Mathematician receives joint NZ-US honour

Marston Conder

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 Society. Professor Conder is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a past president of the Academy Council.

“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.

(Source – news release and photo courtesy of The University of Auckland)