In 1999, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics established an annual lecture on the Bendigo campus in memory of Professor Geoffrey S. Watson (1921-1998).

Professor Watson was born in Bendigo in 1921, educated at Bendigo High School and took his first degree at the University of Melbourne. He went on to a distinguished career in the mathematical sciences, holding positions at the University of Melbourne, University of Cambridge, ANU, University of Toronto and Johns Hopkins University. He eventually became Professor and Head of Department of Statistics at Princeton University.

Professor Watson was keen to spread his own enthusiasm for mathematics and especially its applications in science. He once wrote: 'I regard myself as an applied mathematician. I have always spent more time reading science than mathematics.'

Professor Watson had a great impact on various aspects of science as well as economics. His name is perhaps best known for its association with the Durbin-Watson statistic, which is very important in many branches of statistics, especially economics and econometrics.

Throughout his life, Professor Watson regarded his home town with deep affection and, from time to time, visited Bendigo and wrote to the Bendigo Advertiser trying to contact colleagues from school days.

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