Neville de Mestre visits Black Douglas

What will you do on your 66th birthday? Well if you are Emeritus Professor Neville de Mestre, creator of the Task Centre concept, you:
  • fly from the Gold Coast to Melbourne in the morning
  • give a lunchtime lecture on the Mathematics of Body Surfing at Melbourne University
  • take a train out to the Task Centre headquarters in Mooroolbark to update yourself with the latest developments
  • get a lift back to Melbourne for dinner with University colleagues.
Neville and Ina
Neville de Mestre and Ina Koetsier (Distribution Manager) exploring
rows of tasks waiting to be placed in schools.

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With energy levels like that it is no wonder Neville is also the current (2004) World Iron Man Champion in the 60-64 year old class (a title he has held since 2000) and current holder of the Australian title (an honour he has achieved 5 times). Your students might find it interesting to know more about the life of the Professor/Surfer who began, in 1976/7, the Task Centre work from which they now benefit. For our part we were delighted to welcome Neville to the Distribution Centre.

We would have preferred to spend two days with him rather than two hours, none-the-less it was a useful time for all of us. Thirty years on, Neville's passion for learning mathematics through hands-on problem solving is undiminished.

Neville at work
Neville exploring Task 55, Fold Up Houses.
I like this one - 2d/3d geometry, number and algebra in the same task.
Even his university mathematics courses include a hands-on problem solving component, and students flock to learn from him in this way.

One reason Neville visited us was that he is off to Bremen, Germany, in September to spend a week exploring the Task Centre concept with German educators. Of course this is the week after he defends his Iron Man title in the surf off the coast of Italy. We wished him well in both adventures and loaded him up with a pile of tasks for Germany ... and a packet of Nutri Grain for Italy.

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