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Department of Statistics

Statistics master's student awarded the S2A3 Bronze Medal

By Inger Fabris-Rotelli

Posted on 17 February 2012

Prof Andriette Bekker and Theodore Loots
Prof Andriette Bekker and Theodore Loots

Theodore Loots was awarded the S2A3 Bronze Medal on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 for his work done in his MSc in Mathematical Statistics.

The South African Society for the Advancement of Science (S2A3) awards a Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal each year. The Gold Medal award recognises the exceptional contribution to the advancement of science on a broad front or in a specialised field, by an eminent South African scientist. The Silver Medal is awarded to a person under the age of 40 who is actively engaged in research and has, by way of international participation and publications, shown outstanding capability and achievement. It is one of the highest awards granted for original scientific research in South Africa. The Bronze Medal serves to commend and encourage local science students at master's level.

Theodore Loots was awarded with the Bronze Medal and a certificate on Tuesday, 14 February 2012. Prof S Burton, Prof A Strӧh, Dr W Meyer and Prof A Bekker spoke at the presentation and Theodore gave an acceptance speech as well.

"On October 16th, 1843, while walking with his wife past the Broome Bridge (Dublin), Hamilton made a breakthrough in his quest for extending complex numbers with the concept of a system that contained one real and three imaginary parts. Hamilton's excitement at the discovery prompted him to carve the critical equation into a nearby bridge as insurance against the possibility that he might die before he told someone else of his breakthrough. A plaque is now located at Broome Bridge in Dublin to commemorate the event."

These words motivated Theodor to tackle the research. In his dissertation the work of the main contributors to the quaternion distribution theory, utilising the representation theory, was contrasted and presented as a whole; for the first time, the matrix-variate quaternion normal and quaternion Wishart distributions were derived from first principles, i.e. from their real counterparts, exposing the relations between their respective density and characteristic functions; and the role of the quaternion normal distribution in applications was illustrated.

In August 2011, Theodor was fortunate enough to complete the circle and to present his work at the International Statistical Meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

Congratulations Theodor for being the winner of the S2A3 Bronze Medal for original research at master's level. The Department of Statistics is incredibly proud of you. 

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