Unlocking patterns of nature - the marriage of mathematics and ecology
Inaugural lecture delivered at Stellenbosch University on 19 March 2015.
Professor Cang Hui was born in the ancient capital of China, Xi’an, where the Terracotta Warriors were unearthed. In 1994, he went to Xi’an Jiaotong University, a C9 League, and obtained his BSc in applied mathematics four years later. He then moved to Lanzhou University and received his MSc in the same major in 2001 and a PhD in mathematical ecology in 2004. Immediately after his PhD, Hui came to South Africa and worked at Stellenbosch University until 2008 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology. He was then appointed as a researcher by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (C∙I∙B) in the Department of Botany and Zoology and worked there until the end of 2013. He was promoted to full professor in 2014 in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, which coincided with his appointment by the NRF to the Tier 1 South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Mathematical and Theoretical Physical Biosciences, co-hosted by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Cape Town. Hui is working on the interface between mathematics and biology. His interests lie in proposing models and theories for explaining emerging patterns in wholeorganism biology, namely ecology.