Published on September 30th, 2013 | by Stephanie

Craig Westerland 2013 Australian Mathematical Society Medal Recipient

2013 is a year dedicated to the mathematical sciences, so being awarded the Australian Mathematical Society (AustMS) Medal is a fraction sweeter.

The AustMS medal is awarded each year to a member of the society with an outstanding research contribution who is also under the age of 40. This year’s recipient Dr Craig Westerland certainly fits the bill.

Craig is an ARC Future Fellow at The University of Melbourne, and has been in a love affair with numbers for as long as he can remember. Since the completion of his PhD at the University of Michigan in 2004, Craig has walked the halls of many world class institutions: Princeton, University of Copenhagen and the University of Wisconsin to name a few.

Craig is famous amongst the international mathematics community for his pioneering research in algebraic topology and its connections with geometry, mathematical physics and number theory. Craig has fast become a leading expert in his field and is “truly honoured” to be receiving this award.


AustMS President, Professor Peter Forrester, said: “The medal of the Australian Mathematical Society has a proud history of symbolising excellence in mathematical research by a relatively junior society member. Craig’s far reaching work has made him a very worthy recipient of this award. I congratulate him on behalf of all Society members.”

When asked about this recognition Craig said: “The previous recipients of the AustMS Medal form a veritable who’s who of Australian mathematics, some of the deepest thinkers in the subject today.  I’m humbled to keep such esteemed company, and am not sure that I really belong with such a crowd.

Recognising the often hidden work of our mathematical scientists is of increasing importance. AustMS takes great pride in monitoring, rewarding and supporting the discipline.

“Pure mathematics, like all curiosity-driven research, starts with a phenomenon that we don’t understand, and the simple need to answer the question `Why is this so?’  So often, though, answers to these simplest questions have enormous impact on emerging technologies when they are picked up by talented individuals in industry, people who appreciate both the ‘why,’ but also the question ‘what can I do with the answer?’  This constant dialogue rewards both mathematics and industry.”

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb mirrors Craig’s sentiments: “Mathematics is the only subject whose study consistently enhances performance across all fields of science. It forms the basis of most scientific and industrial research and development. This places it right in the middle of modern societies in developed countries like ours as we seek to compete in an increasingly competitive world.”[subscribe2]

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