Hopkins gives 2015 Brauer Lectures

image1The annual Alfred Brauer Lectures in Mathematics were given earlier this week by Michael Hopkins from Harvard University. His opening lecture on “Homotopy groups of spheres” was followed by a pair of more specialized lectures on “The Kervaire Invariant” and “The cobordism hypothesis.” Strong interest through the full series of lectures was evidenced by the crowded classroom for his third and final lecture.

Thank you to Jon Wahl for once again organizing the Brauer Lectures.

Donaldson gives 2014 Alfred Brauer Lectures


Sir Professor Simon Kirwan Donaldson, who recently became a permanent member of the Simons Center at Stony Brook, gives the Alfred Brauer Lectures in Mathematics this week, titled “Canonical Kähler metric and algebraic geometry.” The first of these three lectures was held yesterday afternoon, followed by a reception, with the remaining lectures today and tomorrow.

Professor Donaldson became internationally famous with his 1983 D. Phil. thesis “The Yang-Mills equations over Kähler manifolds,” which proved stunning new results about distinguishing differentiable structures on four-manifolds. This seminal work revolutionized the approach to geometry in dimension four, and led to his receiving the Fields Medal in 1986 (before he reached the age of 30). Through articles, books, and over 40 thesis students, he has influenced complex and symplectic geometry, in particular with recent work on Kähler metrics on manifolds, the topic of his Brauer Lectures.

Varchenko and Donaldson.jpg

Professor Donaldson (left) speaks with Professor Varchenko (right) at the reception following the first of his three lectures.

Besides his Fields Medal, Donaldson has among other honors won or shared the Crafoord Prize, Polya Prize, King Faisal Prize, and Shaw Prize. A Fellow of the Royal Society since 1986, he is also a Foreign Associate Member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the French Académie des Sciences.

The Alfred Brauer Fund was established by the Department of Mathematics in 1984 on the occasion of Dr. Brauer’s ninetieth birthday , and the Alfred Brauer Lectures began in 1985. The most recent Brauer Lecturers have been Peter Sarnak, János Kollár, Andrew Majda, Jeff Cheeger, Shing-Tung Yau, Percy Deift, Charles Fefferman, Claire Voisin, Alex Eskin, Gérard Laumon, Alexander Lubotzky, and Vaughan Jones.

A special thank you to Jon Wahl (pictured left below with Donaldson on right) for once again organizing this year’s Brauer Lectures.

Wahl and Donaldson

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Wahl invited lecturer at KAIST CMC School

BodyFile_530fe21768651Professor Jon Wahl joins three other international invited speakers this week in Daejeon, Korea for the 2014 KAIST CMC School on Algebraic Geometry, where he will speak on “Smoothing of complex normal surface singularities.”

Congratulations to Jon for this honor, and wishing him an enjoyable trip.





Faculty deliver invited lectures at conferences and summer schools – Part 2

Continuing our previous discussion about lectures given by Carolina Mathematics faculty at workshops and conferences this summer, today we highlight those activities from the second half of Summer 2013.

Joe Cima will be giving a one hour invited address at the conference “Invariant Subspaces of the Shift Operator” sponsored by the Canadian government at the Centre de Recherches Mathematiques in Montreal. He will also give a shorter talk at the CBMS conference at Clemson University.

Both Hans Christianson and Jeremy Marzuola spoke at the Joint International Meeting of the American Mathematical Society and the Romanian Mathematical Society, held in Alba Iulia, Romania.

Chris Jones has had a particularly eventful past month, first as a co-organizer of the INDAM Workshop on “Mathematical Paradigms of Climate Science” in Rome, Italy, a plenary lecture given at the First Annual CliMathNet Conference, held in Exeter, UK, and finally as an organizer of the Idealab on Tipping Points in the Climate System held at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics at Brown University.

Peter Mucha gave an invited talk on “Time-dependent generalizations of hub and authority scores” at the Workshop on Time-Dependent and Multiplex Networks at the University of Oxford.

Karl Petersen will speak in the special session on Symbolic Dynamics at the Mathematical Congress of the Americas in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Alexander Varchenko will present a series of three lectures on “Bethe algebras and geometric Langlands correspondence” at the GEOQUANT 2013 ESI School and Conference on Geometry and Quantization in Vienna, Austria.

Jon Wahl was one of the 9 invited speakers at the conference “A Singular Life“, honoring and marking the retirement of Eduard Looijenga with “a celebration of his achievements and influence in Dutch and International mathematics” in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Congratulations to all.

Faculty deliver invited lectures at conferences and summer schools

Summer for Carolina Mathematics includes a variety of courses taught in our summer sessions, many faculty busy working on their sponsored research, and an enhanced opportunity to travel to workshops and conferences to give lectures and meet with fellow mathematicians for collaborative activities.

Ivan Cherednik gave an invited lecture last month in the representation theory seminar at the Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu-Paris Rive Gauche. He is giving a similar lecture as one of four invited speakers on June 24th at the Institute Henri Poincaré.

Hans Christianson will speak later this month at the conference on “Quantum chaos, resonances and semi-classical measures” in Roscoff, France.

Jingfang Huang was a plenary speaker last week at The 1st Chongqing Workshop on Computational and Applied Mathematics.

Chris Jones gave one of the plenary lectures at the First Central Region Conference on Numerical Analysis and Dynamical Systems, held last month at the University of Kansas. He then gave a public lecture colloquium on ”Climate Change: the Science and the Math” at the University of Missouri and an invited lecture at a conference on “Topological Methods in Differential Equations and Nonautonomous Flows” in Florence, Italy. This week, he is one of the keynote speakers at the “Workshop on slow-fast dynamics: theory, numerics, application to life and earth sciences” in Barcelona.

