These are some of the undertakings and travellings of members of the
Department of Statistics during 2006. There are omissions.
2006 Annual Report (200KiB)
Australasian Wildlife Management Society Conference
At the Australasian Wildlife Management Society Conference in Auckland James Russell won 1st prize for Student Presentation in the Wildlife Management category.
There were 2 main prizes (Wildlife Management & Conservation Biology), and 8 runners up.
Prize is 2 years subscription to the journal Wildlife Research.
In Solander's name
Dr Ilze Ziedins and James Russell have received grants under the new Solander Programme. This is an extract from the staff news.
Now travelling the other way on a fellowship named for Solander, Dr Ilze Ziedins (Statistics) will be conducting two months research and collaboration at Lund University in Sweden. James Russell, who is just completing his PhD research on rat invasions in the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Statistics, has received a Solander Program Travel Grant for a similar purpose.
The newly-created Solander Program aims to promote and widen scientific exchange between Universitas 21 universities in Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. It is open to five universities Lund, Melbourne, Queensland, New South Wales and Auckland all with long traditions of collaboration, and aims to stimulate even greater scientific contact by offering a range of travelling scholarships primarily for younger scientists.
Public reading of The Amazing Adventures of Razza the Rat
Professor Witi Ihimaera gave two public readings of his new book. James Russell, whose experiments inspired the book, attended the readings as the celebrity scientist featured in the books.
Witi Ihimaera and James Russell talking before the play.
Astrid, the illustrator, Witi, and James.
Students of Sunnynook School with Witi and James after the performance of Razza the Rat.
Witi Ihimaera writes about Razza the Rat
The Amazing Adventures of Razza the Rat
Professor Ihimaera has written a book about James Russell's experiment with the Rodent Invasion Project.
The Amazing Adventures of Razza the Rat (Reed 2006) tells the story of Razza, an inquisitive rodent who inadvertently gets sent to an island and becomes the subject of a scientific study of rat behaviour. Professor Ihimaera's story is based on the real-life rat experiment of University of Auckland PhD student James Russell, who released a male rat named Razza on an uninhabited island in the Noises, in the Hauraki Gulf. After avoiding myriad traps around the island, Razza was finally caught -- 18 weeks after being released -- on a neighbouring island located some 400 metres away. Razzas aquatic escape is the longest distance recorded for a rat swimming across open sea -- and his adventures made headlines around the world.
For Professor Ihimaera, the science experiment read like the perfect plot for a childrens book.
Read more in University News.
Russell Millar on National Radio
Russell was interviewed on National Radio yesterday. He was invited to talk on the Ideas Programme, about
probability theory and the recent book by Jeffrey Rosenthal, Struck by Lightning - the Curious World of Probabilities
Download and listen to Russell on National Radio (MP3, 12MiB)
Recognition by Forensic Science Society
Researchers at The University of Auckland have been recognised by the Forensic Science Society for research into glass breakages in crime. The research could be used to help identify suspected criminals.
Dr James Curran and Professor Chris Triggs of the University's Department of Statistics, worked with colleagues in Switzerland on modelling fragment dispersal when glass is broken with hammers or bullets. The corresponding research paper has been awarded the PW Allen Award for the most meritorious paper published by members of the Forensic Science Society in 2005.
Read the full article: CSI: Crime Statistics Investigation
Steven Miller 3rd in Poster Competition
Steven Miller landed third place in the Faculty of Science Poster Competition, out of a field of 74 entries. His poster will be submitted to the University poster competition in October.
Russell Millar wins funding from University Research Fellowships Fund
Russell won funding from the University Research Fellowships Fund, in a very competitive process, to complete his book Applied Likelihood Methods: With examples in R and SAS. It could be quite useful for folk who are interested in the relative virtues of the two software in real ML applications.
Steven Miller and Tim Langlois in Education Review
Cover of Education Review, 11(35)
Steven Miller has a full page article in the New Zealand Education Review, 11(35), September 8, 2006 regarding his work on rats.
Tim Langlois appears on the facing page explaining his PhD work.
Professor Alastair Scott, Professor Chris Wild and Professor Alan Lee have won a Marsden grant for Model fitting with complex sampling structures.
Steven Miller wins NZSA prize
Steven Miller has won the NZSA prize for best talk presented by a New Zealand student presented at the Australian Statistical Conference/New Zealand Statistical Association Conference 2006.
Associate Professor David Scott is the Chairman of the ASC/NZSA Conference 2006 organising committee.
Son born to Arden Miller
On May 8 a son, Jacob, was born to Arden and Mel Miller.
Andrew Balemi on TV Three News
Andrew Balemi was on TV Three News explaining the insignificance of 01:02:03 04-05-06 (ie, 2006-05-04).
Lady: We went to the Auckland University Statistics Department to find out if there's any significance to it. Their answer, a big fat zero. And they came up with a more interesting question.
Andrew Balemi: 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour ...
Lady: If a person was to glance at a clock once during a century, what are the chances they would see the one to six sequence. The answer, one in 3.2 billion.
Statistics Expert, Dr Andrew Balemi: Back of an envelope calculation, you're probably a thousand more times more likely to win Lotto on a per line basis.
Lady: ... It's simply a numerical oddity.
Andrew Balemi: Statisticians are known as being boring, but I'd say if you're looking for that sequence of numbers then you might be more boring than a statistician.
James Russell briefs Princess
The Thai Crown Princess
PhD student James Russell briefed Her Royal Highness Maha Chakri Sirindhorn during her visit to the University.
The Thai Crown Princess's recent visit to the University brought her almost face to face with rodents which have devastated New Zealand's island fauna.
Two rats produced for her inspection by PhD student James Russell - Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) from Pakihi Island - breathed their last long ago and come from his private collection.
The University of Auckland News, 36(6), April 13 2006
Son born to Mik Black
On March 22 a son, Kieran, was born to Mik and Melony Black.
Russell Millar on TV One News
Millar was on TV One News doing some calculations in R explaining about winning the Lotto Big Wednesday draw.
Blair Norton: Statistician Russell Millar has calculated the odds at 16.3 million to one to win the big one.
Russell Millar: I'll tell you what. When it gets to 20 million I'll be in. But I still have this concern I'll be sharing my prize with a lot of people.
Go back to 2005.
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