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DIT Mathematical Sciences Student Awarded Hamilton Prize

Posted: 23 October, 2018

Congratulations to Gavin Elliott, now in his final year of the programme BSc (Hons) Mathematical Sciences in DIT, who was recently awarded the prestigious Hamilton Prize at the Royal Irish Academy for his performance in the penultimate year of his studies.

Gavin Elliott with Head of the School of Mathematical Sciences, Dr Chris Hills. {Images by Johnny Bambury Photography.}

Every year the Royal Irish Academy celebrates the anniversary of Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton’s discovery of quaternion algebra on 16 October 1843. Hamilton Day 2018 began with a masterclass for students and early career researchers in mathematics, given by this year’s Hamilton speaker, Professor Martin Hairer from Imperial College London. The masterclass was hosted by Arup, sponsor of Hamilton Day, and gave young researchers the opportunity to learn from a Fields Medallist and leading expert in the field of probability theory.

The Hamilton Day celebrations continued with an award ceremony honouring Gavin and the other top eight undergraduate mathematics students in Ireland, which was attended by family and friends of the recipients, as well as representatives from their university departments and members of the mathematics community in Ireland.

Dr Chris Hills, the Head of the School of Mathematical Sciences, attended the prize-giving ceremony on behalf of Dublin Institute of Technology.  Commenting on Gavin’s success, he said: “Winning the Hamilton Prize is a superb achievement, and Gavin is an excellent mathematician.  It is a testament to the strength and depth of the programme that there was very strong competition for the position of best-placed undergraduate and Gavin had developed not only technical skills but also demonstrated the ability to apply and communicate these in practical contexts through mathematical modelling and the use of technology as part of his career development.  Indeed, our graduates enjoy highly successful careers in a wide range of sectors from technology and data analysis to finance and research and I am sure that, when he graduates, Gavin will be very successful in the career he chooses.”

The Hamilton Lecture rounded off the day commemorating the great William Rowan Hamilton and was given by the 2014 Fields Medallist, Professor Martin Hairer, a leading scientist in the field of probability theory. Professor Hairer discussed mathematical objects arising naturally in probability theory, as well as some of their surprising properties. In particular, he showed how one of these objects was involved in the confirmation of the existence of atoms over 100 years ago and how new properties of related objects are still being discovered today.

About Hamilton Day

Hamilton Day commemorates a ground-breaking discovery by Ireland’s most famous scientist. On 16 October 1843, William Rowan Hamilton discovered quaternion algebra, while walking along the Royal Canal from Dunsink Observatory to the RIA. This was one of those very rare Eureka moments in the history of science. So excited was he by his discovery that he scratched his equation on the wall of Broome Bridge, Cabra.