Robert Anderssen

By February 11th, 2011


Robert Anderssen was born on the Black Friday ‘ Friday the 13th ‘ in 1939 in Brisbane, Queensland and was educated at schools around Queensland, in Tingalpa, Wynnum North, Bundaberg North, Maryborough and Charters Towers.

He obtained a BSc (Hons) in 1960 and an MSc in Mathematics in 1965 both from the University of Queensland, Brisbane and a PhD in Mathematics in 1967 from the University of Adelaide.

Positions held include Lecturer in mathematics at Monash University, Melbourne, Research Fellow, Fellow and Senior Fellow in computational mathematics and modelling at the Australian National University, Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory and Senior Principal Mathematician at CSIRO.

Research interests

Bob Anderssen is a mathematician who specialises in mathematical modelling to solve challenging problems in image recovery and reconstruction, rheology and biology. His work illustrates the breadth of applied mathematics and has been published in research journals on agriculture, cereal science, mathematics, even brewing. As he states:

Being a mathematical modeller in CSIRO is a challenge and a pleasure. There is a never ending list of new applications that yield new perspectives about established mathematics as well as requiring the generation of entirely new structure.

The biggest challenge is the conceptualisation of the essence of the problem to the point where a pattern is exposed which can be modelled mathematically.

Along with various colleagues, he has been investigating more theoretical matters related to:

  • resolution enhancement
  • Couette viscometry
  • joint inversion of spectroscopic data
  • Kullback-Leibler regularization
  • rheological interconversion.

He has used mathematics:

  • to improve the drying process of pasta and reduce wastage
  • to apply his knowledge of vibrating strings to improve our understanding of the sound produced by the Stuart & Sons piano manufactured in Newcastle, New South Wales by Piano Australia
  • to work on the equations that describe wheat-flour dough rheology ‘ the elastic flow and deformation of dough ‘ to improve the efficiency of mixing wheat-flour dough to make bread and to derive molecular information for the more efficient breeding of new varieties of wheat.

Other research interests include:

  • rheological interconversion
  • pattern formation in plants
  • the genetics of geometry
  • gene silencing
  • cotton fibre initiation
  • mathematical modelling of pasta drying to improve the drying process and reduce wastage
  • modelling the way Stuart & Sons piano radiate sound
  • working on the equations that describe dough rheology, basically the ‘stretchiness’ of dough, to improve the efficiency of mixing wheat-flour dough to make bread.

Bob Anderssen is promoting maths to a new generation by contributing to the production of the CSIRO and Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute newsletter, Maths by Email. He advises on maths topics and assists the editors with checking their maths facts.

Honours and awards


Fellow, Australian Mathematical Society


2010 Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the mathematical and information sciences
2010 ANZIAM (Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics) Medal by the Australian Mathematical Society
2008 Honorary Doctor of Science, awarded by La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria
2007 GS Watson Annual Lecturer, Bendigo Campus of La Trobe University, Victoria
2005 Joe Moyal Medal ‘ for distinguished contribution to mathematics
2004 George Szekeres Medal