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Dr Beatrice Pelloni recognised as one of the world's leading female mathematicians

Dr Beatrice Pelloni

Dr Beatrice Pelloni, Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics

‘I hope my talk will contribute to informing and inspiring young women’ Dr Beatrice Pelloni

The University is delighted to announce that Dr Beatrice Pelloni, Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics has been recognised as one of the leading female mathematicians in the world.

The honour is given once every four years to a woman considered to be a world-leader in applied mathematics and Dr Pelloni has been invited to deliver the prestigious Olga-Taussky-Todd lecture in Vancouver next week.

Over the last 15 years, Dr Pelloni has made radical developments to a key mathematical technique used for solving mathematical problems throughout the physical sciences and engineering.

Women remain under-represented in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) occupations in the UK. In 2008, women were only 12.3 per cent of all employees in SET occupations.

In 2007/08 there were 540 full-time women professors in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), 9.3% of the full-time total, and 55 part-time STEM women professors, 8% of the part-time total.

Dr Pelloni, who had three children before she finished her PhD and another after, has always combined family and work. She hopes her success will inspire women who struggle with the idea of a career in science or academia.

Dr Pelloni said: "I am deeply honoured by the award of this prize lecture, and by the recognition of my work it marks. I am especially pleased as this particular award is  reserved for women, and the occasion of the lecture gives me a very public opportunity to encourage  the many talented women  who struggle to reconcile the demands and challenges of academic life with those of family. I hope my talk will contribute to informing and inspiring young women, and help them take their place in the wide world of mathematical research."

Dr Pelloni's work has focused on so-called ‘transform methods', a basic component in the mathematical toolkit of all mathematicians. These methods are valued by engineers as they lead to simple formulae for the solution to a very wide range of real world problems.

Working with collaborators at Reading and with Professor Thanasis Fokas at the University of Cambridge, Dr Pelloni's work has shown these methods can be radically extended so that the range of problems which can be solved is hugely enlarged.

The University of Reading's School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences is working extremely hard to develop and promote women's careers. The School has female staff, including Dr Pelloni, in many key leadership positions and in 2010 was given a Silver Award by Athena Swan, which recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research. It also hosts the South-East Hub for the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology.

Head of the School, Professor Simon Chandler-Wilde, said:  "We are very proud that Beatrice Pelloni will give the Olga Taussky-Todd Prize Lecture, as worthy recognition for her fundamental work on developing new transform methods. This work has implications for how we teach our undergraduates and for the solution of mathematical problems across science and engineering. Beatrice combines her work as a leading mathematician with a role as one of the few female Heads of Mathematical Sciences in the UK, and is a fantastic role model for our's and students across the UK seeking to make a career as a successful researcher.''

Dr Pelloni will present the Olga Taussky-Todd Lecture at the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM) in Vancouver, Canada on 19 July, at the invitation of the ICIAM Congress, the Association of Women in Mathematics (ACM), and European Women in Mathematics.

Prof Jill Pipher, of Brown University in the US and President of the ACM said: "The Association for Women in Mathematics congratulates Professor Pelloni on the honour of giving the Olga Taussky-Todd lecture at ICIAM, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to applied mathematics that have earned her the distinction of being selected to deliver this prestigious lecture."

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