Charles E. M. Pearce

Charles E. M. Pearce
Charles E. M. Pearce

Charles Pearce in 2001. (Photo: Andrew G. Allison)
Born 29 March 1940 (1940-03-29) (age 71)
Wellington, New Zealand
Residence Australia
Nationality Australian-New Zealand
Fields Mathematician
Institutions The University of Adelaide
Alma mater Victoria University of Wellington
University of New Zealand
Australian National University
Doctoral advisor Patrick Moran
Doctoral students Andrew Eberhard
William Henderson
Mark D. McDonnell
Peter Gerrard Taylor
Known for Probabilistic modeling
Notable awards ANZIAM Medal (2001)

Charles Edward Miller Pearce (29 March 1940, Wellington) is a New Zealand/Australian mathematician. He is currently the Elder Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Adelaide.



He earned his Bachelor of Science (a double major in Applied and Pure Mathematics and a further double major in Physics and Mathematical Physics) and in 1962 he earned a Masters of Science with first class honours in Mathematics, all from Victoria University of Wellington. The Bachelor's degree was from the University of New Zealand, as the constituent colleges of UNZ, of which Victoria University College was one of four, had proliferated into four autonomous Universities by the time Pearce completed his Masters degree.

New Zealand origins

His early schooling was in Wellington and he was dux of Hutt Valley High School in 1957.

Pearce throughout his career wore his New Zealand origins with pride. Being descended from Maori people, he could claim his New Zealand ancestry was longer than almost all his peers from New Zealand, although he has not lived there since 1962.

He is descended from Alexander Gray, one of just five Scots who settled in New Zealand as part of the original and largely unsuccessful New Zealand Company settlement of 1826. The marriage in 1830 of his full Maori ancestor Hinerangi to Alexander is the first entry in the marriage register in Paihia in the Bay of Islands. His long history of New Zealand connections (some 22 generations, no less) has led to his having a life-long passion for Maoritanga. He claims with great pride his connection back to three waka (canoes) in the heke (migration): Aotea, Kurahaupo and Takatimu. His principal tribal connection is with the Ngati Ruanui, which is a tribe based in the southern Taranaki.

Life and career

In 1963 Pearce left New Zealand for doctoral study at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, under the supervision of Pat Moran. Thereafter followed short stints (1 to 3 years) as Lecturer in ANU; University of Queensland (visiting Professor); Université de Rennes 1, France; and University of Sheffield (1966 –68). He was appointed to the University of Adelaide in 1968 and has remained there for the ensuing years having been appointed Reader in 1982. He is a leading figure in the Department of Applied Mathematics there, being appointed in 2005 to the chair of Applied Mathematics. While at ANU, he met and married Frances (née O'Connor), and they have brought up their family in Adelaide.

Mathematical Work

He is known for probabilistic and statistical modelling. Pearce has published prolifically in the area of probabilistic and statistical modelling and analysis, with strong contributions being made in both theory and practice. His book (with Dragomir) addresses the fine points of the Hermite–Hadamard inequality and is published by Kluwer Academic Press. His applied interests include queuing theory, road traffic, telecommunications, and urban planning. With former student Bill Henderson, who followed him from Sheffield to Adelaide, he helped establish the successful Teletraffic Centre in the University of Adelaide. Publications are numerous and include a book (with S.S. Dragomir), 23 book chapters, and well over 200 research articles.

With the formation of the Division of Applied Mathematics of the Australian Mathematical society, Pearce soon emerged as a key figure. The most enduring significant role is as Chief Editor of their Applied Mathematics Journal, now called The ANZIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics. The formation of ANZIAM in 1993 was close to Pearce's heart, as it encapsulated the union he espoused of joint activity in Applied Mathematics involving both Australia and New Zealand. He has been a strong worker for ANZIAM and it was fitting that this, along with his outstanding research work, was recognised by the award of the ANZIAM Medal in 2001.

Pearce was elected as a Fellow of the New Zealand Mathematical Society.

Books by Pearce


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