John Holmes, exceptional PhD thesis
Congratulations to John for having his PhD thesis added to the Division of Sciences’ List of Exceptional Doctoral Theses.
John's work involved assessing the accuracy of animal comparisons (that are required for selective mating practices) when genomic data is incorporated.
Insight on infinity
The work of Joerg Frauendiener and Joerg Hennig has been given a special feature in CQG+, the companion blog to Classical and Quantum Gravity, the world's leading gravitational physics journal. The Joergs have implemented a fully pseudospectral scheme in space and time that allows them to numerically resolve solutions of a set of gravitational wave equations out to infinity.
Welcome to Dominic Searles
We are delighted Dominic Searles has joined us as a Lecturer in Mathematics. Dominic studied mathematics at the University of Auckland and then completed his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015. Afterwards, he was a postdoc at the University of Southern California. He and his family have now decided to come back to New Zealand and have swapped the Californian sun for the more moderate Dunedin climate. Dominic's research is in algebraic combinatorics with a focus on Schubert calculus. A warm welcome to you, Dominic.
Matthew Schofield received the Littlejohn research award at the 2017 New Zealand Statistics Association conference. The Littlejohn award recognizes excellence in research, based on publications during the five calendar years.
Congratulations to Timothy Bilton who was recently judged joint winner of the student prize for his talk at the 2017 New Zealand Statistics Association conference. This follows from Timothy winning the prize for best student talk at the MapNet2017 conference earlier in the year. Congratulations Timothy!
Congratulations to Heloise Pavanato who was judged as a runner-up in the student prize at the SEEM2017 conference. Congratulations Heloise.
Wanted: maths graduates
Mathematics in Industry
Graduate and undergraduate students in mathematics might find the article What Characteristics Make Mathematicians Suited for Industry useful. While the context is American, many of the observations apply for students working within NZ, where the adjustment is perhaps even more difficult.
Karl Schwarzschild Prize
Vee Liem Saw has been awarded the Karl Schwarzschild Prize for the best overall contributed talk at the 3rd Karl Schwarzschild Meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. This is a remarkable achievement for a PhD student. Vee Liem spoke about mass loss due to gravitational waves in the presence of a positive cosmological constant.
The Department is deeply saddened to report the recent death on July 15 of Associate Professor John Clark. John was a long serving member of the Department having been appointed in 1970 and having retired in 2013.
Maryam Mirzakhani, Fields medalist, dies at 40
Maryam Mirzakhani, the world’s first woman to win the Fields Medal, passed away on July 15 after a four-year battle with breast cancer. She was only 40. See here or here for information about her life and work.
Image credit:By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54562016
Early Career Research Awards
Welcome to Melissa Tacy
We are thrilled to welcome Melissa Tacy to the Department as a Lecturer in Mathematics. Melissa's research lies within the intersection of microlocal analysis, semiclassical analysis and harmonic analysis, and is particularly focused on quantum chaos. Most recently, Melissa was at the Mathematical Sciences Institute at the Australian National University.
Congratulations to Lenette Grant on her retirement. Lenette first started working for the University in 1964! She will be sorely missed by us all. http://www.otago.ac.nz/otagobulletin/people/otago655054.html
The Department is saddened to note the passing of Desmond Sawyer, a former Chair of the Department, on 29 April.
Desmond served Otago well over three periods. He first arrived in Dunedin in 1948, after graduating MA from Cambridge in 1947 and winning the very prestigious Adams Prize the same year. As lecturer he joined three other members of staff in running a large number of courses with an obvious heavy teaching load and little time for research.
In 1952 he moved to University College of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) for two years of very productive research in convexity and the geometry of numbers, before coming back to Otago, gaining a Readership and shortly after the Chair of the Department at the age of 33.
After increasing involvement in administrative matters, Desmond resigned in 1964 to move to the new University of Waikato as Professor of Mathematics and Assistant Vice-Chancellor.
Finally Desmond returned to Dunedin in 1970, now as Professor of Pure Mathematics and Chair of the Department. He oversaw a rapid expansion of both student and staff numbers, and successfully met the challenges that this entailed while still maintaining a full teaching load.
Desmond retired in 1984.
National maths competition a family affair
A story on the bulletin board outlines the good work of Warren and Chris Palmer putting together the Junior Maths Competition.