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Hinke Osinga

Hinke Osinga


The University of Auckland’s first female mathematics professor1, Hinke Osinga was also the first woman mathematician to be made a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, in 2016. Osinga is at the forefront of investigating tipping points, which have applications in neuroscience and earthquake engineering.

But Osinga is perhaps best known for her crochet version of the Lorenz manifold, a complicated shape stemming from the work of meteorolgist and chaos theory pioneer Edward Lorenz. He is credited with proposing the 'butterfly effect' where a tiny change can lead to a large change.2 It took Osinga 25,511 crochet stitches and 85 hours to complete the Lorenz manifold, a 'pancake' twisted into three dimensions. Osinga has spent many years studying the Lorenz manifold and mapping its anatomy. She has also studied models of hormone-secreting neuron cells, intracellular calcium dynamics, and shaking mechanical structures.


1. “Staff Arrivals and Departures in Semester Two - The University of Auckland,” accessed May 16, 2018, https://www.math.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/news-and-events/news/news-2011/2011/12/22/Staff-arrivals-and-departures-in-semester-two.html.

2. “CABINET // A Difficult Pancake: An Interview with Hinke Osinga and Bernd Krauskopf,” accessed May 16, 2018, http://cabinetmagazine.org/issues/36/wertheim_osinga_krauskopf.php.

This profile is part of the series 150 Women in 150 Words that celebrates women’s contributions to expanding knowledge in New Zealand, running as part of our 150th Anniversary.