 - 11.30am Level 5, Building #145
Persistent homology: a tool from “pure mathematics” now reimagined to analyse complex data (undergraduate level)
Katherine Turner, ANU
If you ask a mathematician to justify research in pure mathematics there are two classic responses. The first relates to the beauty and elegance of mathematics, some kind of Platonic and inherent truth. This is not what this talk is about. The second response is an appeal to a future application, currently unpredictable, often accompanied with comments about cryptography. They say what is “pure “ today may be “applied” in 50 years. This talk is the story of very pure mathematical concept from algebraic topology reimagined as a tool for analysing complex data by considering it in a multi-scale framework. We will explore the history of homology and define persistent homology. We will see how this can describe shape and regularity, with examples from evolutionary anthropology to particle physics. This talk is suitable for undergraduates and a general non-mathematically trained audience.
11.30 - 12.30pm Level 5, Building #145
On the exterior stability of nonlinear wave equations (research level)
Qian Wang, ANU
We consider a very general class of nonlinear wave equations, which admit trivial solutions and not necessarily verify any form of null conditions. For compactly supported small data, one can only have a semi-global result which states that the solutions are well-posed upto a finite time-span depending on the size of the Cauchy data. For some of the equations of the class, the solutions blow up within a finite time for the compactly supported data of any size. For data prescribed on ${\mathbb R}^3\B_R$ with small weighted energy, without some form of null conditions on the nonlinearity, the exterior stability is not expected to hold in the entire domain of dependence. I will talk about my work (arxiv: 1808.02415) which shows that, there exists a constant $R(\gamma_0)\ge 2$, depending on the fixed weight exponent $\gamma_0>1$ in the weighted energy norm, such that if the norm of the data are sufficiently small on ${\mathbb R}^3\ B_R$ with the fixed number $R\ge R(\gamma_0)$, the solution exists and is unique in the entire exterior of a schwarzschild cone initiated from {|x|=R} (including the boundary) with small negative mass $−M_0$. $M_0$ is determined according to the size of the initial data. The application of our method gives the exterior stability result for Einstein (massive and massless) scalar fields.
12.30 - 2pm
Networking lunch (invitation only)
2 - 3pm
Our panel of experts will discuss the future of the diverse mathematical community
3 - 4.15pm
In this event, our academic staff will discuss the work of exceptional female mathematicians
4.15- 5.15pm
Level: general public talk.
5.30 -7pm

 Building #145, Science Road, The Australian National University


About Canberra

Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory, on the ancient lands of the Ngunnawal people, who have lived here for over 20,000 years. Canberra’s name is thought to mean ‘meeting place’, derived from the Aboriginal word Kamberra. European settlers arrived in the 1830s, and the area won selection by ballot for the federal capital in 1908. Since then the ‘Bush Capital’ has grown to become the proud home of the Australian story, with a growing population of around 390,000.

Canberra hosts a wide range of tourist attractions, including various national museums, galleries and Parliament House, as well as beautiful parks and walking trails. Several attractions are within walking distance of the ANU campus, including the National Museum of Australia and the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Canberra is also a fantastic base from which to explore the many treasures of the surrounding region, including historic townships, beautiful coastlines and the famous Snowy Mountains. Learn more about what to do and see during your stay in Canberra here.


Below are some accommodation options for your visit to Canberra.



International visitors to Australia require a visa or an electronic travel authority (ETA) prior to arrival. It is your responsibility to ensure documentation is correct and complete before you commence your journey. Information on obtaining visas and ETAs can be found here.


There are many ways to get around Canberra. Below is some useful information about Bus & Taxi transport around the ANU, the Airport and surrounding areas.


If you are catching a taxi or Uber to the ANU Mathematical Sciences Institute, ask to be taken to Building #145, Science Road, ANU. We are located close to the Ian Ross Building and the ANU gym. A Taxi will generally cost around $40 and will take roughly 15 minutes. Pricing and time may vary depending on traffic.

Taxi bookings can be made through Canberra Elite Taxis - 13 22 27.

Airport Shuttle

the ACT government has implemented a public bus service from the CBD to the Canberra Airport via bus Route 11 and 11A, seven days a week. Services run approximately every half hour, and better during peak times (weekdays) and every hour (weekends).

To travel just use your MyWay card or pay a cash fare to the driver when boarding. A single adult trip when paying cash will cost $4.80 with cheaper fares for students and children. Significant savings can be made when travelling with MyWay.

View MyWay and Fares information.

For more information about the buses to Canberra airport.

Action Buses

Canberra buses are a cheap and easy way of getting around town once you're here.

For more information about bus services and fares.

Pierre Portal