UQ mathematician honoured at Young Tall Poppy Awards

26 Sep 2019
Dr Sara Herke

Dr Sara Herke from UQ’s School of Mathematics and Physics was recognised for her research achievements and contribution to the science community at the 2019 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards.

The annual awards recognise outstanding young scientists demonstrating excellence in both research and science communication.

Dr Herke, a mathematician who specialises in the area of graph theory, conducts her research on graph decompositions, factorisations of graphs and Ryser's conjecture for hypergraphs. This work lies within the broader mathematical research field of combinatorics.

“Understanding the unique properties of graphs and hypergraphs is imperative for developing effective mathematical models that can be applied to solve complex issues faced by governments and organisations worldwide concerning transportation networks, biological systems and efficient storage of data,” she said.

Dr Herke completed her PhD in 2014 and has published 13 research papers in a wide-variety of leading international mathematics journals, including the Journal of Combinatorial Theory Series A and Series B.

In addition to her research contributions, Dr Herke uses the power of video to share her passion for graph theory with the world.

Her YouTube channel on graph theory and discrete mathematics has had more than 2.7 million views, and is popular amongst maths enthusiasts and novices alike.

Dr Herke's videos cover topics ranging from general interest (such as the “Fun with Graphs: Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock” series) through to advanced videos on graduate-level graph theory.

Sharing her passion through video has also seen her create a series of audio-visual learning resources to enhance the learning experience for thousands of students at Monash University and UQ.  

Dr Herke was one of five UQ scientists amongst the 2019 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award winners.