Maria was a postgraduate at Churchill in 1976-81, and obtained a PhD and later a ScD for her research.

Although she trained as an astronomer, she switched fields in the mid 1980’s, to work in the areas of image analysis and pattern recognition. Within these new areas she was not only regarded as having made an outstanding scientific contribution but also to have provided both outstanding leadership to the community and an exceptional role model for women scientists and engineers.

Sadly she passed away in 2012, after fighting cancer for some six months. During her life she was closely associated with the International Association for Pattern Recognition. The association has recently honoured Maria’s life and legacy with a prize, the statutes of which are as follows:

  • The Maria Petrou Prize is to be awarded biennially to a living female scientist/engineer who has made substantial contributions to the field of Pattern Recognition, and whose past contributions, current research activity and future potential may be regarded as a model to both aspiring and established researchers. This Prize honours   the memory of Professor  Maria Petrou  as a scientist and engineer of the first rank,  and particularly in her role as a pioneer for women researchers  and  highly successful role model. She is widely recognized for her  extensive contributions to the field of image processing and pattern recognition. She  also  made  significant contributions to the growth of IAPR, covering significant leadership roles. The Prize consists of a suitably inscribed plaque and a cash amount partially covering a visiting period of  the winner at  some research institution or university. 
  • The Prize recipient shall be selected by the Maria Petrou Prize Committee, subject to approval by the IAPR Governing Board, upon nomination by an IAPR fellow or by a member of a member society of IAPR and by endorsement of at least two other members, out of which at least one is a woman. Nominations will be considered only for the Prize of the year for which they are submitted.

Maria has also been honoured in a special edition of the journal “Pattern Recognition Letters”, celebrating Maria’s life and work, edited by Josef Kittler(P69) and Edwin Hancock.

Journal: Celebrating the life and work of Maria Petrou

Obituary: Maria Petrou

Photo Credit © s58y