Distinguished Mathematician Dr. Mark McCartney of Ulster University receives Maths Week Ireland Award for Raising Public Awareness of Maths
The distinguished mathematician and researcher, Dr. Mark McCartney (Ulster University, Jordanstown) has been honoured as this year’s recipient of the Maths Week Ireland Award for his contribution to Raising Public Awareness of Maths.
The award is presented once each year during Maths Week Ireland – the all-island festival of Maths and numeracy (12th – 20th October).The event is run with partners including Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills (ROI), the Department for the Economy (NI), multinational technology firm Xilinx, universities, institutes of technology, libraries, schools, training colleges and employers, north and south.
The award was inaugurated in 2016 to honour outstanding work in raising public awareness of mathematics on the island of Ireland. Dr McCartney is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at Ulster University and, apart from his mathematical research, has a strong interest in mathematics education and was an early promoter of Maths Week Ireland as an all-island initiative.
He has made significant contributions in promoting and recording the history of mathematics which has led to a body of important work on mathematicians (and mathematical physicists) in particular with Irish connections.
His most recent work celebrates the bicentennial of Sligo born George Gabriel Stokes, whose maths is today used to model climate change. Dr. McCartney was editor along with Andrew Whitaker and Alastair Wood of George Gabriel Stokes Life, Science and Faith (Oxford University Press, 2019).
Dr. McCartney is the President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics, a Member of Council and Librarian of the London Mathematical Society and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology.
Dr. McCartney is originally from Lisburn and attended Lisnargavey High School and Friends School Lisburn before graduating in Applied Mathematics at Queen’s University Belfast. He went on to complete a PhD in Theoretical Physics at QUB in 1993 and took up a lecturing post at Abertay University in Dundee. After a four- year stint in Scotland Mark McCartney returned home to join the School of Business and Management at Ulster University as a researcher in mathematical modelling, before taking up a maths lecturer post. Currently Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at Jordanstown. Mark is also the 2018 -2020 President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics.
He was accompanied at the awards ceremony by his wife Karen, their son Peter (15) and Ulster University colleagues and said on receiving the award: “It’s such an honour to be given this award and I’m truly grateful to everyone at Maths Week Ireland. They have done so much to bring maths to the forefront in everyday life and highlight its importance and contribution to the world – past, present and future.”
Dr. Sheila Donegan, Co-founder of Maths Week Ireland said:
“Maths is a key driver of societal progress, innovation and economic growth which impacts on every aspect of our lives. It underpins attributes such as problem solving which are of critical importance across all sectors and leads to many exciting career opportunities for young people, north and south. As an all-island festival of maths and numeracy, Maths Week promotes an appreciation and an understanding of mathematics in a fun and interesting way and makes it less mysterious and more accessible to all. Through his internationally recognised work, Mark McCartney has made an enormous contribution to the field of mathematics and has passed on his knowledge and experience to a whole generation of students and the wider public. He is a very worthy recipient of the Maths Week Ireland award for Raising Public Awareness of Maths.”
The award was individually crafted by Irish silversmith Seamus Gill and is modelled to represent a Mobius Strip, a twisted cylindrical shape associated with the concept of ‘infinity’ in mathematics.
Former award recipients include:
· Prof Des MacHale, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics,
University College Cork. (2016)
· Prof Peter Lynch
(former Met Éireann)
Professor of Meteorology
School of Mathematical Sciences, UCD. (2017)
· Prof Tony O’Farrell
(Emeritus Professor of Mathematics) /
Dr. Fiacre O’Cairbre
co-founders of The Hamilton Walk in Dublin. (2018)
Maths Week honour for university lecturer and maths author Dr Mark McCartney (centre) of Ulster University pictured receiving the Maths Week Ireland 2019 award for ‘Raising Public Awareness of Maths’ from Maths Week co-founders Eoin Gill and Dr. Sheila Donegan Presented in Belfast during Maths Week 2019, Dr McCartney is the first person from Northern Ireland to receive the award which was inaugurated in 2016.
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