IUTAM Symposium sparks international collaboration on ice melt

12 February 2018

The highly successful International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mathematics (IUTAM) Symposium, brought together experts from 18 nations presenting cutting edge research on fluid mechanics.

IUTAM 2018 discussion

Symposium chairs Dr Stefanie Gutschmidt and A/Prof Mathieu Sellier are delighted at how well the symposium served as a vehicle for sharing new ideas and expanding the reach of UC by showcasing its expertise in engineering and applied mathematics.

The highly successful International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mathematics (IUTAM) Symposium, brought together experts from 18 nations presenting cutting edge research on fluid mechanics. The Symposium was opened by a Mihi Whakatau (by Brett Tamati-Elliffe), a welcome to the City of Christchurch (by Councillor Jimmy Chen) and the welcome to the University of Canterbury (by Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr).

Networking and knowledge exchange are valuable spinoffs of distinguished international gatherings, such as those held by IUTAM since its first conference in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1922. Ninety-six years later, when UC hosted IUTAM’s latest symposium earlier this year, the rule continues to hold true. Symposium chairs Dr Stefanie Gutschmidt and A/Prof Mathieu Sellier, of UC’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, are delighted at how well the symposium served as a vehicle for sharing new ideas and expanding the reach of UC by showcasing its expertise in engineering and applied mathematics.

“The symposium included ground breaking, world-first contributions from a total of four keynote speakers and 60 delegates from 18 countries,” says Dr Gutschmidt.“It was a fantastic opportunity to exchange knowledge beyond the borders of New Zealand and Australia and to access influential researchers from around the world.”

Exciting outcomes — from climate change research to unmanned aircraft vehicles, the opportunity has not been wasted. One of many exciting outcomes is a new collaboration between UC and Florida State University that could help unlock new perspectives on ice melt and climate change. Following the symposium, Dr James Hewett, symposium secretary, and A/Prof Sellier have initiated a collaboration with Prof Nick Moore, a mathematician at Florida State University, to better understand pattern formation during the melting of ice.

“This is particularly important as a way to better quantify ice mass balance in polar regions and to inform climate change models,” says A/Prof Sellier.

Other fascinating topics covered at the symposium, the first international meeting hosted in UC’s new Engineering Core, included using ocean waves to predict and identify passing ships, how the flapping of birds’ wings generates forward motion and using numerical simulations to better understand insect flight for biomimetic unmanned aircraft vehicles. The symposium was supported by the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, UC and Comsol Multiphysics.