The Australian whiz kid who became a UCLA maths professor at age 24 will reveal the mysterious world of prime numbers on Wednesday 16 September at UNSW.

Terry Tao had won virtually every top research prize in mathematics prior to winning the 2006 Fields Medal, considered to be the Nobel Prize of maths.

Now 34, he is known as the "Mr Fix-it" of mathematics by frustrated researchers who compete to interest him in their mathematical problems.

"Maths is more important than ever now, but it's so invisible," says Professor Tao. "It's used in the internet, it's used for finance, it's behind all the other sciences and engineering."

According to Tony Dooley, Head of the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics, Tao's work "has had a major impact in an unreasonably large number of areas. Australia can be justifiably proud of this great mathematician".

What: Terry Tao free public lecture at UNSWWhen: 6-7pm, Wednesday 16 SeptemberWhere: Leighton Hall, the John Niland Scientia Building, Kensington Campus

Read the full story on the Faculty of Science website

Media contact: Dan Gaffney, UNSW Science media | 0411 156 015