Recently, there has been a rush of birthday-related activity in and around and connected with the School.

1) In the week after Easter, a special conference was held in Luminy, France, for the 60th birthday of Professor Igor Shparlinski FAA. Igor joined the School (in Pure Mathematics) in mid-2013 and works in number theory, cryptography and related topics.

Many of his international friends and collaborators attended, as did UNSW School members: Min Sha, Alina Ostafe (co-organiser), Ana Zumalacarregui and John Roberts. 

Read more about the meeting. 

Conference attendees were issued with a state-of-the-art contraption: the iGor 6.0 (pictured at left), a device close to Igor's heart (see his t-shirt in the group photo above).

Wine drinkers are eagerly waiting for the enhanced iGor 7.0.


2) The Foundation Professor of Applied Mathematics at UNSW in 1959 was John Blatt FAA, and UNSW's first PhD student in Mathematics was Colin Thompson FAA (PhD, 1964), now Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne. 

Colin celebrated his 75th birthday in Melbourne in early April and our own John Roberts attended a lunch in Colin's honour. Colin made celebrated achievements in statistical mechanics and, recently, his Golden-Thompson inequality has been used in random matrix theory: see Terry Tao's blogpost and Colin's article with Peter Forrester about the fascinating history of the inequality and the involvement of famous physicist Freeman Dyson and famous mathematician "Uncle" George Polya.

Also at the lunch for Colin was Reinout Quispel (La Trobe University). The QRT maps (or Quispel-Roberts-Thompson maps) are important models of discrete integrable systems.


3) China's Tsinghua University has established an international mathematics conference centre, TSIMF, at Sanya on the island province of Hainan.

Recently, it hosted a workshop on Discrete Integrable Systems, which is an area of interest to several staff members: Wolfgang Schief, Jonathan Kress and John Roberts.

One of the purposes of the workshop was to celebrate the birthdays of five prominent figures in the field having significant (0 mod 5) birthdays. Three of these have visited the School in recent years: Claude Viallet (Paris VI), Frank Nijhoff (Leeds) and Jarmo Hietarinta (Turku).

When the organisers realised that the conference banquet was actually on the birthday of John Roberts, he was lucky enough to be included in the celebrations! (Pictured above, L to R: Viallet, Nijhoff, Hietarinta, Senyue Lou, Roberts).