A final year Mathematical Science and international student at NUI Galway is one of the nine winners of this year’s prestigious 2021 Hamilton Prize.
The prize is awarded to the top mathematical students in the country in the final year of their course. They are nominated by their university to the Royal Irish Academy for consideration of the Prize.
Lijun Zou is originally from the Hubei Province in China and was nominated by NUI Galway for the prize.
“I am very honoured to receive the Hamilton Prize” stated Zou. “As an international student, I faced many challenges such as the language barrier. But the faculty members of the School of Maths are all very friendly and helped me a lot. I really appreciate them.”
Aisling McCluskey, Professor in Mathematics in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at NUI Galway has described Zou as incredibly hard working and extremely dedicated to her studies.
“The award of the prestigious Hamilton Prize is a tremendous honour, and we are delighted to acknowledge and celebrate Lijun’s achievement” continued McCluskey.
“This special prize underscores the importance of valuing and encouraging our undergraduate mathematicians as they progress into final year and into future STEM careers,” finished McCluskey.
As well as the award, a cash prize of €250 was awarded to Zou alongside a Certificate of Achievement. She was also invited to attend the 2021 Hamilton Lecture.
This year’s Hamilton Lecture speaker was Dr Caroline Series, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick.
Dr Series was in conversation with RTÉ broadcaster and Assistant Professor at the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics, Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin.
The awards ceremony and lecture were held on October 16th to concede with Hamilton Day.
The renowned Irish mathematical scientist William Rowan Hamilton was on his way to the Royal Irish Academy along the Royal Canal from Dunsink Observatory on October 16th 1843, when he discovered quaternions and subsequently quaternion algebra.
His discovery was an important breakthrough in the development of modern abstract algebra and is said to be one of the very rare “Eureka” moments often portrayed in media about science.
The original equation was said to be scratched onto the wall of Broome Bridge in Cabra, Dublin.
It is also an important component nowadays for navigating satellites and programming for video games.