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Postgraduate Study in Mathematics

Smith-Knight & Rayleigh-Knight Prizes 2021

One or more Smith-Knight Prizes, and one or more Rayleigh-Knight Prizes for essays on any subject in Mathematics and its applications, are offered for competition in 2020. The Prizes are open to:

(a)     any member of the University, if at the latest date for the submission of essays at least three but not more than five, complete terms have passed since the term of his or her admission as a Graduate Student; or

(b)    any Bachelor of Arts of the University who is not a Graduate Student of the University if, at the latest date for the submission of essays, at least three, but not more than five complete terms have passed since he or she last obtained Honours Examination or was approved for the M.Phil. Degree or for a Diploma.

The purpose of the Prize competition is to encourage beginning researchers in mathematics in their conduct and write-up of new and original work. The essay must include an abstract of no more than 300 words, and within the abstract and introductory text there should be a description of the content of the essay in nontechnical terms. In these parts, the essay will differ from a typical journal paper by being informative and attractive to mathematicians who are not themselves specialists in the essay's field. Candidates who are Graduate Students should include an introductory page, giving the name of the supervisor and stating in detail which parts of the essay contain review material and which parts constitute original research, as well as stating explicitly the extent to which different parts of the work have been done either solely or in collaboration. This statement should be endorsed by the supervisor.

Candidates must submit their essays (two copies) not later than the first day of the full Lent Term, i.e. Tuesday 19 January 2021 to:

Secretary of the Faculty Board of Mathematics
c/o Postgraduate Office (C0.15)
Centre for Mathematical Sciences
Wilberforce Road
Cambridge CB3 0WB

All submissions will be assessed by a panel of eight Professors from the Faculty of Mathematics, and will be graded according to the following criteria:
•    Grade 1 indicates an outstanding essay that contains striking research results that are sufficient for one or more high quality publications or a Ph.D. thesis and which represent a significant contribution to the underlying subject area.
•    Grade 2 indicates a very good essay that contains original results that are sufficient for a publication of high quality. In exceptional circumstances, which should be described in the report, this grade can be given for outstanding but not yet completed research that should eventually lead to significant published work.
•    Grade 3 indicates an essay that contains original research results that are publishable in a journal of good quality. It should constitute substantial progress toward a good Ph.D. thesis. In exceptional circumstances this grade can be given for an outstanding critical review.
•    Grade 4 indicates an essay that contains some originality, shows a good grasp of the subject and is likely to lead to publishable results. Alternatively, this grade can be given for a high quality review.
•    Grade 5 indicates an essay that shows some successful progress in research or which contains useful review material.

The announcement of the award will be made before the end of the Easter Term 2021.

Enquiries may be directed to