A farewell celebration was held last Friday in the School for Associate Professor Robert Womersley, who recently announced his retirement.

Rob joined UNSW and the School of Mathematics and Statistics as a lecturer in 1981. In this time, he has served as Head of School, Head of Applied Mathematics, and has also sat on various committees, such as Policy and Resources (where he is known for his meticulous proofreading of the monthly minutes) and the Computing Committee.

As Chair of the Computing Committee, Rob shaped the very strong computing culture in all of the School’s programs and among the academic staff. He has been centrally involved in all aspects of computing in the School, especially high performance research facilities.

His research is based in optimization, developing computational methods for new classes of problems, with applications ranging from Geomathematics to Computational Finance. Examples include distribution of points on manifolds such as spheres and tori (donuts), optimizing both geometric aspects and criteria for numerical integration and approximation. He is internationally recognised for his research, and has received many grants over the years for his work.

Rob’s retirement is a great loss for the School, but a well-deserved respite for him. Rob’s knowledge of the inner workings of the School is unmatched, and his dedication and commitment to his work has been exceptional.

Head of School Professor Bruce Henry says, “Rob’s contributions have been across all areas. He has made enormous contributions to our School. He is an ideal employee, a classic high performing all-rounder academic… Rob is one of the most respected, trusted, reliable, and hard-working members of the School. He is one of the School’s heroes”.