Education afternoon

As part of the 8th Australia New Zealand Mathematics Convention, there will be a special Education Afternoon, aimed at mathematics teachers at secondary school level.

Please click on the relevant links to download a flyer of the program and short  biographies of the speakers.

Organising Committee

Steve Carnie (U Melbourne)

Angela Kotsiras (MAV)

Janine McIntosh (AMSI)


Tuesday the 9th of December from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm.


University of Melbourne,  Lyle Theatre, Redmond Barry building.

See  this map for location on campus.

Parking advice: see here for general  advice re parking on campus

or here for location of public parking spaces.

How to Register

Registration for the afternoon is free. To register, please go to the registration page.

Program Outline

I:30 pm – Registration opens in the courtyard area, between the Redmond Barry building and Tin Alley.

2:00 pm – Dr Mariel Vazquez, DNA knots in bacteriophages

2:45 pm – Dr James McCaw,  Badgers, Ebola, pandemic influenza and politics: how mathematics drives infectious diseases policy development

3:30 pm – Afternoon tea in the courtyard  between the Redmond Barry building and Tin Alley.

4: 00 pm – Dr Norman Do, How, what, and why I think about maths

4:45 pm – Dr Steven Carnie, From VCE mathematics to Biomedicine: Markov chains in models for genetic drift.

5:30 pm – Q&A;  session closes

6:00 pm – Public Lecture, Prof. Hyam Rubinstein, Discrete versus continuous.

Program Details

Prof. Mariel Vazquez
University of California at Davis
DNA knots in bacteriophages DNA presents high levels of condensation in all organisms. We are interested in the problem of DNA packing inside bacteriophage capsids. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, and DNA extracted from bacteriophage P4 capsids is highly knotted. These knots can shed information on the packing reaction and on the geometry and topology of the DNA molecule inside the capsid. I will here give an overview of the packing problem, the mathematical and computational tools used to tackle it, and the results obtained by this interdisciplinary approach.
JamesMcCaw Dr. James McCaw The University of Melbourne Badgers, Ebola, pandemic influenza and politics: how mathematics drives infectious diseases policy development Infectious diseases of both humans and animals pose an ongoing threat to our health and economic prosperity. Perhaps surprisingly, mathematicians now play a vital role – alongside epidemiologists, clinicians and public health practitioners – in controlling these diseases.In this talk I will draw upon three timely examples (bovine tuberculosis, Ebola and pandemic influenza) to illustrate how mathematics has contributed to policy development, control strategies and real-time forecasting of epidemic spread, and discuss the challenges this places upon researchers working at the interface between science and policy.
 ndo2 Dr. Norman Do
Monash University
How, what, and why I think about maths When I tell the typical person that I am a mathematician, they usually ask me how, what and why I think about maths (unless they choose to ignore me completely)! In this talk, I will try to answer those questions. Along the way, we will experience the beauty of mathematics, using examples that almost anyone can understand.
carnie150 Dr. Steven Carnie
The University of Melbourne
From VCE mathematics to Biomedicine: Markov chains in models for genetic drift.
From 2013 a new first year subject Mathematics for Biomedicine was offered to B. Biomed. students at the University of Melbourne, requiring VCE Mathematical Methods or equivalent. The subject is unusual in being based on 3 topics – population genetics, enzyme kinetics and epidemic models – that Biomedicine students will see in their other subjects but building on senior secondary mathematics. As an illustration, we describe how a model of genetic drift in a randomly mating population uses binomial random variables and leads to Markov chains, but with a different structure to the 2-state Markov chains seen in VCE mathematics. We also show how suitable software can visualize the behaviour of these models as the size of the population increases.
rubin Prof. Hyam Rubinstein
The University of Melbourne
Discrete versus Continuous
Many questions in geometry, topology, optimisation and other areas of mathematics can be studied using discrete or continuous techniques. Discrete methods can be easier to convert into algorithms, whereas continuous models arise naturally in physical problems. Specific illustrations contrasting the two approaches will be given in low dimensional topology, differential geometry and minimal surfaces.