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Symmetry & chirality: reflecting on the mirror image | Hamilton

Celebrated NZ mathematician, Marston Conder, reflects on symmetry and chirality in discrete structures.

Distinguished Professor Marston Conder FRSNZ

University of Auckland

Celebrating 25 years of Marsden Funding Te Pūtea Rangahau a Marsden

Professor Conder is a world authority on the mathematics of symmetry and chirality in discrete structures, especially those with maximum possible symmetry in their class. He has received numerous awards for “simply doing many things that I enjoy so much”.

Marston is renowned for pioneering an array of algebraic, combinatorial and computational techniques to answer what are called ‘open’ and ‘challenging’ questions in mathematics and to see beyond them to make wider ground-breaking discoveries. He has solved problems and answered open questions in mathematics dating back to 1962, 1967, 1985, 1998, 1999 and 2005.

Reflecting on the changes in the field of mathematics over his career, Marston says that fifty years ago many saw maths as providing a tool-kit for physics, focused on calculus, linear algebra and differential equations. “That has changed quite dramatically. The subject and its applications have broadened immensely, especially with rapid advances in computing and IT, so that mathematics now plays an important role in a huge variety of activities, including bioinformatics, communications, economics/finance, internet searches, internet security, planning and social sciences.”

Choosing not to pursue his career overseas, Marston has been instrumental in developing and promoting mathematics in New Zealand, and is said to have significantly lifted research performance in the mathematical sciences here. He has held many other service roles for the research community, and has inspired and mentored a large number of students and colleagues worldwide.

About the Marsden Fund 25 Series

The Marsden Fund 25 Series celebrates 25 years of excellent research through regional lectures, online profiles and video interviews.

Marsden Fund Te Pūtea Rangahau a Marsden was established by the New Zealand government in 1994. Since then, it has driven world-class research in New Zealand by supporting and incentivising excellent researchers to work on their best and boldest ideas, to connect internationally, leading to new knowledge and skills with the potential for significant downstream impact for Aotearoa.

To celebrate, the Marsden Fund 25 Series shines a light on 25 researchers to reflect on the depth and breadth of research excellence supported by this funding. Over coming months, there will be 15 regional lectures and 10 online profiles to explore.

Brand image Marsden25


Marston Conder

Distinguished Professor


Royal Society Te Apārangi


Central Library 9 Garden Place, Hamilton, Waikato 3204

6:00pm Tue 26 November, 2019 - 7:00pm Tue 26 November, 2019