Vale Emeritus Professor Anne Penfold Street, OA 11/10/1932 - 28/12/2016

11 Jan 2017

Vale Emeritus Professor Anne Penfold StreetWith the passing of Anne Penfold Street on Wednesday 28th of December 2016, the School of Mathematics and Physics and The University of Queensland has lost an internationally respected colleague.

Anne graduated from Melbourne University in 1956 with a Master of Science in Chemistry.  This study sparked Anne’s interest in mathematics (specifically the mathematics needed for applications of quantum mechanics to predicting properties of new compounds) and she went on to complete a PhD in mathematics at the University of Illinois in 1966. Her particular expertise is in Combinatorial Mathematics, a 4000 year old discipline which in recent times has been one of the main drivers behind advances in communication technology.

In 1967 Anne took up a lectureship in Mathematics at The University of Queensland and in 1985 was appointed as Professor of Mathematics.  At an early stage, the revolutionary changes afforded by computer technologies were apparent to Anne and she ensured that Australian universities trained students to meet the associated challenges. She was instrumental in developing courses in these areas and co-authored five books which all became standard texts.

Anne developed an internationally renowned researcher network at The University of Queensland, providing financial support for young postdoctoral researchers and building a strong research environment. In 1990 she was instrumental in establishing, and chairing the Centre for Combinatorics, and later the Centre for Discrete Mathematics and Computing.

Anne was awarded a highly prized Australian Senior Research Fellowship by the Australian Research Council in the inaugural 1991 round. Anne was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Waterloo, an ErskineFellowship at the University of Canterbury, and the Izaac Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Alberta.

Anne played a pivotal role in establishing the Combinatorial Mathematics Society of Australasia (CMSA) and was its founding President and was instrumental in establishing the Australasian Journal of Combinatorics and was Editor-in-Chief from 1990 to 2001. She served as a Member of the Council of the Australian Mathematical Society, and was the nominee of the Australian Academy of Science to the National Committee for Mathematics, Deputy Chair and member of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee (Queensland). Internationally, Anne played a central role in establishing the Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications (ICA, 1991), with a six year term as President from 1996 onwards.

Anne dedicated much of her professional and personal time to the activities of the Australian Mathematics Trust (AMT) working to challenge and encourage young Australians’ understanding of mathematics and informatics to realise their intellectual potential. She was awarded the 1994 Bernhard H Neumann Award for excellence in mathematics enrichment.

In 2014 Australia acknowledged Anne’s service to science education in the field of mathematics, making her a Member of the Order of Australia.  Through passion and dedication, Anne has significantly enhanced Australia’s international reputation and advanced mathematical proficiency.  This contribution to academia has left an outstanding legacy for Australia.
Anne is very sadly missed by her many friends from Australia and around the world.