Collaborative brainpower: Australia’s next resource?

 In Media releases, News

MELBOURNE, TUESDAY 28 JULY, 2015: What Professor Michael Shelley does is so unlike what other people do. And over three weeks he will be sharing his ideas and advanced theoretical work, and tools, with Australia’s brightest minds.

This year, in conjunction with ANZIAM, AMSI brings Professor Michael Shelley, New York University, to Australian shores. He founded the Applied Mathematics Laboratory at the Courant Institute and his interests and research look into how structures move and interact with fluids.

Nature has a thing or two to teach us about evolution

“My tools are mathematical modelling, simulation and analysis,” Michael says. And, he draws his inspiration from the natural world – flags flapping in the wind, snakes slithering underfoot and bacteria swimming through baths. Would you ever associate flapping flags and renewable hydroelectricity?

“My theories on flags influenced engineers who design flapping devices to extract energy from flowing water. And my modelling of “turbulent” bacterial baths has helped biophysicists understand that how bacteria swim – by turning their flagellae – can have a huge effect on collective behaviour and gave new theoretical tools for studying other more complicated problems in biology,” says Michael.

By working on understanding natural phenomena, Michael explains, groundwork is being laid for others to work on problems of higher complexity. Innovation of this kind requires collaboration across many fields of research such as mathematics, biology, physics, engineering and chemistry.

“People are at the core of knowledge transfer,” says Professor Geoff Prince, AMSI Director. “And now, more than ever, innovation across multiple disciplines is essential for Australia to remain competitive in the global economy.”

Innovation walks on two legs

As global economy woes become more profound investing in innovation and promoting the importance of collaboration among STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields is necessary.

Each year AMSI supports the visits of 50 international academics to Australia. This equips the brilliant young minds of Australian research with the tools and the knowledge to extend their research capability and to do innovative and exciting things.

Exposure to state of the art research, while networking with future colleagues can only lead to clever people, a clever country and a strong economy.

— ends —

For Interview: 

Professor Michael Shelley, New York University: Co-Director, Applied Mathematics Laboratory, The Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences


The AMSI-ANZIAM Lecture Tour is a biennial activity organised by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) in conjunction with the Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ANZIAM). Over three weeks a prominent mathematician tours Australian universities giving lectures at a variety of levels, including several public lectures.

27 July – 12 August 2015

Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle

Media Contact:

Stephanie Pradier
P: +61 424 568 314
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