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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Recent News

Nature Communications on Celebrating National DNA Day: Population Genomics

Phil Wilcox (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Rakaipaaka) features in an article by Nature Communications on Celebrating National DNA Day: Population Genomics. National DNA Day commemorates the discovery of the DNA double helix and the completion of the Human Genome Project. This year, Nature Communications and Communications Biology celebrate National DNA Day by highlighting researchers that have prioritized genomic studies in underrepresented groups.

April 25th marks National DNA Day, a chance to celebrate the initial discovery of the DNA double helix structure in 1953 and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. This year, editors at Nature Communications and Communications Biology wanted to celebrate National DNA Day by highlighting researchers that have emphasized genomic analyses in historically underrepresented populations. Here, we asked researchers about their own achievements, the importance of diversity when pursuing genomic studies, and how to achieve better inclusivity in STEM.

Phil outlines what motivates him in his research, some the issues he has run into, and why appropriate genetic resources and governance are needed to deliver health outcomes for Māori from genomic technologies.

April 2021

Pedro Rossetto wins NZMS Aitken student prize

NZMS Aitken Prize (Student Prize) Pedro Rossetto

The Society offers a prize for the best contributed talk by a student at the annual New Zealand Mathematics Colloquium. This prize is known as the Aitken Prize, in honour of the New Zealand born mathematician Alexander Craig Aitken. The Prize was first offered at the 1995 Colloquium held in conjunction with the Aitken Centenary Conference at the University of Otago. Candidates for the Prize give a talk on a topic in any branch of the mathematical sciences.

The winner in 2020 was Pedro Henrique Barboza Rossetto (University of Otago) for the talk "Chaos in Plane Fronted Gravitational Waves".

The prize consists of a cheque for NZ$500, accompanied by a certificate.

February 2021

Welcome back to Yiming Ma

After an incredibly difficult year abroad and several quarantines, we are delighted Yiming Ma is back in the Department to continue his PhD studies.

Yiming is one of Otago’s international PhD students who have made it to campus following the Government’s October decision to allow 250 international postgraduate students to enter New Zealand.

January 2021

Outstanding Research Group Awarded to the Gravity Research Group

Outstanding Research Group Award

Gravity Research Group

Department of Mathematics and Statistics


Professor Jörg Frauendiener

Dr Florian Beyer

Dr Jörg Hennig

Dr Christopher Stevens

This group is awarded for its outstanding contributions to the understanding and interpretation of solutions of Einstein's equations of General Relativity. Their work has shed important new light on the asymptotic structure of space-times, the structure of the early universe evolving from the Big Bang, and the properties of multi black hole space-times.

In the time-frame under consideration the group has published a total of 19 papers, almost all of them in highly ranked mathematics and physics journals. The focus of the research is on highly accurate numerical and mathematically rigorous analytic methods and the group has a high international prestige in this area. The group is part of a consortium to prepare the science and technology for a planned European Space Agency mission for the first space-based detection and accurate measurement of gravitational waves.

December 2020

Jie Kang wins NZSA Best Student Presentation

Jie Kang has won the NZ Statistics Association Best Student Presentation prize at the recent NZ conference.

Jie was also gifted a prize from Phil, a smoked Sea-Run Brown Trout.

November 2020