By Karen Lamb, Jessica Kasza and Sabine Braat
The first ever conference designed to showcase the research of women in mathematical sciences in Australia was held in Adelaide from 24th-26th September 2017. Hosted by a team from the Women in Mathematical Sciences Special Interest Group of AustMS, led by Associate Professor Lesley Ward, this conference was designed to assist in advancing gender equity in Australian mathematical sciences. The conference attracted 180 delegates, 15% of whom were male. All presentations were given by women, from a range of mathematical disciplines including pure and applied mathematics, mathematical biology, mathematical physics, statistics, biostatistics and bioinformatics. The conference featured exciting keynote presentations from female researchers from Australia and overseas, including Professor Malabika Pramanik (University of British Columbia, Canada) who discussed the Kakeya needle problem in geometry, Professor Ami Radunskaya (Pomona College, USA) who provided an overview of her research in mathematical modelling of cancer growth, and Dr Christine O’Keefe (CSIRO, Australia) who discussed issues in maintaining data confidentiality. A particular highlight for the statisticians present was a presentation from SSA member and former president, Professor Kerrie Mengersen from QUT. Professor Mengersen gave us details on the range of opportunities she has had through her research in Bayesian statistics, from tracking jaguars in the Peruvian Amazon to crowd sourcing data to assess the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef, ending her presentation with a Bayesian vs frequentist twist on Banjo Patterson’s The Man from Snowy River. The conference featured a fantastic dinner at the National Wine Centre of Australia, complete with a rousing rendition of ‘Who will build a new network with me?’ (a mathematical adaptation of Waltzing Matilda!).
The inaugural WIMSIG conference was a great success and will hopefully lead to future WIMSIG conferences. More details about WIMSIG can be found here: http://www.austms.org.au/Women+in+Mathematics+group.