Mr Wessen has been passionate about mathematics for as long as he can remember, and has really enjoyed the opportunity to share his love of mathematics while teaching high school students. His mathematics learning and exploration website, The Mathenæum, grew out of that time teaching, and this blog is a place for continued, related discussion.
To help you know Mr Wessen better, here’s a brief biography.
Mr Wessen spent 15 years (a mixture of full time and part time) studying at university, earning a Bachelor of Science from Sydney University with First Class Honours and University Medal in Physics, a Doctor of Philosophy in Theoretical Physics from the Australian National University, a Doctor of Philosophy with Distinction in Anatomy and Human Biology from the University of Western Australia, and a Graduate Diploma of Education in Secondary Mathematics from Macquarie University. For his Education study, he was awarded a Mathematical Association of NSW prize, and the Bob Dengate award for his presentation at the MANSW 2015 Annual Conference.
And believe it or not, he wants to study more!
Mr Wessen worked as a Lecturer at the University of Western Australia, teaching courses on computer programming, the theoretical basis of computation, and computer vision. He has done academic research on space plasmas, fusion plasmas, nonlinear dynamics, scientific visualisation, image processing, hydrodynamics and water quality, phylogenetics and population genetics. His research in these last two fields was published as a book by Cambridge University Press in 2005 as “Simulating Human Origins and Evolution”. He remained an Adjunct Lecturer attached to UWA for several years after leaving academia.
Mr Wessen has worked as a professional software developer, and spent many years in quantitative finance, working for major investment banks as a modeller and trader. He has held positions of global leadership in algorithmic trading, and been an invited speaker on automated trading technology at national and international conferences.
Mr Wessen’s hobbies include collecting coins (including a small collection of mathematicians and physicists on bank notes) and collecting old computers (his collection of old Apple computers was presented in a segment of the ABC TV show “The Collectors”). He programs computers for fun, and has a number of open source or free projects online: KRUSADER, an assembler for the Replica 1 — a modern day copy of the Apple 1 (the first personal computer), Gnomon, a multiplatform environment for mathematical calculations, and the simple game Knight Moves on the App Store. Mr Wessen is also a pianist, playing classical and jazz styles, and a juggler who at one time could manage 5 balls, but nowadays struggles to keep so many in the air.
Mr Wessen says:
“The world is a mathematical place, and mathematical skills are important everywhere. If you have good numerical understanding and mathematical skills, you can always make a difference. But the best thing about mathematics is not its application, but its core nature. Mathematics is a beautiful, exciting, creative playground of ideas and connections — like LEGO for your mind. But it is even better, because there are no physical constraints. Where else but in mathematics can you play with infinity? If you focus on this, the beauty and purity that underlies all mathematical thought, you will learn well.”