Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Professor Yihong Du from the University of New England (UNE) has been recognised as one of the country’s top mathematicians, having been named as a 2024 Australian Laureate Fellow by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

This is the most prestigious scientific award for excellence in Australia, and is only given to 17 world-class researchers each year.

“To me, this fellowship means that many of my ambitious research plans can now become possible,” said Professor Du, who is the first UNE researcher to receive this competitive accolade.

“This achievement has been built upon the strong support I’ve received from UNE leadership teams and colleagues over many years.”

The fellowship will see Professor Du undertake a $2.45 million project over the next five years to develop new mathematical theories that will improve our knowledge of complex environmental concerns, such as ecological invasion and the spread of disease.

Not only will this help us better predict spread, but it will significantly improve our ability to control diseases that could have catastrophic impacts on health and biosecurity.

“I will develop mathematical theories and techniques to significantly improve the understanding of propagation and aggregation phenomena occurring in ecological invasion, disease spreading, krill swarming and elsewhere,” he said.

“This will be via the construction of models involving differential equations with several variables, which is known as partial differential equations.”

This achievement has been built upon the strong support I’ve received from UNE leadership teams and colleagues over many years.

As advances in modern science and technology rapidly increase, past mathematical models and theories can quickly grow outdated. Because of this, Professor Du will assemble a team of cutting-edge mathematicians at UNE who will contribute ongoing critical research skills in this fast-growing area of international interest.

“This team will continue the research and propose further exciting new questions while inspiring more young people to work in this field,” he said. “In this way, science and mathematics will go on to further benefit the well-being of the human society and the world.”

Being named an Australian Laureate Fellow adds to a long list of highly prestigious achievements for Profssor Du, including being elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2021. This saw him lead international research to apply pure mathematics to a range of complex real-world problems, such as measuring the impacts of climate change, and the march of invasive species and disease.

Professor Du is internationally renowned for his contributions to the theory of nonlinear elliptic and parabolic partial differential equations and their application in chemical reaction theory and population dynamics. Among other things, his work has made significant advances towards factoring in real-world complexity to mathematical models that might otherwise over-simplify the complexity of the natural world.

“I’d like to thank in particular my many collaborators, without their help I would not have reached where I am now,” said Professor Du.

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