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Dr Mathew Pugh

Dr Mathew Pugh

Senior Lecturer

School of Mathematics

+44 (0)29 2087 6862
M/2.48, Second Floor, Mathematics Institute, Senghennydd Road, Cardiff, CF24 4AG
Welsh speaking

My mathematical interests are in operator algebras, noncommutative geometry and mathematical physics. My work has focused on the theory of modular invariant partition functions for statistical mechanical models associated with Lie groups and associated constructions of braided subfactors or modular tensor categories and their module categories.

In particular, I have studied various invariants associated to these braided subfactors, including cell systems for representation graphs, classification of module categories, planar algebra structures, spectral measures, and Jacobi algebras and their homological invariants.

I am also interested in mathematics education, in particular the engagement of students with their studies, the use of formative and summative assessments within maths, and effective teaching approaches and practices.

Administrative duties

  • Assessment and Feedback Lead
  • Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching
  • Welsh medium provision coordinator

Research group

Geometry, Algebra, Mathematical Physics and Topology

Education and qualifications

  • 2009: PhD (Mathematics), Cardiff University
  • 2004: BSc Mathematics, Cardiff University

Career overview

  • 2011 - present: School of Mathematics, Cardiff University
  • 2008 - 2011: Research associate, Cardiff University

Committees and reviewing

  • 2015 - present: Member of School Student-Staff Panel
  • 2013 - present: Member of the Learning and Teaching Committee
  • 2013 - present: Member of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Cardiff University Branch
  • 2014 - 2016: Member of the Mathematics Web Editorial Board
  • 2011 - 2012: Member of Module Review Panel

External committees

  • 2011 - present: Committee member of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Maths and Physics Subject Panel











I teach on the following modules:

  • MA1006 Foundations of Mathematics II
  • MA3900 Cyflwyniad i Addysgu Mathemateg mewn Ysgol Uwchradd (Welsh medium module: An Introduction to Teaching Mathematics in Secondary School)

I am also responsible for the Welsh medium provision across the undergraduate programmes.

BSc/MMath Projects

  • 2018/19: Shauna Ford (MMath project): Representation theory of the braid group
  • 2018/19: Harry Smith (MMath project): Representation theory of finite groups

Previous projects

  • 2017/18: Heather Wadey (MMath project): Representation theory of finite groups
  • 2017/18: Mari Havard (BSc project): Using questions which assess understanding and creativity in mathematics
  • 2017/18: Jennifer Holden (BSc project): Can we increase the effectiveness of feedback provided on homework without affecting its quality?
  • 2017/18: Lucy Hamilton (BSc project): Digital badges in higher education
  • 2016/17: Lauren Bird (MMath project): Representation theory of finite groups
  • 2016/17: Ruth Cresswell (BSc project): Mathematics outreach activities for primary school [joint with Federica Dragoni]
  • 2015/16: Conor Hunt (BSc project): Representation theory of finite groups
  • 2015/16: Abigail Dowler (BSc project): Confidence, engagement and attainment in mathematics [joint with Rob Wilson]
  • 2014/15: Ben Jones (BSc project): Representation theory of finite groups
  • 2013/14: Ryan Jones (BSc project): Representation theory of finite groups


  • Lorenzo Di Biase (second supervisor, main supervisor Timothy Logvinenko) PhD (Algebraic Geometry)


  • Stephen Moore (second supervisor, main supervisor David Evans) PhD: Non-Semisimple Planar Algebras
  • Claire Shelly (second supervisor, main supervisor David Evans) PhD 2013: Type III subfactors and planar algebras

My work has revolved around the theory of modular invariant partition functions for integrable statistical mechanical models associated to (rank two) Lie groups and related constructions of braided subfactors or modular tensor categories. The theory of alpha induction associates a modular invariant to a braided subfactor. Most of my research has focused on braided subfactors associated to the SU(3) modular invariants, although more recently I have focused on modular invariants for other rank two Lie groups, namely Sp(2), SO(5) and G2.

In particular I have studied various invariants associated with these SU(3) braided subfactors. This included the computation of Ocneanu cells for the representation graphs which label the modular invariants, which we call the SU(3) ADE graphs. This led to the realisation of the SU(3) modular invariants by braided subfactors. Another direction was the formulation of A2-planar algebras which captured the structure contained in the subfactor double complex associated to the SU(3) ADE graphs and a description of certain modules over these A2-planar algebras. I have studied spectral measures for the SU(3) ADE graphs. In another direction I have constructed the Jacobi algebras, or almost Calabi-Yau algebras, associated to these SU(3) ADE graphs, and determined certain homological invariants of these algebras.

More recently I have sought to investigate similar invariants associated to braided subfactors for other rank two Lie groups, namely Sp(2), SO(5) and G2.

My ArXiv Articles

Conferences organised

  • LMS-WIMCS Workshop on Cluster Algebras and Preprojective Algebras, Cardiff, 17–18 October 2014
  • INI-WIMCS Meeting on Noncommutative Geometry, Cardiff, 16–20 April 2012 (local organiser with David Evans, Otgonbayar Uuye)
  • WIMCS Workshop on Higher Gauge Theory, TQFT's and Categorification, Cardiff, 9–10 May 2011 (with David Evans Tim Porter)
  • EU-NCG Focused Semester on Mathematical Physics, Cardiff, February – June 2010 (with David Evans).