In the Media

The cutting-edge researchers in the School believe that it is important to demonstrate the relevance of mathematics and statistics to society and everyday life. Here are some examples of our appearances in the print, online and broadcast media.

If you would like to interview one of our staff members for a media story, please contact Susannah Waters.


JANUARY: Professor Jake Olivier was interviewed by ABC radio about the contributing factors to NSW's decline in road toll deaths. 


DECEMBER: Dr Shane Keating wrote a piece for The Conversation exploring the science of fluids, Slip, slop, slurp! The surprising science of sunscreen, sand and ice cream.

NOVEMBER: Dr Daniel Mansfield was featured on BBC REEL, discussing the maths of ancient Babylonia. 

Fedor Sukochev was announced as the top researcher in the field of Mathematical Analysis in The Australian’s Research Magazine, which publishes an annual list of the top researchers and best research institutions across 250 individual fields of research nationally. 

In addition to Professor Sukochev's top researcher ranking, UNSW Mathematics and Statistics topped the list for the fields of Algebra and Computational Mathematics.

AUGUST: Dr Daniel Mansfield's research discovery revealing that ancient clay tablet Si.427 could be the oldest known example of applied geometry sparked a vast amount of global mainstream media and social media attention. The story featured in outlets such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Daily Mail, New Scientist, The Economist, ABC, SMH, The Age, and many more. 

JULY: Dr Rohitash Chandra co-authored an article in The Conversation, which focuses on recent innovative research to discover copper deposits in order to supply the growing renewable energy technology industries.

APRIL: Professor Jake Olivier was interviewed by ABC Radio Sydney about unmarked speed camera vehicles and recent changes to the speed limit in the Moore Park area. There has been a general push for 40km/h zones or less in areas with a fair amount of pedestrian or cycling traffic. A paper published by Prof Olivier in 2019 estimated the probability of a pedestrian fatality given an impact speed; it works out to about 5% probability at 30km/h. The paper can be found here: The relationship between impact speed and the probability of pedestrian fatality during a vehicle-pedestrian crash: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Dr Shane Keating and Prof Moninya Roughan wrote a piece for The Conversation about the role of ocean currents and the fascinating things they can reveal. 

MARCH: Professor Moninya Roughan (pictured left) was interviewed by 7 News and ABC about ocean currents within the context of the investigation into the disappearance of Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick.

FEBRUARY: Dr Daniel Mansfield was interviewed by Diffusion Science radio about Mesopotamian arithmetic and geometry.


OCTOBER: Dr Thomas Britz was interviewed on ABC Melbourne's "Breakfast with Sammy J" programme, discussing the size of a trillion [dollars].

AUGUST: Dr Daniel Mansfield penned a piece for The Conversation, addressing a viral TikTok video which raised questions about the origin and existence of maths. He was also interviewed on ABC radio about the viral video. 

Head of Statistics, Professor Jake Olivier, was quoted in an SMH article about speed's impact on fatalities and serious injuries in vehicle crashes. 

JULY: Dr Thomas Britz was interviewed about the probability of winning the lottery on ABC Radio Hobart (interview starts at 40:00)

JUNE: Professor Jake Olivier contributed to an ABC News article analysing the accuracy of Australia's coronavirus figures. 

MAY: Dr Thomas Britz was interviewed for a piece, The mystique of mathematics: 5 beautiful maths phenomena, for the UNSW Newsroom. The article generated some additional media interest: it was also picked up by Cosmos Magazine, was Tweeted by The Mathematical Association of America, and Dr Britz was interviewed on ABC Radio Hobart (interview starts at 34:47). 

JANUARY: Dr Shane Keating wrote a piece for The Conversation about the science of ocean waves.


DECEMBER: Professor Jake Olivier spoke to SMH about pedestrian and road safety and the role of increased speeds. 

OCTOBER: Professor Jake Olivier analysed data for ABC's Fact Check to help investigate the credibility of a claim by former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce that the Nationals represent Australia's poorest electorates.

MAY: In the wake of the recent Federal election and many misleading opinion polls, Professor Scott Sisson co-authored a piece in The Conversation about improving poll design and thus their accuracy. 

APRIL: recent paper by Associate Professor David Harvey that describes a new method for multiplying together huge numbers attracted a broad range of media interest, garnering mentions in publications and outlets such as New Scientist, Science News, ABC, Triple J, and BBC World Service. 

FEBRUARY: Associate Professor Yanan Fan's study looking at student bias towards teachers attracted attention in theYanan Fan print and broadcast media. A/Prof Fan was interviewed by the ABC about the research (pictured right). 

Professor Jake Olivier's research demonstrating a clear link between helmet laws and a dramatic reduction in cycling fatalities appeared in several national media outlets, including SMH and ABC radio

Professor Jake Olivier spoke to ABC's 7.30 program about his research on the impact of car speed on pedestrian fatality. Articles also appeared across the print media. 


