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The sky’s the limit for Mathematics at Waikato


The sky’s the limit for Mathematics at Waikato

The Mathematics department at Waikato University has reinforced its international reputation for world-class research with news that one of their PhD graduates will soon be working with NASA.

Dr Jacob Heerikhuisen has been offered a National Research Council associateship in America with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland. Dr Heerikhuisen will be continuing the work he did during his PhD at Waikato on magnetic reconnection.

Professors Ian Craig and Alfred Sneyd, who supervised Dr Heerikhuisen’s PhD, are also working in the field of astrophysical magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) back at Waikato Univeristy and will be keeping in close contact with their colleague.

“This is a great opportunity for Jacob and we are all very pleased for him,” said Professor Craig.

Jacob is not the first Waikato mathematics graduate to obtain a prestigious research position in the USA. Dr Paul Watson, a former Waikato Masters student and Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department, recently joined the Plasma Fusion Studies Group at the University of Texas in Austin. Both Jacob and Paul are currently collaborating with the mathematics research group at Waikato, on a range of Astrophysical MHD projects.

After a top PBRF ranking in the Pure and Applied Mathematics category here in New Zealand, the Waikato Mathematics Department will also enjoy the opportunity to develop ties and exchange ideas with NASA researchers.

Currently working as a postdoctorate at the University of California, Dr Heerikhuisen will start the associateship in November this year, working with NASA astrophysicist Dr Michael Hesse. Dr Heerikhuisen plans to return to New Zealand after a few years of gaining experience and making contacts in America.

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