Robert Lipshitz spoke last month at the “Low Dimensional Topology” workshop at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics.

Jeremy Marzuola is presently giving a topics course at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology on Nonlinear Waves this summer, with 8 lectures spread over 7 weeks on nonlinear bound states and their stability properties in the context of the Schrodinger equation. He will then speak later this month at the conference on “Quantum chaos, resonances and semi-classical measures” in Roscoff, France.

Laura Miller was an invited session plenary speaker at the symposium on “Microscale Interactions in Aquatic Environments” held at Les Houches Physics School in March. In recognition of her excellent interdisciplinary teaching, Miller has also been tapped to teach the mathematics “bridge” course this summer to the first cohort of incoming Chancellor’s Science Scholars.

Peter Mucha gave five lectures as one of the four keynote speakers at the Summer School on Network Science held last month at the Interdisciplinary Mathematics Institute at the University of South Carolina.

Karl Petersen gave an invited seminar talk last month at Ohio State. This week, he is attending the Automata Theory and Symbolic Dynamics Workshop at the University of British Columbia, where graduate student Kathleen Carroll will be talking about their joint work on symbolic dynamics (as part of her master’s project).

Lev Rozansky was an invited speaker at the conference on “Quantum Topology and Hyperbolic Geometry” held in Nha Trang, Vietnam last month.

Michael Taylor was an invited speaker at the “Analysis, Complex Geometry, and Mathematical Physics” conference at Columbia University last month.

Alexander Varchenko is one of the plenary speakers next week at the 21st International Conference on Integrable Systems and Quantum Symmetries in Prague. Later this month, he is also an invited speaker at the “Experimental and Theoretical Methods in Algebra, Geometry and Topology” conference in Romania.

Jon Wahl gave a mini-course series of 4 invited lectures at the conference “Geometry and Topology of Complex Singularities” in April 15-19, at CIRM, Luminy, near Marseille.

The above only covers the first half of this summer. We will come back to this topic again next month to discuss the faculty presentations scheduled for the second half of the summer. In the meantime, best wishes for pleasant travels to all involved.

Vaughan Jones gives Brauer Lectures

The 2013 Brauer Lectures were given earlier this week by Vaughan Jones, Professor of Mathematics at Vanderbilt University and Emeritus Professor at Berkeley. Jones’ three lectures on “Von Neumann Algebras” opened Monday, March 4th with an introductory lecture for a general mathematical audience, followed by more detailed explanations in subsequent lectures on Tuesday and Wednesday about how the subject has developed.

Vaughan Jones is famous for his surprising discovery of the so-called Jones polynomial, a fundamental invariant in knot theory that arose from work in the apparently unrelated subject of Von Neumann algebras. This work has revolutionized the ancient subject of knots, and has led as well to new developments in physics and biology. It was no surprise when Jones was awarded the Fields Medal in 1990 at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Kyoto. A native of New Zealand, Jones received his Docteurès Sciences in Mathematics under André Haefliger at the University of Geneva in 1979. He came to the US in 1980, holding positions at UCLA and Penn before becoming Professor of Mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley in 1985. He has been Professor at Vanderbilt since 2011. Besides his Fields Medal, Jones has won the New Zealand Government Science Medal and the Onsager Medal. His honors include election as Fellow of the Royal Society and U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and honorary membership in the London Mathematical Society. Long active on scientific advisory and editorial boards, he was in 2004 elected vice-president of the American Mathematical Society.

Alfred Brauer (1894–1985) had a profound impact on the Mathematics Department at UNC. Born in Germany, he held a position at the University of Berlin until the advent of the Nazis during the 1930s. He fled the country in 1939, accepting Hermann Weyl’s invitation to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He came to North Carolina in 1942, teaching here until his retirement in 1966. Alfred Brauer was honored by the University with the award of a Kenan professorship in 1959, the Tanner Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching in 1965, and an honorary doctor of legal letters degree in 1972.

To honor the memory of Alfred Brauer and to recognize his many contributions to the Mathematics Department at UNC, the Alfred Brauer Fund was established by the Department of Mathematics in 1984 on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday and the Alfred Brauer Lectures were begun in 1985. The most recent Brauer Lecturers have been Peter Sarnak, János Kollár, Andrew Majda, Jeff Cheeger, Shing-Tung Yau, Percy Deift, Charles Fefferman, Claire Voisin, Alex Eskin, Gérard Laumon, and Alexander Lubotzky.

From L to R: Department Chair Rich McLaughlin, Brauer Lecturer Vaughan Jones (sporting an appropriately local t-shirt), and Brauer Lectures organizer Jon Wahl

2011-12 Recap: Wahl delivers Sackler Distinguished Lectures in Mathematics

Professor Jonathan Wahl gave the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lectures in Mathematics at Tel Aviv University this past May, with lectures titled “Topology Versus Geometry of a Complex Singularity” and “Singular Points of Complex Surfaces – Geometry and Smoothing.”

The list of past Sackler lectures demonstrates their high standing and their wide-ranging nature throughout scientific fields. The list of celebrated mathematicians in the more complete history of the Sackler Distinguished Lectures in Mathematics further emphasizes the significant honor bestowed on Wahl in this invitation.

A hearty congratulations to Jon for this important international recognition.