Find out what study in the School of Mathematics and Statistics is like by reading what our current students have to say about their experiences.
After completing a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Marine Biology at Victoria, Yuki wanted to delve a little deeper and enrolled for postgraduate study.
“I really enjoyed the undergraduate statistics courses and after finishing my third year wanted to explore the subject more,” she says.
Yuki is now studying toward a Master of Science in Statistics and Operations Research. Her research looks at cluster analysis in fisheries.
“I love that I get to combine statistics and marine biology,” says Yuki. “It’s also exciting to apply what I’ve learnt to real world data, try different approaches and see what results we get.”
Yuki’s research is supervised by Dr Richard Arnold, a senior lecturer in statistics. “I enjoy learning new things from him,” says Yuki. “He goes through problems with me when I am stuck and gives a sense of beauty of statistics.”
Yuki describes the programme as “challenging”, but feels well supported and is excited for the future.
“I’ve very much enjoyed studying at Victoria, I feel well supported and positive,” she says. “In the future I hope to work as a statistician, potentially in marine science but am also keen to learn how statistics is used in different fields.”
Finnian is studying for a Master of Science in Mathematics, after completing a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Physics. Finnian’s life-long interest in understanding how things work led him to science.
“Physics explains the how of our universe. It is informed by experiments which are used to deduce general principles about natural phenomena,” he says. “But experiments are only half the story. A language is needed to be able to describe the observations and then predict new outcomes. This language is mathematics.”
Finnian says he enjoys learning the language of mathematics. “What can seem to be completely abstract and detached from reality can lead to a new physical prediction or way of writing a theory which years down the track becomes crucial to new technology.”
Finnian’s research looks at Einstein's general relativity, specifically black holes and the Hawking effect, and quantum field theory.
“My project is to generalise the procedure of Wick rotation and imaginary time, which is a mathematical trick which lets you calculate the temperature of a black hole,” he says. “It also leads to the idea of Euclidean quantum gravity which is one possible attempt to formulate a quantum theory of gravity; one of the most important problems in modern physics.”
The fifth-year student is supervised by Professor Matt Visser, an internationally recognised expert in the field of general relativity.
“He adds invaluable insight and helps me with my work,” says Finnian. “He is a hands-on supervisor who gets very involved in projects whilst letting you pursue you own ideas to their full extent with autonomy. His discussions and comments are always helpful.”
Finnian was awarded a Victoria Master's Scholarship to help fund his studies, and won the 2014 Florance Prize in Physics in and W H (Bill) Vaughan Prize for Mathematics.
Finnian also completed a summer research scholarship with the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, in theoretical condensed matter physics and nuclear magnetic resonance which underpins MRI techniques.
“Victoria has more than lived up to my expectations”, says Finnian. “You have the opportunity to directly interact with leading professors who are friendly and always willing to help.”
Inspired by his Uncle’s success as an Actuary, Navin was the first student to enrol for Victoria’s Actuarial Science programme.
“I have a huge passion for numbers and mathematics. I knew the perfect combination of applying my strength for numbers to our world economy would be the field of Actuarial Science.”
Navin says Victoria was his number one choice for university and it hasn’t disappointed. “The interactive and approachable nature of all the lecturers allows students to open up and ask lots of questions. The facilities maximise productivity and create an enjoyable and homely environment.”
Navin is a Residential Advisor at Boulcott Hall. He also plays professional cricket for the Central Districts Stags Cricket Team and represents New Zealand as a member of the Premier Men’s Indoor Cricket Team.
As recognition of his hard work, Navin was awarded the 2015 Actuarial Scholarship from Cigna Life Insurance, which grants $5,000 towards his studies and an opportunity for work over summer.
Looking to the future, the English-born sportsman has his eyes on multiple prizes. “I plan to hopefully intern at a finance company which would give me a great foundation to become an Actuary or Investment Banker. I also hope to extend my professional cricket career and continue to represent New Zealand.”