Geometry and the Shape of the Future/Media release

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Faculty of Science
The University of Auckland
4 August 2009
Media release

Rod Gover has been appointed Professor of Mathematics at The University of Auckland and will present his inaugural lecture on Thursday 13 August.

Professor Gover, a Rhodes Scholar who gained his Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University, will talk about "Geometry and the shape of the future". His lecture, which is intended for a general audience, will give insight into the role that geometry has to play in understanding "life, the universe and everything".

"Although most people are familiar with geometry as the study of angles and shapes, they may not know how geometry is used by mathematicians and other scientists in their research," says Professor Gover.

"Geometry is a way to simplify problems that appear to be very complex. Biology, physics, and many of the natural systems around us are controlled by equations that use geometric ideas."

"Einstein's theory of relativity, for instance, explains the universe as a geometric structure. There also are strong geometric components to many of the attempts to create a Grand Unified Theory - the 'Holy Grail' of physics that seeks to obtain all the equations and laws governing to universe from a single principle or theory."

Professor Gover specialises in conformal geometry - the study of mind-bending spaces where angles make sense, but not lengths. In this geometry, traditional shapes are replaced with much more elastic concepts. Remarkably, many natural systems are explained most efficiently using these ideas.

His lecture is the first of The University of Auckland's 2009 Inaugural Lectures for new professors. A summary of his talk and details of other lectures in the series can be found at:

The lecture will be held in Lecture Theatre 1.439, School of Engineering, 20 Symonds Street, from 7-8pm on Thursday 13 August, with refreshments in the foyer from 6pm. It is open to the public and anyone is welcome to attend.


Pauline Curtis, Communications Adviser

Ph: 09 373 7599 ext 83258 or 021 97 00 89


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