Quantum computing, sexual selection and deep space research awarded

Six University of Auckland scientists researching topics from deep space to the biodiversity of the sea floor have received top honours from the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Six University of Auckland scientists researching topics from deep space to the biodiversity of the sea floor have received top honours from the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ). The fellowships and scholarships announced today will support the researchers, at varying stages of their careers, to advance knowledge in their chosen fields.

Associate Professor Renate Meyer, statistician and pioneer in gravitational wave data analysis, is one of just three New Zealand scientists to be recognised for sustained research excellence with a prestigious James Cook Research Fellowship.

During her research, Associate Professor Meyer will collaborate with high-profile European astrophysicists and statisticians, as well as researchers within the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Scientific collaboration and the LISA (Laser Interferometric Space Antenna) community to combine expertise in general relativity, gravitational waves, applied Bayesian statistics, and ‘big data’.

Her contributions will help make exotic and extreme events such as the coalescence of black holes observable using gravitational waves.

Five highly-promising University of Auckland early-stage researchers have been awarded Rutherford Fellowships and Scholarships.

Dr Ben Albert from the Liggins Institute, Dr Christina Painting from the School of Biological Sciences and Dr Rebecca Gladstone-Gallagher, who will transfer next year to the University’s Institute of Marine Science, have been awarded Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships.

Rakesh Arul and Georgia Nixon have also received three-year Cambridge Rutherford Memorial PhD Scholarships to pursue their doctorates at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
 

I am delighted to see the success achieved by recipients associated with
our faculty.

Professor John Hosking Dean of Science

Professor John Hosking, Dean of Science at the University says the Rutherford Fellowships and Scholarships are some of the most prestigious awards in the New Zealand Science system.

“I am delighted to see the success achieved by recipients associated with our faculty," he says.

"Renate’s success as a James Cook Fellow reflects the enormous contributions she has made to Statistics, including her work on the statistical analysis of LIGO data that led to the first observation of gravitational waves.

"Christina’s Rutherford Postdoctoral Fellowship reflects her pioneering work around understanding the evolution of exaggerated traits in arthropods, while Rebecca’s Rutherford Postdoctoral Fellowship comes from her work on sedimentation in estuaries, which is important for understanding the impact of sediments on the health of our coastal regions.

"Rakesh’s work on photonics applied to materials science and Georgia’s work on complex social networks have both naturally led to their Cambridge-Rutherford PhD Scholarships.

"Between them they show some of the diversity and strength of our scientific activity. The support provided will allow each of them to contribute significantly to new discoveries in their respective domains.”

University of Auckland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Jim Metson says the awards reflect the excellence and diversity of research being carried out at the University.

“We congratulate this group of outstanding researchers on this well-deserved recognition; we are proud of the contribution they are making to their fields and to New Zealand.”
 

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