# Faculty News Briefs

### January 2009

Professor Franz Pedit gave a one-hour plenary talk entitled *Global Aspects of Integrable Surface Geometry* at the 16th Osaka City University International Academic Symposium 2008 on Riemann Surfaces, Harmonic Maps and Visualization. The symposium took place during the period December 15ñ20, 2008.

Professor Eric Sommers gave a talk entitled *A Duality for Nilpotent Orbits* at the Taipei Workshop for Lie Theory at the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan. The workskop took place during the period December 28ñ30, 2008.

Professor Jenia Tevelev gave talks at the Brown University Algebraic Geometry Seminar on November 21, 2008 and at the MIT-Harvard Algebraic Geometry Seminar on December 2, 2008. The title of both talks was *Effective Divisors and Curves on Moduli Spaces of Curves.*

### December 2008

On November 14, 2008 Professor Paul Gunnells gave a talk entitled *Weyl Group Multiple Dirichlet Series* in the Everytopic seminar at Brandeis University.

On November 13, 2008 Professor Daeyoung Kim gave an invited talk in the Statistics and Probability Seminar in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Boston University. The title of his talk was *Mixture Inference at the Weak Identifiability.*

In November 2008 Professor Rob Kusner delivered two lectures at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. His colloquium lecture was entitled *Triangulations of Surfaces, Flat Structures, and Abelís Theorem,* and his Felix Klein Seminar lecture the following day was entitled *Moduli Spaces of Complex Projective Structures and CMC Surfaces.* The latter talk was also the topic of a lectures series by Rob at GANG in November.

Professor Michael Lavine recently joined the editorial board of the Journal of Probability and Statistics, a new, on-line journal.

Professor Franz Pedit gave an invited plenary talk at Osaka City University International Academic Symposium on *Riemann Surfaces, Harmonic Maps and Visualization,* which took place during the period December 15ñ20, 2008.

On November 13, 2008 Professor Emeritus Floyd Williams gave an invited colloquium lecture at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. The title of his lecture was *Three Tenors: Ramanujan, Rademacher, and Einstein ó a Convergence of Their Music.*

### November 2008

On October 2, 2008 Professor Tom Braden gave a colloquium at Reed College entitled *The Geometry of Bar-and-Joint Machines.*

On November 1, 2008 Professor Markos Katsoulakis attended the workshop on Scientific Challenges in Solar Energy Conversion and Storage, which was held at the Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications in Minneapolis, MN. He also gave an invited talk at the Mathematical Biosciences Institute workshop on Multiscale Methods in Biology held during the period November 2ñ4, 2008.

Professor Michael Lavine gave the following six talks during October: *What Is Bayesian Statistics and Why Everything Else Is Wrong?* at Haverford College; *Spike Trains and Human Brains* at Haverford College and Smith College; and *State Space Models for Optical Images of the Brain During Surgery* at Penn State University, University of Pennsylvania, and Virginia Tech. Professor Lavine was a Distinguished Visitor at Haverford College.

Professor Eyal Markman and Professor Jenia Tevelev organized a Special Session on Algebraic Geometry during the AMS 2008 Fall Eastern Section Meeting in Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, which took place October 11ñ12, 2008. They had an excellent line-up of speakers giving one-hour talks on current trends in algebraic geometry. The speakers included UMass postdocs Sukhendu Mehrotra and Giancarlo Urzua. The titles of their talks were *Deformations of Fourier-Mukai Equivalences* (Mehrotra) and *Simply Connected Random Surfaces* (Urzua). Eyal Markman gave a talk entitled *Modular Galois Covers Associated to Symplectic Resolutions of Singularities.* The full program with abstracts is available at http://www.ams.org/amsmtgs/2154_program_ss1.html.

During the period October 14ñ17, 2008 Professor Nathaniel Whitaker participated in a panel at a conference at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, CA. The panel was entitled *Promoting Diversity at the Graduate Level in Mathematics: a National Forum.*

On October 15, 2008 Professor Emeritus Floyd Williams addressed two sixth grades classes at the STEM Middle Academy in Springfield, MA; STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This new school, which consists of 100 students, all of them sixth graders, has been heavily advertised on television. In his address Floyd spoke to about half the students in the school as well as teachers regarding careers in science and mathematics, applications of science and mathematics to everyday life, and the development of good study habits. He also entertained a wide range of questions.

On October 24, 2008 Professor HongKun Zhang gave a 45-minute talk at the Semi-Annual Workshop in Dynamical Systems and Related Topics at Penn State University. Her talk was entitled *Decay of Correlations for Hyperbolic Systems with Singularities.*

### October 2008

Professor Paul Gunnells attended the workshop *Number Theory and Physics at the Crossroads,* which took place September 21ñ26, 2008 at the Banff International Research Station in Banff, Alberta, Canada. He gave a talk entitled *Weyl Group Multiple Dirichlet Series.*

Professor Emeritus Jim Humphreys gave one of three short courses, which were presented September 15ñ19, 2008 at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. under the auspices of LMS-EPSRC. The overall theme was *Algebraic Groups and Related Topics,* and Jimís lectures were entitled *Modular Representations of Lie Algebras.* Students came from universities in the U.K. and elsewhere in the European Union. Further information is available at http://web.mat.bham.ac.uk/S.M.Goodwin/shortcourse/.

Professor Markos Katsoulakis is an invited speaker at the conference *Stochastic Differential Equations: Models and Numerics,* which will be held October 20ñ22, 2008 in Stockholm, Sweden at the Royal Institute of Technology.

