Our women mathematicians
We are proud to have a substantial group of female mathematicians at the University – some are even global leaders.
Professor Hinke Osinga
Hinke is a specialist in dynamical systems theory, the mathematical analysis and prediction of behaviour that changes with time.
She is at the forefront of developing and employing numerical methods for computing global objects known as invariant manifolds that are indicators of critical change or tipping points.
The main applications of her research are in neuroscience and earthquake engineering, though the strength and beauty of mathematics is that its applicability knows no bounds.
"What I find most intriguing about mathematics is that the same mathematical equations can pop up in many different areas of applications and the tools to analyse these equations are the same," she says.
After obtaining her PhD in 1996 in The Netherlands, she worked in the U.S. and Europe. In 2011 she moved to New Zealand to take up the position of Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Auckland. Some highlights:
- At Bristol, she held an Advanced Research Fellowship from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (2005-2011) on Global Invariant Manifolds: Applications, Critical Boundaries and Global Bifurcations. Her research constitutes a significant contribution to manifold theory, for which she was awarded the Research Award of the New Zealand Mathematical Society.
- She was invited to speak at the 2014 International Congress of Mathematicians, and was selected as a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (USA) in 2015 and Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2016.
- Her publications, illustrations, animations and outreach activities have made her famous. She is best known for the computation and visualisation of the Lorenz manifold, the global stable manifold of the origin of the famous Lorenz system. Jointly with Bernd Krauskopf, this research direction involves the study of chaotic attractors and other exotic mathematical objects.
- Hinke and Bernd realised that the computer output of their algorithms could be read as crochet instructions. The first crocheted Lorenz manifold came into existence in 2003, but more followed.
For more information, pictures, and animations, please visit the Crocheting the Lorenz Manifold website.
Associate Professor Vivien Kirk
Vivien Kirk’s PhD was in a department of applied mathematics and theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge. She was determined, at the start of her PhD, to be a physicist.
"However, the area in which I worked for my PhD – dynamical systems – fits naturally in mathematics departments, and my first job was in a mathematics department. I have happily thought of myself as a mathematician ever since.
”Vivien really enjoys the intellectual style of the mathematics she does. “I like the mix of theory, computation and application to the physical world, and love the feeling that comes when ideas that were muddled become clear and patterns emerge.
"I also enjoy the wider academic environment provided by universities, particularly opportunities to engage with students and to hear about the academic activities of colleagues and visitors from a range of disciplines beyond mathematics.
”Vivien worked part-time when she had young children. Combining a research career with a young family presented challenges, especially regarding travel.
“But it was always great fun, and having children certainly provided some balance in my life. Now my children are young adults, and cook me dinner more often than I cook for them!”