In the media

Chris Tisdell

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.

The Neumann Talk podcast

The Neumann Talk podcast interviews past winners of the Australian Mathematical Society's B.H. Neumann Prize. It is produced by students and staff from the School of Mathematics and Statistics at UNSW Sydney and hosted by PhD candidate Yudhi Bunjamin.

The Neumann Talk podcast

  • Jake Olivier

    FEBRUARY: Tom Stindl was interviewed for the Herald Sun discussing the likelihood of two family members sharing a leap year birthdate.

    Tom Stindl and Jake Olivier gave separate interviews to Triple M about the odds of winning the $200 million Powerball jackpot. Jake Olivier also gave an on-camera interview to the 9 News afternoon bulletin, and ABC Radio Sydney NSW Afternoons with James Valentine.

    An article spotlighting Trevor McDougall and his 2023 NSW Scientist of the Year win was published in The Senior.

    JANUARY: Jake Olivier was interviewed by SMH about the odds of winning the $150 million Powerball jackpot. 

    A new study by Jake Olivier and colleague Soufiane Boufous revealing that overall cyclist fatalities have been decreasing over the past three decades was covered by UNSW Newsroom, Cosmos Magazine, Canberra Times, AAP, and more. Jake Oliver was also interviewed about the study on ABC Canberra Breakfast radio. 

  • NOVEMBER: A piece about marine heatwaves by Shane Keating, Amandine Schaeffer, and colleagues was published in ABC News

    OCTOBER: Shane Keating co-wrote a piece for The Conversation, Climate change is disrupting ocean currents. We’re using satellites and ships to understand how.

    SEPTEMBER: A recent study by Thomas Britz and colleagues was covered by several media outlets including the ABC and The Conversation. The research found that tens of thousands of small-scale hydro energy storage sites could be built from Australia’s farm dams, supporting the uptake of reliable, low-carbon power systems in rural communities.

    A study by Amandine Schaeffer and UNSW colleagues about marine heatwaves gained traction across the science media. They co-wrote a piece in The Conversation, and the research was featured in several science publications. 

    AUGUST: Jan Zika was interviewed on ABC News about proposed funding cuts to the Australian Antarctic program. 

    JULY: Jan Zika was quoted in several media pieces - including The Age and the Brisbane Times - commenting on the recent declaration of an El Niño weather event. Climate experts warned that Australia is in "uncharted" bushfire territory.

    JUNE: Jake Olivier was interviewed for several media pieces in the wake of the recent Hunter Valley bus crash. Head of Statistics Professor Olivier is Deputy Director of the Transport & Road Safety Research Centre (TARS). 

    Professor Olivier and colleague Raphael Grzebieta (Professor of Road Safety, TARS) were interviewed for an article in SMH, which discusses the issues of regulation concerning seat belts on buses, rollover crash worthiness standards for vehicles, and the availability of vehicle data/black box recorders to police.

    Professor Olivier was interviewed for another piece in SMH, focused on lobbying by parent groups for seat belts to be installed on buses. 

    Professor Olivier was interviewed for a piece in the Canberra Times, which discusses seat belt laws for buses across Australia.

    Another piece in SMH which sought comment from Prof Olivier covers the investigation by a bus industry taskforce into the adequacy of bus and coach safety regulation in NSW.

    MAY: Jake Olivier was interviewed for an article, "Election fraud claim casual with the truth on informal voting", which features in the Australian Associated Press' FactCheck. He helped to debunk a claim that the high number of informal ballots cast at some NSW voting centres provides statistical evidence that the 2023 NSW election was rigged.

    Jan Zika - ABC News
  • JULY: Jake Olivier was interviewed for an article in the Daily Mail about golf cart safety. 

    Thomas Britz wrote a piece for The Conversation charting the history of the Golden Ratio and exploring why its common application to determine physical beauty is redundant.

    MAY: Daniel Mansfield featured on Dr Karl's Shirtloads of Science podcast, discussing the history of maths and ancient Babylonian tablets.

    Jake Olivier was interviewed for ABC Newcastle about the impact of a reduced speed zone in the local area, in terms of decreasing the prospect of a fatality following a motor vehicle accident; he has done research via a systematic review and meta-analysis that supports the decision.

    MARCH: Amandine Schaeffer wrote for The Conversation, investigating what brings bluebottles to shore and revealing that the orientation of the beach and the direction of the wind both have a part to play.

    Shane Keating's piece for The Conversation explores how innovative design and smart satellites change the way we look at our planet - and beyond.

    FEBRUARY: Taimoor Sohail and Jan Zika's study published in Nature, which provided a new framework for understanding freshwater transport and highlighted the impact of climate change on the global water cycle, attracted a broad range of media attention including interviews with ABC and articles in titles internationally. 

    Jake Olivier was interviewed by A Current Affair about the odds of winning the $120 million Powerball jackpot

    Shane Keating wrote for The Conversation about the mysterious science of the sport of curling, The slippery science of Olympic curling: we still don’t know how it works.

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

  • DECEMBER: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 five per cent 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.

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

    Fedor Sukochev
    Moninya Roughan

    MARCH: Moninya Roughan 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: Daniel Mansfield was interviewed by Diffusion Science radio about Mesopotamian arithmetic and geometry.

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

    AUGUST: 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, Jake Olivier, was quoted in an SMH article about speed's impact on fatalities and serious injuries in vehicle crashes. 

    JULY: Thomas Britz was interviewed about the probability of winning the lottery on ABC Radio Hobart.

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

    MAY: 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 Thomas Britz was interviewed on ABC Radio Hobart. 

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

    Thomas Britz
  • Yanan Fan

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

    OCTOBER: 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, Scott Sisson co-authored a piece in The Conversation about improving poll design and thus their accuracy. 

    APRIL: recent paper by 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: Yanan Fan's study looking at student bias towards teachers attracted attention in the print and broadcast media. Yanan was interviewed by the ABC about the research. 

    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. 

    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.

  • Daniel Mansfield

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • SEPTEMBER: 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: Jake Olivier spoke to 7 News about the odds of winning the lottery.

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

    Isaac Donnelly
  • Wild Researchers

    DECEMBER: 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: 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.

    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: 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, 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'. 

  • Limits to Growth

    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. 

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

    FEBRUARY: Articles about Jake Oliver and his team's research appeared in both SMH and The Conversation. Their 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.