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Archimedes Lecture 2018

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Date: Thursday 16 August 2018
Venue: Hawthorn Arts Centre, Zelman Room, 360 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn -->

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Mathematics: Beauty, Power and Danger

Professor Tony Guttman, University of Melbourne


Mathematics is one of humanity's most powerful inventions. In this talk we will discuss what makes it so powerful, what constitutes beauty and why mathematicians place such an emphasis on beauty, and how, like any powerful tool or technology, it can be dangerous.

About the speaker

Tony GuttmanTony Guttmann was born in Melbourne, educated at Wesley College, The University of Melbourne and The University of NSW, where he completed his PhD in 1969. After two years at The University of London, King’s College, he returned to Australia as a Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Newcastle, where he remained for 15 years, leaving at the end of 1986 as Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics.

In 1987 he returned to the University of Melbourne, and built up a large and active group in Statistical Mechanics and Combinatorics. He has contributed to the discipline in three ways: through his research, through the building of mathematical infrastructure, and contributing to mathematics education. A few of these contributions include:

  • Fulbright Senior Scholar, 1978
  • world authority on series analysis. Wrote definitive serveys in 1974 (Academic Press), 1989 (Academic Press) and edited book on this and related topics in 2009 (Springer, Lecture Notes in Physics 775)
  • nearly 300 refereed scientific articles
  • recognised by award of Fellowships by the AAS, ATSE, SIAM (USA) and the Aust MS
  • awarded Hannan Medal of AAS (1999)
  • awarded Lyle Medal of AAS (2005)
  • helped create MASCOS in 2002. Became Director, a position he retained until end 2016
  • President, Australian Mathematical Society, 2002-2004
  • awarded the AMSI (Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute) Medal, 2012
  • Member, Expert Panel, Directorate of School Education, Victoria 1995
  • Member, Mathematics syllabus panel, Board of Studies, NSW, 1995-98
  • awarded Centenary Medal by Australian Government 2003
  • awarded B.H. Neumann Award for services to education by AMT in 2004.