Greenisland lecturer honoured for outstanding contribution to maths

Dr Mark McCartney with his wife Karen and younger son Peter after receiving the Maths Week Ireland 2019 award for Raising Public Awareness of Maths.
Dr Mark McCartney with his wife Karen and younger son Peter after receiving the Maths Week Ireland 2019 award for Raising Public Awareness of Maths.

A Greenisland man is this year’s recipient of Maths Week Ireland’s award for ‘Raising Public Awareness of Maths’.

Dr Mark McCartney, a senior lecturer at Ulster University, is the first person from Northern Ireland to be presented with the honour.

An author and editor of five books on the history of mathematics and natural philosophy, the accolade recognises Dr McCartney’s outstanding work within maths education in schools, colleges and university as well as his portfolio of research on nonlinear dynamics and his published works.

His co-authored books have focussed on eminent mathematicians from Ireland, including Belfast’s Lord Kelvin and George Gabriel Stokes whose innovations and contributions to the world of mathematics and physics are part of a significant body of work stretching from Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking.

Mark McCartney’s latest book, ‘George Gabriel Stokes: Life, Science and Faith’, celebrates the bicentennial of the Sligo-born mathematical physicist and covers the many facets of Stokes’ life through a collection of essays which Mark co-edited with Andrew Whittaker and Alastair Wood.

Eoin Gill, co-founder of Maths Week Ireland, said: ”The Maths Week Ireland team are thrilled to present Mark with the 2019 trophy for his work in schools, his involvement in Maths Week from an early stage and in particular for his promotion of the history of mathematics which has led to a body of important work on mathematicians with Irish connections.”

Dr McCartney is originally from Lisburn and attended Lisnargavey High School and Friends School Lisburn before graduating in Applied Mathematics at Queen’s University Belfast. He went on to complete a PhD in Theoretical Physics at QUB in 1993 and took up a lecturing post at Abertay University in Dundee.

After a four- year stint in Scotland, he returned home to join the School of Business and Management at Ulster University as a researcher in mathematical modelling, before taking up a maths lecturer post. Currently senior lecturer in Mathematics at Jordanstown, Mark is also the 2018 - 2020 president of the British Society for the History of Mathematics.

Dr McCartney, who was accompanied at the awards ceremony by his wife Karen, their son Peter (15) and university colleagues, said: “It’s such an honour to be given this award and I’m truly grateful to everyone at Maths Week Ireland. They have done so much to bring maths to the forefront in everyday life and highlight its importance and contribution to the world - past, present and future.

“It was wonderful to be joined by my wife Karen and son Peter. Our elder son Cameron is studying at university in Scotland and unfortunately couldn’t be there, but I know he is equally as proud. I’m hugely proud to be associated with Maths Week Ireland. The impact of Maths Week Ireland quite literally extends across the island of Ireland, north to south and east to west and highlights that maths is for everyone and not just academics.”

Maths Week Ireland is the biggest celebration of mathematics of its kind with schools, colleges, universities, shopping centres taking part in events to promote the benefits of maths to pupils and the wider community. It is supported locally by the Department for the Economy and takes place 12-20 October. For more information visit www.mathsweek.ie