Dr Vanessa Robins

Dr Vanessa Robins
Department of Applied Mathematics
Department of Theoretical Physics
Office phone
Cockcroft 4 64

Research interests

My main research interest is in computational topology and geometry. I work on the underlying mathematics, algorithms, and applications to scientific problems. 


A link to diamorse: a code package for topological data analysis of digital images.  Diamorse will compute a discrete Morse vector field, topologically dual skeletons and partitions, and persistent homology from 2D and 3D greyscale image data. 

Take a look at EPINET: a web database of periodic network structures. 

The hyperbolic crystallography of the cubic genus-3 triply periodic minimal periodic surfaces is here

My PhD thesis (2000) explored the mathematical foundations for computing topological information from data. 

I'm an editor for the Journal of Applied and Computational Topology.


I'm actively seeking outstanding Honours, Masters and PhD students to conduct projects in applied geometry and topology.  See the Available projects tab and contact me for further details.   

I supervise a few undergraduate research projects each year.  Recent examples include "Investigating the relationship between curvature and deflection of thin sheets", "Symmetries of graphs on surfaces", "Polyhedral models of periodic minimal surfaces" with advanced studies students from Physics, Mathematics, and Engineering.

My past lecturing at ANU has included the Linear Algebra half of MATH1115, the basics of crystallography and thermal properties of lattices for PHYS3032 and a reading course on Applied Topology for MATH4349.  

Grants and awards

ARC Future Fellow 2014-2019  Topological data analysis for enhanced modelling of the physical properties of complex micro-structured materials. 


I've worked with five artists in residence from the ANU School of Art under the ANU Vice-Chancellor's College Artist Fellowship scheme: Erica SeccombeJulie BrookeAl Munroe, Susan Buret, Alex Gillespie. 

Erica and I published an essay "3D X-ray art" about the techniques used in her work in the Australian Physics magazine, Jan 2015. 


BSc (Hons I and University Medal) in Mathematics, ANU (1994)

MSc, PhD in Applied Mathematics, University of Colorado, Boulder (2000)

When dialing an ANU extension from outside the university:
  • (02) 612 XXXXX (within Australia)
  • +61 2 612 XXXXX (outside Australia)
Where XXXXX is the 5 digit extension number you are after.
Anti-Spam notice: The email addresses from this directory are made available to support the academic and business activities of ANU. These email addresses are not published as an invitation to receive unsolicited commercial messages or 'spam' and we do not consent to receipt of such materials. Any messages that are received which contravenes this policy is strictly prohibited, and is also a breach of the Spam Act 2003. The University reserves the right to recover all costs incurred in the event of breach of this policy.

Updated:  15 January 2019/ Responsible Officer:  Head of Department/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster