Victoria hosts NZ’s largest maths conference

Published: Thu 13 Dec 2007 11:12 AM
13 December 2007
Victoria hosts New Zealand’s largest maths conference
Deep theoretical results in mathematics – underpinning our understanding of the physical world – are to be presented by Microsoft mathematician Michael Freedman at this week’s maths conference.
“Michael’s research could change the face of computing and mathematics,” says Victoria University senior lecturer in mathematics, Peter Donelan.
“He will be talking about the latest theoretical developments in his work on quantum computing and quantum topology. He has a Fields Medal in mathematics, which is often regarded as equivalent to a Nobel Prize in maths.”
The conference started yesterday and runs through to December 15, with about 300 mathematicians from around New Zealand and the world flooding the capital.
There will be 240 speakers including leading mathematicians from New Zealand and the United States giving plenary addresses.
As well as many branches of pure and applied mathematics, other topics include the history of mathematics and mathematics education. “For example, speakers will talk about the effect NCEA is having on students coming to study mathematics at university,” says Dr Donelan.
The First Joint Meeting of the American and New Zealand Mathematical Societies is an initiative taken by the University’s mathematicians, following a successful joint meeting with the Israel Mathematics Union in 2004.
Dr Donelan says: “It is made possible by the strength of mathematics research in New Zealand and the many fruitful collaborations mathematicians have with colleagues in the US and around the world. It seals the growing reputation of New Zealand mathematics.”
“There’s a real buzz about the conference in the mathematics department here on campus. The meeting will draw attention to the strength and depth of mathematics research being undertaken in New Zealand and to Victoria University’s major contribution to that success.”

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