Top UC accolade for mathematician

28 November 2011

University of Canterbury mathematician Professor Douglas Bridges (Mathematics and Statistics) will be awarded one of the University's highest honours during UC's graduation events next month.

Top UC accolade for mathematician - Imported from Legacy News system

Professor Douglas Bridges

University of Canterbury mathematician Professor Douglas Bridges (Mathematics and Statistics) will be awarded one of the University’s highest honours during UC’s graduation events next month.

Professor Bridges will be presented with the University of Canterbury Research Medal, the University’s highest recognition for an outstanding contribution to academic and scholarly research, during the graduation ceremony on the afternoon of 14 December.

The University’s end of year graduation ceremonies will this year be held at the CBS Canterbury Arena, Addington, on 14 and 16 December.

Professor Bridges has made prolific contributions to mathematics, placing him at the forefront of academic excellence in that discipline, both in New Zealand and internationally.

A graduate of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Oxford universities in the United Kingdom, Professor Bridges is Professor of Pure Mathematics at UC. He joined the staff at the University in 1999 after holding chairs at the University of Buckingham, England, and at the University of Waikato.

During his career Professor Bridges has established himself as a leading authority in the field of constructive mathematics.

A referee for his nomination, fellow mathematician Professor Michael Rathjen from Leeds University in the United Kingdom, said Professor Bridges is “worldwide the foremost expert and leading researcher in this area, particularly in constructive analysis and functional analysis”.

Another referee, Professor Angus Macintyre from the University of London, said Professor Bridges is universally regarded as the successor to American mathematician Errett Bishop, the father of constructive analysis, saying it is now “generally agreed that Bridges dominates this subject” and is highly regarded internationally as shown by the number of collaborative ventures he has underway with colleagues overseas.

This high regard has seen Professor Bridges’ work recognised worldwide. In 2000 he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and four years later was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, one of only 61 such fellows worldwide. In 2006 an international conference was held in Bavaria in his honour and further tribute was paid through a special edition of the Journal of Universal Computer Science. However, perhaps the strongest international endorsement of Professor Bridges’ work came in 2000 when he was awarded a higher doctorate, a Doctor of Science, from Oxford University.

Professor Bridges’ enthusiasm for his subject has resulted in a prolific output of more than 170 research papers and eight books. His papers have appeared in such highly regarded journals as the Journal of Symbolic Logic, Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, The Journal of the London Mathematical Society, Documenta Mathematica and Theoretical Computer Science.

Two of his books – Constructive Analysis (published in 1985) and Varieties of Constructive Mathematics (published in 1987) - are regarded as indispensible references for those working in the field of constructive analysis and are widely cited. The monograph Techniques of Constructive Analysis, published in 2006 and written with former University of Canterbury mathematician Dr LuminiÅ£a Simona Vîţă, is the only book to highlight the developments in constructive analysis over the preceding 20 years.

His books and research papers cover a wide range of areas of mathematics, including algebra; apartness and uniform spaces; real, complex and functional analysis; constructive methods in the foundations of physics and economic theory; and mathematical logic.

A secondary interest in mathematical economics has led to papers in top journals such as the Journal of Mathematical Economics and the Journal of Economic Theory, as well as a book, Representations of Preference Orderings, written with Dr Ghanshyam Mehta of the University of Queensland.

His most significant work during his time at Canterbury has been on the mathematical theory of apartness spaces, in which he has published 20 papers. Since it was started in 2000, this theory has been investigated by mathematicians in Germany, Japan, Sweden and the United States. His latest book Apartness and Uniformity: A Constructive Development, also co-authored with Dr Vîţă, is the definitive account of this new approach to constructive topology.

More recently, Professor Bridges has been working in a relatively new area of mathematics, constructive reverse mathematics.


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