1 September 2011
Mathematician receives joint NZ-US honour
University of Auckland mathematician Professor Marston Conder has been named the first Maclaurin Lecturer. He will tour
United States universities as a visiting speaker in 2012/13 and also give a plenary address to the American Mathematical
“This is a fantastic accolade for Marston,” says Professor Charles Semple, President of the New Zealand Mathematical
Society. “Professor Conder has contributed enormously to New Zealand mathematics – both in research and service. To be
awarded the inaugural Maclaurin Lectureship is very special.”
Professor Conder is an international leader in his field. He specialises in the development and use of combinatorial
group theory and computational methods to study the symmetries of discrete structures. These structures occur in a wide
range of fields, including many other branches of mathematics as well as molecular chemistry and the design of computer
architectures and efficient distribution networks.
Professor Conder has been recognised by his peers with the distinction of a Doctor of Science Degree from the University
of Oxford and election as President of the Academy of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He is professor of mathematics
at The University of Auckland and Co-Director of the New Zealand Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (NZIMA),
and was one of the University’s first two Hood Fellows.
The Maclaurin Lectureship is a new reciprocal exchange between the New Zealand Mathematical Society and American
Mathematical Society. A New Zealand and a United States-based mathematician will tour each other’s countries on
alternate years, with the lecturers to be chosen by both societies.
The lectureship is named after Richard Cockburn Maclaurin (1870 – 1920), who studied at Auckland University College –
now The University of Auckland – and Cambridge University, and won the Smith Prize in Mathematics and Yorke Prize in
Law. He was Foundation Professor of Mathematics at Victoria University College, as well as Dean of Law and Professor of
Astronomy. In 1908 he became President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and helped transform that
institution into a world-class research-based technological university.