November 2020

15th Australasian Conference on Mathematics and Computers in Sport

This years Mathsport conference was converted to a Zoom conference following the events of 2020 closing NZ boarders. The conference explores mathematics, statistics, and data science for sports scientists, coaches and athletes. One of our current students, Harini Dissanayake, presented on Latent Drivers of Player Retention in Junior Rugby.

Recordings of the conference are available for online viewing using the following links and passwords:

Mathsport 2020 Day 1

Passcode: #AW32btP

Mathsport 2020 Day 2

Passcode: h8*I?0=W
Mathsport 2020 Day 3

Passcode: u75C4%b#

Pre-recorded talks:

A schedule of talks is available on the event page.

Nelson Matroids & Tangles Workshop

Earlier in November, a group of VUW and UC staff organised a work shop to bring together staff and graduate students to work on open research problems in discrete mathematics. A number of students and staff attended the Nelson Workshop on Matroids and Tangles, along with staff and students from Canterbury University. There were six different questions covered, with topics ranging from classes of matroids that can be described using certain types of logic, matroid classes that contain their own duals, defining phylogenetic trees using lists of characters, bi-transversal matroids, graph operations which maintain the connectivity of all subsets, and domains in which tangles can be efficiently described. All groups made some good progress with their topics, as well as coming up against a lot of frustration.
Both Jasmine and Michal commented on the beautiful location. There were also plenty of comments appreciating the opportunity to get to know colleagues in the field.

Thanks Geoff, Jasmine and Susan for organising this retreat!


This year the NZMASP was held as a remote conference on the 26th and 27th November. We had fours students attending from SMS - Jordan Barrett, Amber Bohanna, Erandi Hasanthika and Rafael Pereira Lima. Jordan commented that there were lots of interesting short talks - mainly in applied mathematics. Beyond that, there were interesting plenary talks from mark Colyvan and Tanya Evans and some social activities including online games and a quiz night. Unfortunately, none of the speakers from SMS received a prize - but we look forward to giving it another go next year.

2020 PGSA Victorias Award for Research Excellence

This year Alex Simpson has won the PGSA Research Excellence Award for the Faculty of Science. Alex is working with Matt Visser on Black Hole Variants in General Relativity. The award ceremony took place on the 12th November in Hunter Lounge.

Congratulations Alex! The School looks forward to seeing your future research.

Scholarship Study Days 2020

This year, SMS hosted the Scholarship Revision Days on Zoom. The change over to a remote format meant that we had to delay the sessions to November rather than the usual October time slot. The upside of running the session this way was the increased reach we had. Students attended from around the country and were much more comfortable presenting infront of groups via zoom. Next year we are hoping to run the sessions during our original October timeslot but to have both an in person Wellington event and another online event to keep reaching those students further afield. If you are interested in helping out with outreach events, please dont hestitate to get in touch with the School Office.

Currently, we are collecting survey feedback to see how students found the online format and if there is any room for improvement.


Seminar: Tha Axiom of Choice - Thomas Forster 2-3pm, Friday 4th December CO350

On Friday 4th December from 2pm-3pm in CO350, Thomas Forster will be presenting to both academics and graduates on the Axiom of Choice. Thomas is visiting VUW from DPMMS & Queens' College in Cambridge.

The Axiom of Choice (AC) is probably the most misunderstood proposition in Pure Mathematics. Most mathematicians cannot even state it properly, never mind know what it means, or when they need it and when they don't. This talk for a general pure mathematical audience comes to you from a speaker whose research project is dogged by AC issues, which he has had to think through in rather more detail than most of us have had to. If you want to know what AC does and why you might or might not need it, this talk is for you.

A special thank you to Jordan Barrett for arranging this seminar.

Australian and New Zealand Statistical Conference: 5-9 July 2021

The aim of this Conference is to bring together a broad range of researchers and practitioners across a variety of statistical disciplines to facilitate the exchange of theory, methods and applications. This years theme is "Modelling Data for Brighter Future". This year the conference will be hosted online due to the uncertainty surrounding travel.

If you are interested in participating or want see more information (such as the programe etc.), please check out the event page.


Postgraduate Students Association are looking for representatives

The PGSA is looking for graduate students interested in representing the PGSA from December 2020 onwards. Representatives will need to pop along to monthly committee meetings. This is a good chance to make your postgraduate voice heard, add to your CV and to advocate for your community. There are currently vacancies in:
  • Faculty of Science Board
  • Faculty of Science Teaching and Learning Committee
If this sounds like something you could be interested in, email PGSA for more information.