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John Butcher wins the Van Wijngaarden Prize in 2011

John Butcher is the recipient of the Van Wijngaarden Prize in 2011. This prize is awarded every five years by the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica to two eminent scientists, one each in mathematics and computer science, engaging in a field of research related to CWI. The prize was established in 2006 in connection with the 60th anniversary of the founding of CWI and is named in honor of the late Adriaan van Wijngaarden, a pioneer in numerical analysis and computer science in the Netherlands and long time director of CWI.

Photos from Emeritus Prof. Gordon Hookings' 90th Birthday- Friday 22 October

Double Marsden funding success for the Department

Rod Gover's project "The conformal geometry of submanifolds and natural PDE" and the joint project by Jianbei An, Marston Conder and Eamonn O'Brien "Symmetry and group structure" will both be funded by the Royal Society of NZ, for a 3-years period.

Prize for best Forestry paper

Alastair McNaughton (together with David Ryan) won the Institute for Operations Research and the Management of Science 2010 best publication award in Forestry for their paper "Adjacency Branches Used To Optimize Forest Harvesting Subject to Area Restrictions on Clearfell" that appeared in volume 54 of Forest Science.

Funding successes

Maxine Pfannkuch, Mike Meylan and Shixiao Wang were all successful in their FRDF applications. Arkadii Slinko was also successful with an ISAT application, besides the Faculty Research development Fund. James Sneyd was successful in his bid for a NHS grant.

SIAM Fellowship for John Butcher

John Butcher has been selected as a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). A highly prestigious award, the SIAM fellowship honours SIAM members who are recognized by their peers as distinguished for their contributions to the discipline.

Professorial promotion

Mathematics Education Unit's Dr (A/Prof) Mike Thomas was promoted to a UoA Professorship (30 May). Congratulations Professor Thomas!

Teaching excellence prize for Dr Philip Sharp

Dr Philip Sharp has been awarded the annual Dean’s Teaching Award, for Sustained Excellence in Teaching

In memoriam: Peter James Lorimer (16.04.1939 - 7.02.2010)

Centre for Mathematical Social Science

The Department of Mathematics is pleased to announce the establishment of a Centre for Mathematical Social Science (CMSS) and the appointment of its inaugural Director, Associate Professor Arkadii Slinko.

The CMSS will provide a focus for academic exchanges between social scientists working with mathematical or computational methodologies, and researchers from pure and applied mathematical disciplines who are investigating problems with relevance to social science. It will also facilitate cross-disciplinary supervision of research students and the teaching of inter-disciplinary courses. Students of mathematical or computational disciplines will discover new areas of application; and social scientists can learn about mathematical techniques that may be useful to their own research.

Since 2005, a group from the Departments of Mathematics, Economics, Computer Science, Statistics, and Engineering Science has run a lively seminar series on mathematical social science, hosted a range of distinguished academic visitors and co-organised several Workshops. Establishment of the CMSS recognises the growing contribution of this group to the intellectual life of the University. More importantly, we intend that the Centre will contribute to the development of the group’s inter-disciplinary research agenda and expand the scope of its activities, especially in the area of inter-disciplinary teaching. Faculty from the Departments of Philosophy and Finance are also amongst the founding members of the Centre, and we encourage even broader participation.

If you would like to be added to the Centre’s email list, please contact Associate Professor Slinko (

The CMSS website (address below) contains further information about the Centre and its activities. There is also the facility to sign up for an RSS feed.

I look forward to seeing you at the next CMSS event.

Professor James Sneyd HOD, Mathematics

Photos from Christmas at the Zoo- Tuesday 15 Dec

Funding Success for Maths Education Project

Principal Investigators Hannah Bartholomew, Bill Barton, Barbara Kensington-Miller (CAD) and Mike Thomas won $200,000.00 funding for their Mathematics Undergraduate Teaching: Perspectives and Interactions project.

Nine projects received funding in the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative’s 2009 round. Fifty-six first round applications were shortlisted to 22 of which nine were funded. The New Zealand Council for Educational Research co-ordinates the fund and its associated research programme.

The project aims to address multiple aspects of undergraduate mathematics lecturing to develop a framework that can be used in tertiary mathematics lectures and as a professional development strategy tool. The research will examine lecturers and their development, interactions in the lecturing environment, and student approaches to lectures.

The project is led by Associate Professor Mike Thomas and in partnership with the University of Auckland Mathematics Department, Faculty of Education and Centre for Academic Development.

Margaret Woolgrove Wins Excellence Award

Margaret Woolgrove won a General Staff Excellence Award at the University of Auckland for her work on the NZIMA's "Mathsreach" resource. Margaret shares the award with Neil Morrison and Robert Carter from the University's Centre for Academic Development and Science IT. The pair handled much of the video production and technical aspects of the web resource, while Margaret project-managed the whole thing.

