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Faculty Postgraduate Prize winners announced

14 March 2013

Many congratulations to Olga Chervova, winner of the 2012 Faculty Postgraduate Research Prize, and to Chris Banerji, winner of the 2012 Faculty Postgraduate Taught Prize.

Postgraduate Research Prize

Olga Chervova, winner of the 2012 Faculty Postgraduate Research Prize
Olga Chervova, winner of the 2012 Faculty Postgraduate Research Prize

The 2012 Postgraduate Research Prize was awarded to Olga Chervova for her outstanding achievements in her PhD in Mathematics.

Olga’s Supervisor Prof. Dmitri Vassiliev noted that:

“The most striking result of the thesis is the one contained in our joint paper which is due to appear in Journal of Spectral Theory. We show in this paper that ALL publications on two-term asymptotics for first order systems, spanning the period from 1980 to date, are either incorrect or incomplete, and provide the correct formula for the second asymptotic coefficient...Olga made a major contribution to our paper. The analysis involved is very complicated and it would have been difficult for me to arrive at the correct formula for the second asymptotic coefficient on my own”.

Prof. Robb McDonald, Head of Department for Mathematics, noted that:

“Olga’s publication with Prof. Vassiliev is truly outstanding having solved a long-standing important problem – there is little doubt it will be rated 4* by the REF. It is worth noting that Olga has a further 4 published papers resulting from her doctoral research, and another one has been recently submitted. Such output of high quality work is excellent and rare”.

In her response to being awarded the prize, Olga Chervova stated:

“I feel extremely proud and happy to win this prize. I would like to thank my supervisor Prof. Dmitri Vassiliev and Head of Department Prof. Robb McDonald for supporting my nomination. The aim of my PhD research was to have a fresh look at the massless Dirac equation (the accepted mathematical model in theoretical physics for a massless neutrino field) and to identify mathematical problems in other subject areas which generate this equation. Together with my supervisor Prof. Dmitri Vassiliev we found two new perspectives on the massless Dirac equation: a continuum mechanics interpretation and a microlocal analysis interpretation. I hope to stay in academia, so now I am looking for a research (and/or teaching) position at university."

Postgraduate Taught Prize

Chris Banerji, winner of the 2012 Faculty Postgraduate Taught Prize
Chris Banerji, winner of the 2012 Faculty Postgraduate Taught Prize

The 2012 Postgraduate Taught Prize was awarded to Chris Banerji for his impressive work in his MRes in Modelling Biological Complexity during the last academic session.

Director of CoMPLEX, Dr Guy Moss, observed that:

“Chris Banerji is, simply put, a totally exceptional student. Chris came to us having received a 1st Class MMath degree from Oxford. In his three short projects during the MRes year he averaged a mark of 91%, never falling below 88% from any marker. He then went on to attain a summer project mark of 93%. In a programme where marks of 80% or above are very rare, these high marks single him out as having put together a set of truly brilliant performances. Indeed, from his MRes work he has almost enough material for two full papers and has already prepared one of these!”.

In his response to being awarded the prize, Chris Banerji stated:

“Given the very high calibre of research within the MAPS faculty, it is both a great honour and quite a surprise to find myself in receipt of this prize. One of the great joys of working in a field such as mathematical biology comes from its focus on collaboration, thus I cannot take all the credit for the work produced in my MRes and must thank (among others) Simone Severini, Andrew Teschendorff, Peter Zammit and Richard Orrell for all their support Our work last year shone a light on the most prevalent skeletal myopathy (FSHD). We are now beginning to utilise this new knowledge in the lab; with luck we may one day see the first therapies for FSHD”.

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