Seminars and Colloquia by Series

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Elizabeth Meckes , Case Western Reserve University , Organizer: Kirsten Wickelgren
Dvoretzky's theorem tells us that if we put an arbitrary norm on n-dimensional Euclidean space, no matter what that normed space is like, if we pass to subspaces of dimension about log(n), the space looks pretty much Euclidean.  A related measure-theoretic phenomenon has long been observed:the (one-dimensional) marginals of many natural high-dimensional probability distributions look about Gaussian. A natural question is whether this phenomenon persists for k-dimensional marginals for k growing with n, and if so, for how large a k? In this talk I will discuss a result showing that the phenomenon does indeed persist if k less than 2log(n)/log(log(n)), and that this bound is sharp (even the 2!).  The talk will not assume much background beyond basic probability and analysis; in particular, no prior knowledge of Dvoretzky's theorem is needed.
Friday, December 5, 2014 - 16:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Danny Calegari , University of Chicago , Organizer: John Etnyre

Kick-off of the <a href="">Tech Topology Conference</a>, December 5-7, 2014

In 1985, Barnsley and Harrington defined a "Mandelbrot Set" M for pairs of similarities -- this is the set of complex numbers z with norm less than 1 for which the limit set of the semigroup generated by the similarities x -> zx and x -> z(x-1)+1 is connected. Equivalently, M is the closure of the set of roots of polynomials with coefficients in {-1,0,1}. Barnsley and Harrington already noted the (numerically apparent) existence of infinitely many small "holes" in M, and conjectured that these holes were genuine. These holes are very interesting, since they are "exotic" components of the space of (2 generator) Schottky semigroups. The existence of at least one hole was rigorously confirmed by Bandt in 2002, but his methods were not strong enough to show the existence of infinitely many holes; one difficulty with his approach was that he was not able to understand the interior points of M, and on the basis of numerical evidence he conjectured that the interior points are dense away from the real axis. We introduce the technique of traps to construct and certify interior points of M, and use them to prove Bandt's Conjecture. Furthermore, our techniques let us certify the existence of infinitely many holes in M. This is joint work with Sarah Koch and Alden Walker.
Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Sybilla Beckman , Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics, UGA , , Organizer:
In this presentation I will show some of the surprising depth and complexity of elementary- and middle-grades mathematics, much of which has been revealed by detailed studies into how students think about mathematical ideas. In turn, research into students' thinking has led to the development of teaching-learning paths at the elementary grades, which are reflected in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. These teaching-learning paths are widely used in mathematically high-performing countries but are not well understood in this country. At the middle grades, ideas surrounding ratio and proportional relationships are critical and central to all STEM disciplines, but research is needed into how students and teachers can reason about these ideas. Although research in mathematics education is necessary, it is not sufficient for solving our educational problems. For the mathematics teaching profession to be strong, we need a system in which all of us who teach mathematics, at any level, take collective ownership of and responsibility for mathematics teaching. 
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Luis Vega , BCAM-Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (Scientific Director) and University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU , , Organizer:
In the first part of the talk I shall present a linear model based on the Schrodinger equation with constant coefficient and periodic boundary conditions that explains the so-called Talbot effect in optics. In the second part I will make a connection of this Talbot effect with turbulence through the Schrodinger map which is a geometric non-linear partial differential equation.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Professor Andre Martinez-Finkelshtein , Universidad de Almería , Organizer: Martin Short
Random matrix theory (RMT) is a very active area of research and a greatsource of exciting and challenging problems for specialists in manybranches of analysis, spectral theory, probability and mathematicalphysics. The analysis of the eigenvalue distribution of many random matrix ensembles leads naturally to the concepts of determinantal point processes and to their particular case, biorthogonal ensembles, when the main object to study, the correlation kernel, can be written explicitly in terms of two sequences of mutually orthogonal functions.Another source of determinantal point processes is a class of stochasticmodels of particles following non-intersecting paths. In fact, theconnection of these models with the RMT is very tight: the eigenvalues of the so-called Gaussian Unitary Ensemble (GUE) and the distribution ofrandom particles performing a Brownian motion, departing and ending at the origin under condition that their paths never collide are, roughlyspeaking, statistically identical.A great challenge is the description of the detailed asymptotics of these processes when the size of the matrices (or the number of particles) grows infinitely large. This is needed, for instance, for verification of different forms of "universality" in the behavior of these models. One of the rapidly developing tools, based on the matrix Riemann-Hilbert characterization of  the correlation kernel, is the associated non-commutative steepest descent analysis of Deift and Zhou.Without going into technical details, some ideas behind this technique will be illustrated in the case of a model of squared Bessel nonintersectingpaths.
Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Ken Ono , Emory University , Organizer: Kirsten Wickelgren
The speaker will discuss recent work on Moonshine and the Rogers-Ramanujan identities. The Rogers-Ramanujan identities are two peculiar identities which express two infinite product modular forms as number theoretic q-series. These identities give rise to the Rogers-Ramanujan continued fraction, whose values at CM points are algebraic integral units. In recent work with Griffin and Warnaar, the speaker has obtained a comprehensive framework of identities for infinite product modular forms in terms of Hall-Littlewood q-series. This work characterizes those integral units that arise from this theory. In a related direction, the speaker revisits the classical Moonshine Theorem which asserts that the coefficients of the modular j-functions are dimensions of virtual characters for the Monster, the largest of the simple sporadic groups. There are 194 irreducible representations of the Monster, and it has been a longstanding open problem to determine the distribution of these representations in Moonshine. In joint work with Griffin and Duncan, the speaker has obtained exact formulas for these distributions.
Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Professor Albert Fathi , ENS-Lyon & IUF , Organizer: Martin Short
This is a joint work with Pierre Pageault. For a homeomorphism h of a compact space, a Lyapunov function is a real valued function that is non-increasing along orbits for h. By looking at simple dynamical systems(=homeomorphisms) on the circle, we will see that there are systems which are topologically conjugate and have Lyapunov functions with various regularity. This will lead us to define barriers analogous to the well known Peierls barrier or to the Maסי potential in Lagrangian systems. That will produce by analogy to Mather's theory of Lagrangian Systems an Aubry set which is the generalized recurrence set introduced in the 60's by Joe Auslander (via transfinite induction) and a Maסי set which is essentially Conley's chain recurrent set. No serious knowledge of Dynamical Systems is necessary to follow the lecture.
Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Professor Igor Pritsker , Oklahoma State University , Organizer: Martin Short
The area was essentially originated by the general question: How many zeros of a random polynomials are real? Kac showed that the expected number of real zeros for a polynomial with i.i.d. Gaussian coefficients is logarithmic in terms of the degree. Later, it was found that most of zeros of random polynomials are asymptotically uniformly distributed near the unit circumference (with probability one) under mild assumptions on the coefficients. Thus two main directions of research are related to the almost sure limits of the zero counting measures, and to the quantitative results on the expected number of zeros in various sets. We give estimates of the expected discrepancy between the zero counting measure and the normalized arclength on the unit circle. Similar results are established for polynomials with random coefficients spanned by various bases, e.g., by orthogonal polynomials. We show almost sure convergence of the zero counting measures to the corresponding equilibrium measures for associated sets in the plane, and quantify this convergence. Random coefficients may be dependent and need not have identical distributions in our results.
Friday, September 19, 2014 - 11:00 , Location: Skiles 005 , Professor Alberto Bressan , Penn State University , Organizer: Martin Short
The talk will survey the main definitions and properties of patchy vector fields and patchy feedbacks, with applications to asymptotic feedback stabilization and nearly optimal feedback control design. Stability properties for discontinuous ODEs and robustness of patchy feedbacks will also be discussed.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 15:30 , Location: Skiles 006 , Ravi Vakil , Stanford University , , Organizer: Joseph Rabinoff
Given some class of "geometric spaces", we can make a ring as follows. (i) (additive structure) When U is an open subset of such a space X, [X] = [U] + [(X \ U)] (ii) (multiplicative structure) [X x Y] = [X] [Y].In the algebraic setting, this ring (the "Grothendieck ring of varieties") contains surprising structure, connecting geometry to arithmetic and topology.  I will discuss some remarkable statements about this ring (both known and conjectural), and present new statements (again, both known and conjectural).  A motivating example will be polynomials in one variable. (This talk is intended for a broad audience.)  This is joint work with Melanie Matchett Wood.