The 2023 JH Michell Medal

Citation for Christopher Lustri


The JH Michell Medal, named in honour of John Henry Michell, is awarded annually by ANZIAM to an outstanding new researcher who has undertaken distinguished research in applied and/or industrial mathematics, where a significant proportion of the research has been carried out in Australia and/or New Zealand. There have been 20 winners of the JH Michell Medal, dating back to 1999.

The JH Michell Medal Committee for 2022 recommends that the JH Michell Medal be awarded to Dr Christopher Lustri (Macquarie University).


Chris completed his Bachelor and Masters qualifications at the Queensland University of Technology. He then moved to the UK to complete a PhD at the University of Oxford, before returning to Australia in 2013 to take up a postdoctoral position at the University of Sydney between April 2013 and October 2016. In November 2016, Chris commenced as a lecturer in applied mathematics at Macquarie University where he is now a senior lecturer.

Chris’ research contributions focus on developing the theory of modern asymptotic techniques and applying them to resolve open questions in practical physical problems. He has published in the highest quality applied mathematics journals, including SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Nonlinearity, Physica D, and Proceedings of the Royal Society A. Overall, his publication list includes 25 journal papers with 10 first-author papers.

In his theoretical work, Chris has concentrated on applying asymptotic methods – in particular, exponential asymptotics – to discrete systems. He has resolved several open problems in these areas, and his work was considered sufficiently significant for him to be awarded an ARC Discovery grant in 2018 as the sole investigator, an extremely rare achievement for an early-career mathematician. He has also received research funding through the Defence Innovation Network.

In addition to his mathematical work and collaborations, Chris has been part of inter-disciplinary scientific teams. This includes working with a team of physicists to model the behaviour of atoms in a diamond lattice under laser etching and working with a team of biologists to model self-assembly in army ant populations. His work is therefore not only limited to mathematical questions, it also provides insights into broader scientific studies. Chris’ inter-disciplinary work has been published in Carbon and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, aimed at the wider scientific community.

Chris has a growing international research profile. One of his papers was listed in the IMA retrospective paper “Some highlights from 50 years of the IMA Journal of Applied Mathematics” as a highlighted article. His results are discussed in contemporary textbooks on discrete integrable systems and re-summation techniques, and he was invited to take up a position and organise a workshop at the Newton Institute from January 2021 to June 2021. Chris was also invited to contribute an article on Stokes’ phenomenon for the edition of Transactions of the Royal Society A celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of GG Stokes.

Chris’ contributions to the mathematics community go far beyond his research. He has contributed to outreach efforts and served on the organising committee of the 2019 ANZIAM meeting and as the secretary of the NSW branch of ANZIAM. He has also played a major role in training the next generation of mathematicians through research student supervision, a significant volume of teaching, and curriculum leadership and development at Macquarie University.

Updated: 13 Mar 2023