Welcome Prof Alan Gelfand (William Evans Fellow)
We welcome to Prof Alan Gelfand to the Department. Alan is the J.B. Duke Professor of Statistics at the Department of Statistical Science at Duke University. He is one of the most accomplished and influential contemporary statisticians. He has authored more than 280 scholarly articles and is considered a leading expert in Bayesian computation and spatial statistics. He is a keynote speaker for the SEEM conference in December and during his visit he will give a Statistics seminar and present a two-day short course. Alan is looking forward to discussing statistical research in the Department and across the University.
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.
He Kitenga 2016
The latest He Kitenga, the University's research highlights magazine, has an article about the Otago Relativity Group (Florian Beyer, Joerg Frauendiener and Joerg Hennig) in the light of the recent experimental discovery of gravitational waves.
A paper by Jorg Frauendiener in the 15 January 2017 issue of Physical Review D has been highlighted as an editors' suggested read. The paper discusses how to handle spatial infinity during the evolution of linearized gravitational field from past to future null infinity. Physical Review D is one of the top-ranked journals in particle physics, gravitation and cosmology.
NZMS Research Award
Congratulations to David Bryant for being joint winner of the national NZMS Research Award. David received the award "for work developing mathematical, statistical and computational tools for evolutionary biology, and work drawing on evolutionary biology to develop new theories in mathematics". The annual award was instituted in 1990 to foster mathematical research in New Zealand and to recognise excellence in research carried out by New Zealand mathematicians.
The NZ Maths & Stats Postgraduate conference was held in Queenstown from November 21-23. This year it was organised by students from our Department. It was a hugely enjoyable experience for those involved. Thanks to the contributors for stimulating talks and discussions, and special thanks to the organisers Paula Bran, Chuen Yen Hong, Jerome Cao, Vee Liem Saw and Johannes Mosig. Chuen Yen also won the prize for the best Statistics talk. Photo: Some of the Otago contingent at NZMASP 2016.