School of Natural and Computational Sciences* – Invited Seminars

* Was the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

15 March 2017

Barbara Lee Keyfitz  –  Hyperbolic Conservation Laws: Why the Fuss about  L - 2 Stability? 

Date, time and venue

12 noon, 15 March 2017
MS1.04, Massey University Albany

19 Apr 2017

Philip Brydon (Otago University)  –  The fourth superconducting gap


2 pm, Wed 19 April
CTCP suite, e-centre/Bob Tindall building,  Massey Albany Gate 5 (Oaklands Rd), Oteha Rohe


 Superconductivity is a low-temperature phenomenon in the solid state where electricity can flow without resistance. The microscopic building blocks are two-electron "molecules", so-called Cooper pairs. This destabilizes the low-energy electronic states, opening a "gap" in the electron spectrum. The form of the gap reflects the way that the electrons bind into Cooper pairs, and is therefore a critical piece of information in building up a microscopic understanding of the superconductivity. Up to now three types of gap were thought possible: a full gap, or a gap which vanishes at point or line nodes, allowing a classification in terms of angular-momentum eigenstates, the so-called spherical harmonics. We have recently demonstrated that a fourth type of gap exists, which vanishes on a surface. This unique gap structure arises from an additional degree of freedom of the electrons in the Cooper pair due to the atomic orbitals from which the electrons ultimately originate. We expect that this gap structure could arise in certain exotic Uranium-based compounds.

3 May 2017

Wendy Erb (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) - Sexy sounds: ecological, energetic, and anthropogenic influences on primate male long calls

Date, time and venue

12 noon - 1 PM, 3 May 2017
AT 1, Massey University Albany

10 May 2017

Emily Parke (Auckland University) - Are Experiments Better than Models?


12 noon, 10 May 2017
OR 2, Massey University Albany


Experiments are commonly thought to be better sources of scientific knowledge than models and simulations. This judgment often rests on intuitions about
experiments getting scientists “closer to the natural world” than models. I examine and criticise several arguments for the superiority of experiments. These arguments rely on
problematic ways of distinguishing experiments from models; I discuss cases from experimental evolution which undermine those distinctions. Classifying a case of
research as experimenting versus modelling does not license automatic conclusions about the value of what we can learn from it. Instead, we should focus on the extent to
which the object of study in question (whether it was on a lab bench, a computer screen, or somewhere else) corresponds in the right way to the relevant target of
inquiry in the natural world.

17 May 2017

John Butcher  


12 noon, 17 May 2017
MS 1.04, (Lab 3 in MS building)


Differential equations arising in scientific modelling, typically require numerical methods to obtain useful information on the solutions.  In choosing suitable numerical methods, many issues need to be taken into account, such as numerical accuracy and computational cost.  This talk will consider the accuracy of numerical methods and the way some details of this topic hinge on elementary combinatorics and graph theory.  Although there will be a small number of challenges, the talk is mainly non-technical and intended for a general scientific audience.

To obtain a personal copy of the presentation, use the link

31 May 2017

Peter Cowman (from James Cook University (JCU)  and joined the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)


12-1 PM, 31 May 2017


Combined with fossil data, time calibrated phylogenies (chronograms) can provide a window into the past, allowing the exploration of the evolutionary origins of lineages, the traits they possess, and their ancestral biogeographic affinities. In this talk, Dr Peter Cowman will highlight how he and collaborators have used phylogenetic trees for several families of reef-associated fishes to explore their origins and diversification on coral reefs. He will explore how reef fishes have become a major component of the Indo-Australian Archipelago (IAA) biodiversity hotspot. By integrating phylogenetic diversity metrics with ancestral biogeographic estimation of lineages, Dr Cowman will illustrate how reef fish assemblage structure and tropical provinciality has changed through time and reflects both shallow and deep time connections among shallow water reef habitat.

21 Jun 2017


12-1 PM, 21 Jun 2017
MS 1.04 (Lab 3)

Greg Runnerstrum (Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor External Relations and Development) 


"Growing reputation and student numbers"

 Mandelbrot's fractal sets, artificial intelligence and ecosystems and enrolment growth. Is marketing being reinvented and does that matter? Does marketing work for INMS? What comes first and everything else follows?

02 August 2017


12-1 PM, 02 Aug 2017

Jennifer Lawrence (PhD student studying environmental microbiology at UC Berkeley)


"Enhancing the Functionality of Anaerobic Ammonium Oxidation (Anammox)"

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