Welcome from the Head of School

Welcome to the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics, the largest school of its kind in Australia.

It is a great privilege to be the head of Mathematics and Statistics at UNSW Australia; an institution whose leadership and engagement stands on the pillars of science, medicine, engineering, finance and business. Mathematics, a beautiful intellectual pursuit in its own right, is the core discipline that underpins and enables advances in all of these fields.

An expanding universe of mathematics, created purely from imagination, exists in parallel with the physical universe that we inhabit. Pure mathematicians explore and extend this universe of mathematics, developing and imagining new vistas. Applied mathematicians build on and develop mathematics through the creation of structures that enable mathematics to provide understanding, prediction and improvements in the physical universe. Statisticians develop and explore mathematics, and its connections with the physical universe, focussing on techniques to deal with uncertainties. At UNSW we embrace all areas of mathematics, under the departments of Applied Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, and Statistics.

We live in challenging times. The human population of more than seven billion is altering its global environment and climate; the well-being of our economic and financial systems is largely predicated on future growth that is unsustainable; our global connectedness through airline networks, and internet networks, make us vulnerable to global shocks; the demands on our medical systems and transport systems is exceeding capacity; the emergence of terrorism on a global scale poses enormous threats to security. Meeting these challenges will require intellectual advances from science, medicine, engineering, finance and business. On the positive side, we have unprecedented access to knowledge and data. One of the global tasks of mathematicians is to extend the universe of mathematics and to provide the mathematical training that will help to underpin and enable these challenges to be met.

Our internationally recognised research in mathematics and statistics at UNSW includes the areas of; algebra and number theory, Bayesian and Monte Carlo methods, biomathematics, biostatistics and ecology, combinatorics, computational mathematics, finance and risk analysis, fluid dynamics, functional and harmonic analysis, geometry, mathematical physics, nonlinear phenomena, nonparametric statistics, oceanic and atmospheric sciences, optimization, and stochastic analysis. Our teaching embraces the latest technologies and covers almost all areas of modern mathematics and statistics.

For each of the past three years, the Academic Ranking of World Universities has ranked Mathematics and Statistics at UNSW, number one in Australia. Our aim is to be recognised as the leading provider of mathematics education and research in Australia and among the best globally. Whether you are a student, an educator, a researcher, a politician or another interested person I welcome you to share our passion for, and our discovery of, the universe of mathematics.

Professor Bruce Henry, Head, UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics