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5 May 2017: Seminar, Ana Zumalacarregui @ UNSW

Title: Optimization with bubbles
Speaker: Dr Ana Zumalacarregui (UNSW Sydney)
Time: 4pm, Friday 5th May
Place: RC-4082, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW

The School is involved in many dissemination activities to promote and engage students in Mathematics. It is always interesting to find creative ways to explore mathematical concepts and to challenge intuition.

I will present in a playful way an activity that I prepared to introduce the concept of optimization using bubbles and soap films. It consists in a series of materials that will allow us to gain some intuition on the Isoperimetric problem, optimization of paths or minimal surfaces, among some other questions. The seminar will be quite interactive and I would love to get your feedback to improve the activity for future uses in the School.

About the Speaker: Ana was Born in Madrid, Spain. She completed her PhD in 2015 under the supervision of Javier Cilleruelo at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. She has been a postdoc at UNSW since 2015, where she collaborates with Igor Shparlinski. Ana’s research focuses on additive and combinatorial number theory and, until now, follows two different lines:
– Concentration and distribution of solutions to equations in congruences
– Additive and arithmetical structures in random sets.

She deeply enjoys discussing about mathematics and science and for that reason she is involved in all sorts of dissemination activities.


Please join us after the seminar for wine and cheese and refreshments in the staff common room, Red Centre Building, RC-3082.

Seminar co-coordinator: Diana Combe:

Can technology facilitate learning on a level playing field?

Speaker: Associate Professor Chris Tisdell

Time: 31 Jul 2017, 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Location: Tyree Room, John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Kensington

Education is changing.  Rather than traditional classrooms in schools and universities, we now have classrooms in “clouds”.   In this presentation Chris will provide some critical perspectives on technology in education, including the ideas of: openness; scale and inclusion.  Is technology really the answer to challenges in education?

More information and registration here

How, what and why of assessment in first year maths/stats

Over that past two years, changes have been made to the assessment structure in MATH1031 Mathematics for Life Sciences.  These changes reflected a desire to improve  students’ mathematical communication skills and their mastery of the basic mathematical techniques.  An assignment was introduced that focused on mathematical writing, mastery style tests of the basic material were conducted in the computer lab replacing written class tests and the exam did not re-test any basic material but concentrated only on longer style modelling problems with clear explanations explicitly rewarded in the marking scheme.  Jonathan will describe the the motivations behind these changes and how they worked in practice.

Time4pm Friday Aug 11th

Location: UNSW Sydney RC-4092

Cost: Free!

Mathematical models for population health and decision making

Infectious diseases, both re-emerging and emerging, pose a continual threat to our population’s health. Perhaps surprisingly, mathematicians have played a central role in the development of preparedness and response systems put in place by government to help mitigate the risks posed by transmissible diseases. Mathematical models have provided important insights into infection at both the whole-of-population scale (epidemiology) and individual-host scale (biology).

In this lecture Associate Professor James McCraw will begin by introducing the basic working model for the spread of an infection through a population, known as the SIR model. He will then draw parallels with the process of infection within the host. Both domains present significant challenges for the integration of models with data and he will explore the role of computational statistics in modern infectious diseases research.

Throughout the presentation, James will draw on examples of where mathematical and statistical analysis has yielded important insights into the process of infection and transmission and provided guidance on how to better combat disease. Case studies in influenza and malaria will be presented, with a focus on how model-based analyses have helped us to understand the role of immunity in resolving infection and how to make best use of antimicrobial drugs.

Date: Tues 15th August, 5:30pm

Where: Hawthorn Arts Centre, Zelma Room, Swinburne University

Cost: Free!

More information here

Research-based theatre in educational context @ Melbourne University

This colloquium will address the following key question:

Why create and perform research-based theatre and what is its relevance to education?

Experienced researchers and writers of research-based theatre Richard Sallis and Jane Bird will discuss their work in various educational settings addressing the following key points:

  • How research-based theatre, also known as ‘performed research’ or ‘performance ethnography’, can disseminate formal research findings through an accessible and social form of presentation to a broader community than standard academic outputs;
  • The ways in which theatre performance has the capacity to communicate the findings in cognitive, emotional and embodied ways to various audiences and for differing purposes;
  • How the artistic form of theatre and its conventions are manipulated to engage and focus viewers on the complexities of research findings.

When: Wed 16th August, 5:30-7:00 pm

Where: studioFive, Level 5, Kwong Lee Dow Building, Melbourne University

More information here

Discussion/debate – follow up seminar from How, what and why or assessment in first year maths/stats
Discussion and Debate about assessment:

Speaker: Jonathan Kress and others t.b.a.

Time and place: 4pm Friday August 18th, RC-4082.

Special Issue of Journal of Uni Teaching & Learning Practice- Research Skill Development: Connections, critiques and curricula

Calls for Expression of Interest for a Special Issue of the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice.

This special issue considers connections, critiques and curricula in Research Based Learning (RBL) that gravitate around a shared conceptual model, the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework (Willison & O’Regan, 2007: RBL is used here as an umbrella term to encapsulate a variety of active learning strategies, including Inquiry Based Learning, Problem Based Learning, Project Based Learning, Critical Thinking tasks, Undergraduate Research, Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning and Discovery Learning.

Due Date: 24th August 2017

More information here


The Symposium will focus on innovative practices, which engage students, lecturers and other university staff as active, critical, and agentic partners in learning and teaching in the interconnected, multicultural societies of the 21st century.  In particular, it will showcase some of the innovative practices, which have been inspired by the Engaging Students as Partners in Global Learning Fellowship Roundtable and Workshop held at the University of Tasmania in January and February 2017.

Date: 9th October 2017

Location: University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania

Cost: Free!

More information here