Bright spark wins prized award

GREAT MIND: Re­cip­i­ent of highly-cov­eted schol­ar­ship thanks Wood­lawn teach­ers for ig­nit­ing maths, science in­ter­est

The Northern Star - - LOCAL NEWS - ANDY PARKS andy.parks@north­ern­star.com.au

ONE of the best and bright­est young minds in ap­plied math­e­mat­ics has thanked his teach­ers at Wood­lawn Col­lege for point­ing him in the right di­rec­tion. Isaac Donnelly ( pic­tured at

right ) has just been awarded a pres­ti­gious Ful­bright Schol­ar­ship and will spend 10 months at the North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity in Bos­ton un­der the men­tor­ship of worldlead­ing sci­en­tist Pro­fes­sor Al­bert-Las­zlo Barabasi.

Mr Donnelly is cur­rently do­ing a PhD at the Uni­ver­sity of New South Wales in net­work science and is in­ter­ested in ap­ply­ing this the­ory to the real world to help pre­dict things like epi­demics on air­line net­works and to min­imise con­ges­tion on city roads.

“Net­work science is about how ev­ery­thing is in­ter­con­nected and the struc­tures of that in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness and us­ing math­e­mat­i­cal anal­y­sis to get some use­ful in­for­ma­tion,” he said.

The Ful­bright Pro­gram is a highly-cov­eted ed­u­ca­tional schol­ar­ship pro­gram, op­er­at­ing be­tween the United States and more than 155 coun­tries. Mr Donnelly was one of just 11 schol­ar­ships for 2015.

He said he was first turned on to re­ally pur­sue maths and science by his teach­ers at St John’s Col­lege, Wood­lawn, Mr Ghioni and Mr Bryce.

Mr Donnelly com­pleted his Bach­e­lor of Ad­vanced Science in 2011 and then spent some time work­ing for the Aus­tralian Nu­clear Science and Tech­nol­ogy Or­gan­i­sa­tion and also for Vic­to­ria’s road and traf­fic author­ity VicRoads.

He said get­ting the Full­bright Schol­ar­ship was a val­i­da­tion of net­work science.

“It’s a young science but it’s go­ing to be very pow­er­ful,” he said.

“I want to be a cham­pion for the links be­tween pure re­search and ap­plied devel­op­ment, which we don’t do well in Australia. We need to get science out of unis and into the real world.”

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