Category Archives: UC News

Sir John Key officially opens UC Trading Room

Former Prime Minister and University of Canterbury alumnus, the Rt Hon Sir John Key officially opened the new Trading Room in the UC Business School on Monday.

The UC Trading Room simulates a financial trading environment, providing business and finance students with experiential learning and skills in fund management.

The 12-seat facility includes a live stock ticker display, access to business news feeds and a range of electronic business databases including Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters DataStream, Global Financial Data and SIRCA. It will be used primarily for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in finance across three programmes – the Bachelor of Commerce, the Master’s degree in Applied Finance and Economics, and the Master’s degree in Financial Management.

Read the news story to find out more.

Check out the coverage on 1 News.

Sir John Key opens the Trading Room in the Business and Law building, 16.10.17 Sir John Key, Rod Carr, Sonya Mazey, Darren Russell, Jadrzej Bialkowski and many others. Client, Lyn Larsen, Exec Assistant Learning Resources. Hannah Seeley SSAC.

Sir John Key officially opened the UC Trading Room in the Business and Law Building on Monday. Left to right: Dr John Wood – Chancellor, Dr Rod Carr – Vice-Chancellor, Sir John Key, Professor Sonia Mazey – Pro-Vice-Chancellor College of Business and Law


Sir John Key opens the Trading Room in the Business and Law building, 16.10.17 Sir John Key, Rod Carr, Sonya Mazey, Darren Russell, Jadrzej Bialkowski and many others. Client, Lyn Larsen, Exec Assistant Learning Resources. Hannah Seeley SSAC.

Sir John Key tries out some of the new technology in the UC Trading Room. 

Dark energy –  UC supernova analysis  reframes debate

The accelerating expansion of the Universe may not be real, but could just be an apparent effect, according to new research published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The new study—by a group at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand—finds the fit of Type Ia supernovae to a model universe with no dark energy to be very slightly better than the fit to the standard dark energy model.

Dark energy is usually assumed to form roughly 70% of the present material content of the Universe. However, this mysterious quantity is essentially a place-holder for unknown physics.

Current models of the Universe require this dark energy term to explain the observed acceleration in the rate at which the Universe is expanding. Scientists base this conclusion on measurements of the distances to supernova explosions in distant galaxies, which appear to be farther away than they should be if the Universe’s expansion were not accelerating.

However, just how statistically significant this signature of cosmic acceleration is has been hotly debated in the past year. The previous debate pitted the standard Lambda Cold Dark Matter (ΛCDM) cosmology against an empty universe whose expansion neither accelerates nor decelerates. Both of these models though assume a simplified 100 year old cosmic expansion law—Friedmann’s equation.

Friedmann’s equation assumes an expansion identical to that of a featureless soup, with no complicating structure. However, the present Universe actually contains a complex cosmic web of galaxy clusters in sheets and filaments that surround and thread vast empty voids.

Professor David Wiltshire, who led the study from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, said, ”The past debate missed an essential point; if dark energy does not exist then a likely alternative is that the average expansion law does not follow Friedmann’s equation.”

Rather than comparing the standard ΛCDM cosmological model with an empty universe, the new study compares the fit of supernova data in ΛCDM to a different model, called the ’timescape cosmology’. This has no dark energy. Instead, clocks carried by observers in galaxies differ from the clock that best describes average expansion once the lumpiness of structure in the Universe becomes significant. Whether or not one infers accelerating expansion then depends crucially on the clock used.

The timescape cosmology was found to give a slightly better fit to the largest supernova data catalogue than the ΛCDM cosmology. Unfortunately the statistical evidence is not yet strong enough to rule definitively in favour of one model or the other, but future missions such as the European Space Agency’s Euclid satellite will have the power to distinguish between the standard cosmology and other models, and help scientists to decide whether dark energy is real or not.

Deciding that not only requires more data, but also better understanding  properties of supernovae which currently limit the precision with which they can be used to measure distances. On that score, the new study shows significant unexpected effects which are missed if only one expansion law is applied. Consequently, even as a toy model the timescape cosmology provides a powerful tool to test our current understanding, and casts new light on our most profound cosmic questions.

UCSA ‘Staff of the Year’ finalists announced

The Staff of the Year Award 2017 nomination/voting ended last Friday at 5pm. Thank you to everyone who nominated/voted.  UCSA had a record number of participants in this year’s voting – a total of 1,197.

The top nominees of each category are (in alphabetical order):

Lecturer of the Year – Arts:

  • Associate Professor Peter Field
  • Dr Masayoshi Ogino
  • Karen Saunders
  • Professor Alex Tan
  • Dr Kevin Watson

Lecturer of the Year – Business & Law:

  • Dr Steve Agnew
  • Dr Herb de Vries
  • Dr John Hopkins

Lecturer of the Year – Education:

  • Tracy Clelland
  • Heather Lindsay
  • Associate Professor Brigid McNeill

Lecturer of the Year – Engineering:

  • Dr Sid Becker
  • Professor Charles Fleischmann
  • Associate Professor Michael Hayes

Lecturer of the Year – Science:

  • Dr Richard Lobb
  • Dr Pieter Pelser
  • Professor Ian Shaw

Supervisor of the Year:

  • Professor Angus Macfarlane (Education)
  • Dr Tammy Steeves (Biological Sciences)
  • Dr Kevin Watson (Linguistics)

Administrator of the Year:

  • Sarah Brown (Fine Arts)
  • Heather Couch (Business & Law)
  • Maria Hellstrom (Linguistics, English Language, Media & Communications)

Technical Staff of the Year:

  • Garry Cotton (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Chris Grimshaw (Geological Sciences)
  • Julian Murphy (Mechanical Engineering)

Superstar of the Year:

  • Liz Ackerley (Mathematics & Statistics)
  • Roisin Bennett (Māori Development Team)
  • Heather Couch (Business & Law)
  • Simon Dorset (Law)
  • Jane Hall (Student Experience)
  • Dr Valerie Sotardi (Education)

Great Character of the Year Award:

  • Dr Steve Agnew (Business & Law)
  • Dr Herb de Vries (Business & Law)
  • Jean Kim (Education)
  • Karen Saunders (Arts)

Make Your Own Award (Titles of awards will be revealed on the night):

  • Dr Steve Agnew (Business & Law)
  • Te Hurinui Clarke (Education)
  • Associate Professor Travis Horton (Geological Sciences)
  • Associate Professor Brigid McNeill (Education)