Best of Australian mathematics honoured

6 Dec 2019
UQ winners Professors Joseph Grotowski, Dirk Kroese and Dr Zdravko Botev.

Leading Australian mathematicians have been honoured at the opening of the 63rd Australian Mathematical Society (AustMS) annual meeting in Melbourne.

The 2019 Gavin Brown Prize for outstanding article, monograph or book was presented to the University of Queensland researchers Professors Joseph Grotowski and Dirk Kroese, and Dr Zdravko Botev from the University of New South Wales, for their paper Kernel Density Estimation Via Diffusion published in the Annals of Statistics.

The paper has been described as ‘stunning’, ‘exceptionally well written’ and ‘extraordinary’. Marrying ideas from mathematical analysis and applied statistics, the trio have been praised for their fast kernel density estimator, which also achieves excellent accuracy thanks to an ingenious bandwidth selection algorithm. Speaking on behalf of the group, Dr. Botev said the award was a humbling honour that recognised four years of tireless search resulting in a compelling and beautiful estimator.

“This work is yet another example of the unifying power of mathematics — our estimator uses the abstract concepts originally due to Fourier, Einstein and others, that describe phenomena ranging from the spread of heat in objects through to the spread of information in social networks,” he said.

Congratulating this year’s winners, AustMS President, Professor Jacqui Ramagge said it was exciting to celebrate work has transformed Australian and global mathematics.

“We are delighted to recognise outstanding Australians whose contributions have advanced understanding of mathematics in and beyond their fields,” she said.

Also recognised with awards today, Associate Professor David Harvey from the University of New South Wales took top honours as winner of the 2019 AustMS Medal. Presented to an AustMS member under 40, the medal recognises distinguished research in the mathematical sciences. Queensland University of Technology Mathematical Sciences Lecturer, Belinda Spratt received the 2019 Award for Teaching Excellence (Early Career).

The ceremony opened the 2019 AustMS Annual meeting at Monash University’s Clayton Campus in Melbourne. A calendar fixture for Australian mathematical sciences and statistics, this year again boasts a diverse program of cutting-edge mathematical methodologies and research to nurture national and international collaboration. For meeting details, visit

More information:

The Australian Mathematical Society Medal 

Awarded annually to an AustMS member under 40 for distinguished mathematical sciences research.

AustMS Award for Teaching Excellence (Early Career)

Presented to encourage excellence in mathematics teaching in higher education, this award recognises outstanding contributions to teaching and student learning at a tertiary level.

Gavin Brown Best Paper Prize

Awarded to an outstanding article, monograph or book consisting of original mathematical research.