### September 2008

During the period July 21ñ26, 2008 Professor Eduardo Cattani attended the conference on *Algebraic Geometry, D-modules, Foliations and Their Interactions,* which was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the conference he gave a plenary talk entitled *Mixed Lefschetz Theorems and Hodge-Riemann Bilinear Relations: Geometry and Combinatorics.*

Professor Emeritus Edward Connors was named chair of the Karl Menger Prize Committee of the American Mathematical Society. This three-member committee is charged to select the winners in mathematics at the International Science and Engineering Fair sponsored by Intel. Several past winners of this competition for scientifically talented, secondary-school youth have eventually won Nobel Prizes and other prestigious honors.

Professor Richard S. Ellis and Professor Bruce Turkington were both invited lecturers at Ecole díEte de Physique Theorique in Les Houches, France. The aim of this month-long summer school was to present recent developments in the theoretical and experimental study of long-range, interacting systems. Twelve lecturers, approximately sixty graduate and postdoctoral students, and a number of other visitors participated. Richard lectured on the theory of large deviations and applications to statistical mechanics during the period August 5ñ8, 2008, and Bruce lectured on the statistical mechanics of two-dimensional turbulence and its geophysical applications during the period August 18ñ22, 2008.

Professor Paul Gunnells spoke at the workshop on *Multiple Dirichlet Series and Applications to Automorphic Forms,* which took place August 4ñ8, 2008 at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Professor Markos Katsoulakis received a CDI-Type II grant from the National Science Foundation for $1,600,000. The participating institutions are UMass Amherst, University of Delaware, and University of Tennessee. The title of the grant is *Collaborative Research CDI-Type II: Hierarchical Stochastic Algorithms for Materials Engineering.* That the competition for these grants was extremely keen can be seen from the fact that throughout all the science and engineering divisions of NSF only seven such grants were funded. A new NSF initiative, CDI is an acronym for Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation.

Taking advantage of his stay at the University of Heidelberg as a Humboldt Fellow, Professor Panos Kevrekidis had a very busy summer. During the period July 21ñ24, 2008, he attended the conference on Nonlinear Waves in Rome, then went to Porto for the Nonlinear Science and Complexity meeting held there during the period July 27ñ30, and finally traveled to Athens for the Nonlinear Science and Complexity Summer School and Workshop held there during the period July 30 ñ August 2. In these meetings he delivered three different lectures on the following topics: discrete nonlinear Schroedinger equations and their solitary waves in Rome, double well potentials in optics and atomic physics in Porto, and examples of discreteness from granular media, layered optical media, and Bose-Einstein condensates in Athens.

During June and July, 2008 Professor Rob Kusner led a workshop at the Aspen Center for Physics on the *Geometry of Condensed Matter.* Earlier in June, he traveled to the University of Utah and to MSRI in Berkeley to work with collaborators. Later in July he delivered a plenary lecture at the IMA workshop on *Geometrical Singularities and Singular Geometries* and made several shorter presentations there as well. On his return trip, he visited the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University, where he led a morning-long discussion on the *Geometry and Topology of Blue Phases.*

During the summer of 2008 Professor William Meeks gave talks at a geometry conference in Rome, in the geometry seminar at the University of Granada in Granada, Spain, at the conference on group actions at UMass Amherst, and in the geometry seminar at IMPA in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In November he will give colloquium talks at UMass Amherst and at Brandeis University.

Professor Franz Pedit gave the following four invited talks: *Global Aspects of Integrable Surface Geometry* at the conference on *Recent Advances in Geometry and Topology of Surfaces,* La Sapienza, Rome, Italy, May 28ñ30, 2008; *Global Aspects of Integrable Surface Geometry* at the conference on *Conformal Geometry: Invariant Theory and the Variational Method,* Station Biologique de Roscoff (CNRS), Roscoff , France, June 30 ñ July 4, 2008; *Why are Soap Bubbles Round?* for the Children University Program at Tuebingen University, June 17, 2008; and *Geometry and Space* for the Summer University Program at Tuebingen University, July 8, 2008. He also attended a meeting at the Mathematics Research Institute in Oberwolfach, Germany on Geometry, July 28 ñ August 1, 2008.

Professor Jenia Tevelev participated in the conference on *Geometric Invariant Theory,* which was held in Goettingen, Germany during the period June 2ñ6, 2008, and in the workshop on *Classical Algebraic Geometry,* which was held at the Mathematics Research Institute in Oberwalfach, Germany during the period June 9-13, 2008. The title of his talks at both the conference and the workshop was *Chow, Moduli-Theoretic, and Tropical Quotients of Grassmannians.* His paper entitled *Elimination Theory for Tropical Varieties,* written jointly with Bernd Sturmfels, was published in Mathematical Research Letters, volume 15, number 3 (2008).

During the period June 16ñ27, 2008 Professor Emeritus Floyd Williams presented a Graduate Workshop at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) at the University of California, Berkeley. The workshop, entitled *A Window into Zeta and Modular Physics,* was attended by 33 gifted graduate students. It featured two daily lectures and a speakerís seminar in which four invited speakers gave advanced lectures on their current research. The workshop also featured special lectures by graduate students including Floydís two graduate students, Shabnam Beheshti and Jennie DíAmbroise. Shabnamís lecture was entitled * How a Soliton Illuminates a Black Hole,* and Jennieís lecture was entitled *On Relating d-Dimensional Cosmology to Bose-Einstein Condensates.* Floydís lecture at the speakerís seminar was entitled *Quantum Corrections to Black Hole Entropy Via a Deformation of the Patterson-Selberg Zeta Function.* Given the apparent success of the workshop, MSRI invited Floyd to edit a book entitled A Window into Zeta and Modular Physics. To be published by MSRI, the book will feature the daily lectures, the lectures given at the speakerís seminar, and the four special lectures by graduate students.