NOVEMBER: Our Head of Statistics, Professor Scott Sisson, appeared in an Australian Academy of Science video discussing the reliability of opinion polls. 

AUGUST: A/Prof Jake Olivier was interviewed for a Channel 10 news bulletin about the likelihood of winning the record $100 million Powerball jackpot. 

JULY: Dr Shane Keating and Prof Darryn Waugh wrote a piece for The Conversation in the lead-up to Prof Waugh's public lecture on 30 July at UNSW, The enduring impact of the ozone hole on climate.

A/Prof Jake Olivier was interviewed for a piece for ABC Fact Check, "Are ABC employees or journalists five times more likely to vote for the Greens than the general population?". 

JUNE: Professor Scott Sisson co-authored two articles for The Conversation, "A survey needs to involve how many people before I'm convinced?" and "Could Australia win, really? The science of predicting the World Cup champion".

APRIL: Professor Chris Tisdell was interviewed for an article in discussing new research which shows that one in three Australians are unhappy with their choice of university or university degree.

Dr Thomas Britz was interviewed by local radio station radio TLC FM on the work and experience of being a mathematician.

MARCH: A/Prof Jake Olivier spoke to Triple J Hack for an article about the effect of helmet laws and bicycle rider participation. The article cited his meta analysis on helmet usage, which concluded that helmets reduce the chances of a serious head injury by nearly 70% and of fatal head injuries by 65%.

A/Prof Olivier was also interviewed on 15 March on Focus with Cassie McCullagh (ABC Radio). 

JANUARY: When Scientia Professor Trevor McDougall received a Companion of the Order of Australia, the news appeared across several news media outlets, including SBS which ran a feature about Prof McDougall. 


AUGUST: Dr Daniel Mansfield and A/Prof Norman Wildberger's research unlocked the mystery of an ancient Babylonian tablet. The research attracted local and worldwide media attention.

JULY: A/Prof Jake Olivier was interviewed for ABC's "The World Today" program, in a feature about Australian bike sharing schemes.

JULY: A/Prof Norman Wildberger was interviewed for a piece in SMH about the Kepler Conjecture.

MAY: A/Prof Moninya Roughan and Dr Amandine Schaeffer's research about the intensification of marine heatwaves was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald. 

APRIL: A/Prof Jake Olivier spoke to ABC Radio National for their broadcast, Minimum passing distances for cars and bikes: do they work?

MARCH: A/Prof Jake Olivier was interviewed on ABC Radio Mornings with Jon Faine to discuss the compelling case for bike helmet safety.


SEPTEMBER: A/Prof Jake Olivier has continued his run of media appearances, this time featuring widely across print and broadcast media highlighting his review into bike helmet use and injury, which is the largest study of its kind ever undertaken. 

JUNE: A/Prof Jake Olivier spoke to 7 News about the odds of winning the lottery.

APRIL: A/Prof Jake Olivier once again analysed data for ABC's Fact Check. The report investigated whether industrial disputes decreased under the operation of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), and if they increased after the commission was abolished.

MARCH: A/Prof Jake Olivier featured in a Channel 10 Eyewitness News broadcast, which discussed proposed laws which would require skateboarders and scooter riders to wear helmets. The decision is pending the outcome of a review ordered by the NSW government.

FEBRUARY: Research undertaken by PhD student Isaac Donnelly and collaborators from UNSW Psychology was widely covered across science media. The study, published in Nature Communications, revealed that complex human brain activity is driven by the same simple universal rule of nature which can explain other phenomena, such as the spots on a leopard.

JANUARY: A/Prof Chris Tisdell was quoted in a piece for the Australian Financial Review which looked at Australia's "deteriorating mathematics skills". A/Prof Tisdell highlighted some of the challenges within the current educational landscape.


DECEMBER: A/Prof Jake Olivier was consulted by ABC's Fact Check to help investigate the veracity of a claim by Deputy Leader of the National Party, Barnaby Joyce, that the constituents his party represents are worse off than those in other electorates.

NOVEMBER: Three of our oceanography researchers appeared in a photographic exhibition focusing on scientists, dubbed Wild Researchers, by an award-winning photographer.

AUGUST: Professor John Murray appeared in a short documentary, part of a series commissioned by The Guardian Australia featuring Australian scientists. The documentary, "No Researcher is an Island", focuses on one of Professor Murray's collaborators, Dr Geoff Symonds of Calimmune.

Dr Thomas Britz and collaborators at BEES, UNSW, and University of Tasmania, published an article, together with commentary in The Conversation, which attracted international media attention. Their research suggested that reintroducing devils to the mainland would lead to reductions in fox and cat numbers. Foxes and cats are arguably the greatest living threat to our native mammals, so any reduction in their abundance is going to be of great benefit to our struggling native mammal species.

