Conference news

Published on July 8th, 2013 | by Stephanie



Australia’s Chief Scientist and Patron of Mathematics of Planet Earth Professor Ian Chubb opened the conference today with an inspiring address.

“Mathematics provides the vital underpinning of the knowledge economy essential in the physical sciences, technology, business, financial services and areas of ICT,” he stated.

Prof. Chubb highlighted the declining interest in maths among Australia’s secondary school students, tracing the root cause to a lack of supply and support for adequately trained maths teachers. He warned if Australia continues on its current trajectory, we won’t have the mathematicians we need to innovate and achieve.

This heightened sense of urgency comes only weeks shy of the Chief Scientist announcing the new National Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Strategy aimed at addressing these issues.


Dr David Bailey from the University of California, Davis, presented Conquering Numerical Error,  he cautioned that “the world is not producing enough people with serious training in the area of numerical analysis”.


Duncan Young from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) entertained the audience with  statistics on Jedi followers from the Australian Census. More seriously, Young presented new targeted products produced by ABS. Run that Town and Spotlight are interactive tools built to engage the public with census data.  They show them that statistics ain’t all that bad!

John Cook, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland   

Responding to misinformation
The challenges of communicating the reality of climate change

Sometimes in science the equations may be close to perfect but, as John Cook knows better than anyone else, they don’t quite add up in the mind of the general public.

Cook is a Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. He is well known for his website This website has earned high praise around the world for explaining the science of climate change in an easily accessible manner and for maintaining a database of detailed rebuttals for the hundreds of persistent climate sceptic myths.

Yet, as his research has shown, this is not enough to sway the minds of a public struggling to… Read more…


                            TOP TWEETS # MPEAU @DiscoverAMSI

  •  @katejhelms – Duncan Young from @ABSStats @2011 Census discusses engaging gen y in stats: use superheroes & twitter, mock yourself and make an app #MPEAU
  • @DiscoverAMSI –  If you don’t debunk a myth properly you can actually add to the myth, says Cook #MPEAU
  • @mariposajanine –  David Bailey says that the world is not producing enough people with serious training in the area of numerical analysis #MPEAU
  • @DiscoverAMSI – Chief Scientist says “Supply and support of adequately trained teachers is not what it should be” #MPEAU


  • Chris Budd, University of Bath.  Data Assimilation in weather forecasting
  • Dr Bronwyn Harch, CSIRO.  Data Science – informing insights, understanding and decision making relevant to Planet Earth
  • Prof. David Fox, Environmetrics Australia.  Statistical Science for the Environment
  • Graeme Brown, ABS.  Measures of Australia’s Progress: Measuring what is Important for National Progress
  • 5:00 – 6:30pm: Poster session and networking drinks – Find out about mathematicians in schools!

Full program…



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