Astronomy workshop for Ramarama Primary

Year 5 and 6 school pupils experienced a little of University life when Dr Philip Sharp enthused 60 students from Ramarama Primary School with his Astronomy workshop. The two hour lesson combined group activities and plenty of time for questions from the young enquiring minds. "The talks and activities were pitched at exactly the right level and the children have been bursting with intellectual excitement ever since. On an educational and on a human level this was an outstanding experience," says Ramarama School Deputy Principal Robin Hall. Nov 18

CULMS inauguration

The Community for Undergraduate Learning in the Mathematical Sciences (CULMS) celebrated its inauguration today. The Mathematics Education Unit initiative is supported by a grant from the V.C.'s Strategic Fund and will operate out of room 303.326. Nov 13

Chris King's retirement

Senior lecturer Chris King celebrated retirement after 40 years of teaching in the Department. Nov 12

RSNZ fellowship for Eamonn O'Brien

Leading international algebraist Professor Eamonn O'Brien has been elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (FRSNZ). "It's one of the highest accolades in New Zealand Science or Mathematics," says HOD James Sneyd. Eamonn’s focus is computational algebra and group theory and he joins 337 other Fellows in the Society which has operated since 1867. Nov 11

Nature research paper

Research Fellow Steffen Klaere co-authors a Nature article. He may be the first Math Department member to be published in Nature, says AP David Bryant. Central control of fever and female body temperature by the osteoclast differentiation factors RANKL/RANK Authors: Reiko Hanada, Andreas Leibbrandt, Toshi Hanada, Vukoslav Komnenovic, Steffen Klaere, Arndt von Haeseler, Hiromitsu Mimata, Hironobu Yoshimatsu, Naoyuki Takahashi, Shu Narumiya, Sara Kilic, Christian Pifl, John Trichereau, Magdalena Paolino, Michael Bader, Fatimunnisa Qadri, Ralph Plehm, Josef Penninger, to appear in Nature, 26 November 2009

Royal Society of New Zealand fellowship

Professor Eamonn O'Brien has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Marsden success

Dr Tom ter Elst has been awarded a 3-years RSNZ Marsden grant for research on Degenerate Operators. Oct 7

Heiko Dietrich

  • Heiko recently completed a PhD in Group Theory at the University of Braunschweig under the supervision of

Professor Bettina Eick. He takes up a two year FDRF funded Post-doctoral Fellowship awarded to Jianbei An and Eamonn O'Brien.

New Researchers Join Department

  • Montana University PhD Kate Patterson joins James Sneyd's saliva secretion modelling group. Kate recently acquired her PhD on constructing a mathematical model of the lac operon and will spend the next three years working with James.
  • Colm Fitzgerald studied in Cork and received his PhD from Loughborough University. He joins Mike Meylan's research on water waves, specifically wave scattering by ice in the marginal ice zone.
Welcome to both!

Rod Gover's inaugural lecture

Geometry and the Shape of the Future

Newly promoted Professor Rod Gover will present his inaugural lecture on Thursday 13 August.

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

Steven Galbraith

Dr Steven Galbraith joins the Department as Senior Lecturer and member of the Algebra, Number Theory and Combinatorics research group. Steven's career started with a Waikato University degree in Mathematics. He then went on to achieve an Oxford DPhil and a Professorship at the Royal Holloway University London. Steven’s main research interests are in number theory and particularly the mathematical aspects of public key cryptography.

Faculty Research Development Grants

Drs Sina Greenwood and Jari Kaipio, Prof Eamonn O'Brien and Dr Arkadii Slinko have been successfull in the current FRDF round.

Professor Bill Barton

Congratulations to Bill Barton, who has just been promoted (19.06.2009) by the University to the rank of Professor! Well done Bill - and very well deserved!

Vice Chancellors' visit to the Department

Professor Stuart McCutcheon, Vice Chancellor of the University of Auckland visited the Department on 28 April. He met with the main research groups and teaching teams. We saw this visit as an opportunity to show our solidarity and take it to a new dimension

New Head of Department and Department Manager

  • Prof James Sneyd is the new Mathematics HoD. Best of luck, James, for the challenges ahead of you!
  • The 2005-2009 Head, A/Prof Bill Barton will resume his functions as Head of the Mathematics Education Unit and vice-president of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI). Thank you, Bill, for all your contributions towards the development of the department.
  • Karren Maltseva is the new Department Manager. Welcome Karren!

Staff information

  • Jeanette Saunders is the new Teaching Fellow for 2009. Jeanette comes to us from HOD Mathematics at St Cuthberts, and has a long association with mathematics education and teacher development.
  • Dr Alex Morenko, a tutor with the department, has been appointed as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Science at Curtin, University in Malaysia.
  • Dr Malte Peter, a research fellow with the Applied mathematics Unit, has been appointed to a tenure-track professorship in the Institute of Mathematics at the University of Augsburg in Germany. This position is also associated with the new Augsburg Centre for Innovative Technologies
  • Friday 12th December: Promotions 2008 Arkadii Slinko has been promoted to Associate Professor. Vivien Kirk has been promoted over the SL bar with an extra jump. Shayne Waldron and Mike Meylan have been promoted over the SL bar, Helen McKenzie has also been promoted over the bar in the ST scale.

Follow the links below for past years Staff news

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