JULY: Professor Gary Froyland was quoted in a National Geographic article, "(Re)parting the Seas". The short piece discusses ocean "borders", which have remained largely unchanged for almost a century. Prof Froyland contends that the boundaries "reflect geopolitics". The article, which arose from Prof Froyland's joint research with our former PhD student Robyn Stuart plus Erik van Sebille (formerly of UNSW's CCRC), advocates for a revision of boundaries, based on present-day knowledge of currents and natural basins, while taking into account the origin of polluted plots of rubbish which litter the ocean. The piece also appeared in the French, Dutch, and Spanish online versions of the publication. 

**School members Moninya Roughan, Shane Keating, Amandine Schaeffer, and Carlos Rocha joined a research trip on CSIRO vessel Investigator, which inadvertently discovered ancient volcanoes off the coast of Sydney. The story generated a media storm, with coverage appearing widely across the mainstream media.

**During a trip to Austria for a conference, A/Prof Josef Dick was the subject of an article in a local newspaper,

FEBRUARY: An article about PhD student Isaac Donnelly's Fulbright Scholarship was published in the Northern Star newspaper, "Bright spark wins prized award".


DECEMBER: Professor James Franklin was interviewed on the Philosopher's Zone program on ABC's Radio National. The program was called "Does maths matter?".

NOVEMBER: A/Prof Chris Tisdell was interview by The Australian, in an article entitled "Maths lecturer number one with students".

SEPTEMBER: Professor Gary Froyland co-authored a piece that was published in The Conversation, "Redrawing the map could reveal ocean garbage patch culprits".



DECEMBER: The School's Limits to Growth symposium attracted ample media attention.
ABC radio's PM program recorded talks by Graciela Chichilnisky, Clive Hamilton and Ken Henry. Listen to the recording

SKY TV filmed the afternoon sessions and the Limits to Growth Q&A for Australia's Public Affairs Channel (Foxtel). 

AAP and Financial Review came to report on Ken Henry's talk, and SMH requested copy of Ken Henry's speech for publication. Part of his talk was quoted in an article in The Australian

An article by Prof Bruce Henry and Isaac Donnelly was published in The Conversation in the lead-up to the symposium.

SMH image

FEBRUARY: Articles about Dr Jake Oliver and his team's research appeared in both SMH and The ConversationTheir study revealed the value of mandatory helmet laws, which are currently up for debate, and the correlation between injury severity and the lack of a helmet. 

In March, their work was mentioned in two prominent injury prevention publications.




SEPTEMBER: Once again, Dr Chris Tisdell's YouTube achievements were trumpeted in the media - this time in the Higher Education section of The Australian. In the article, "Seismic shift in learning as study tourists go online", Dr Tisdell talks about what initially attracted him to the concept of videoing lessons, and who his main audience is. The extent of his extraordinary success is highlighted.


JULY: Dr Chris Tisdell was interviewed by SMH for an article about his online success, "Online lessons add up for lecturer". Dr Tisdell's YouTube channel has achieved phenomenal popularity, recently surpassing one million hits. His e-book has also experienced prominence as one of the top dowloaded texts on e-book publisher Bookboon's website. According to the SMH article, "Chris Tisdell is the equivalent of a best-selling author or chart-topping musician".

Dr Tisdell's trailblazing work was also mentioned in an article in The Age, "Don't get hung up, let's just hang out", authored by the Managing Director of Google Australia & New Zealand, Nick Leeder.  



APRIL: Dr Moninya Roughan was interviewed on ABC radio about the East Australia Current, which has a huge impact on local weather systems and climate.




Then Head of School Professor Tony Dooley was quoted in a Daily Telegraph article, “HECS minus $400 million means Australia is a nation of dunces”. The article looked at the imminent threat of a “brain drain” in Australia due to cuts to mathematics and science education funding by the Federal government. Prof Dooley commented on the likely impact on student numbers of increased annual HECS fees for students in these disciplines.


Professor Dooley talked to Channel 10 News about a mathematical formula designed to help surfers find the perfect wave.


Leading up to Valentine’s Day, articles and broadcasts about a “formula of love” devised by staff in the School appeared across a wide range of media outlets. The formula provides a “mathematical framework” to figure out the optimal time to get serious with your partner. The story appeared in Australian and international online and print media, and was also picked up by Australian radio stations.




A Melbourne Cup “winning formula” developed within the School, dubbed the Melbourne Cup Trifecta 50 or MCT50, advises to eliminate all the horses that have odds longer than 50-1 and to place a $1 bet on all possible box trifecta combinations for the remaining starters. This story was picked up by several media outlets, including SMH.