Te Tari Pāngarau me te Tatauranga
Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Recent News

Johannes Mosig, exceptional PhD thesis

Congratulations to Johannes is also called for. His PhD thesis "Contemporary wave–ice interaction models" is one of this year's Division of Sciences Exceptional Doctoral Theses.

The motivation for studying wave-ice interaction is that it plays a role in understanding climate change, and it is vital to wave forecasting models that have to be accurate to ensure the safety of e.g. research expeditions, coastal communities.

April 2018

John Holmes, exceptional PhD thesis

Congratulations to John for having his PhD thesis "Modelling strategies to improve genetic evaluation for the New Zealand sheep industry" 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.

March 2018

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.

March 2018

Littlejohn award

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.

December 2017

Student award

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!

December 2017

Student award

Congratulations to Heloise Pavanato who was judged as a runner-up in the student prize at the SEEM2017 conference. Congratulations Heloise.

December 2017

Networking at the World Statistics Conference

Matt Parry and John Harraway recently represented the Department at the ISI World Statistics Conference in Marrakech, Morocco. Matt organized and spoke at a session on applications of scoring rules and chaired a session on 'Models and Visualization for Exploratory Analysis of Big Data'. John chaired a number of meetings related to the International Statistical Literacy Project.

July 2017

John Clark

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.

Read more

July 2017

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,

July 2017

Early Career Research Awards

The outstanding work of Ting Wang and Tilman Davies has seen them both receive Early Career Research awards from the University of Otago. Congratulations to both!

July 2017

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.

July 2017

Lenette's retirement

Congratulations to Lenette Grant on her retirement. Lenette first started working for the University in 1964! She will be sorely missed by us all.

June 2017

Top referee

Boris Baeumer has received a citation for Excellence in Refereeing by Water Resources Research, the top journal in hydrology.

June 2017

Desmond Sawyer

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.

May 2017

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.

May 2017