Faculty News Briefs

June 2017

Professor Rob Kusner gave the Drexel University colloquium on 22 May - his topic was "The space of soap bubbles." At the end of the month he heads to the Aspen Center for Physics to lead a working group with Yoav Kallus (Santa Fe Institute) and Wöden Kusner (Vanderbilt University) on rope packing, which also a topic of the 3-week ACP workshop during their visit.

On Cinco de Mayo, Professor Ivan Mirkovic delivered the Brandeis-Harvard-MIT colloquium at Brandeis on "Generalized loop Grassmannians."

During 30 May - 3 June 2017, Professor Franz Pedit participated in the LMS Workshop Programme Variational Methods in Submanifold Theory at the University of York, where he spoke about "Classification of homogeneous Willmore 2-spheres in the n-sphere." Franz will be on sabbatical for the remainder of the year, serving as Research Professor at the TU-Berlin SFBTR109 (Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics).

News Briefs will return in September 2017 - have a great summer!

May 2017

During the week of 9-14 April, Assistant Professor Nestor Guillen participated in a 5-day workshop at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) in Alberta, Canada, which he organized in collaboration with Robert McCann (Toronto) and Jun Kitagawa (Michigan State). This meeting focused on the emerging topic of Generated Jacobian Equations, and it brought together researchers from across the world who work in diverse fields revolving around Partial Differential Equations, particularly Geometric Optics, Differential Geometry, Optimal Transport, and Economics. An archive of material related to the workshop – including the list of abstracts and videos of the talks – can be found here .

Visiting Assistant Professor Robin Koytcheff attended a 2-day conference on configuration spaces and spaces of knots at the University of Victoria (BC, Canada) for 6-7 April. On the second day he gave a talk titled "Configuration space integrals and integer-valued cohomology classes in spaces of knots and links."

VAP Jacob Matherne visited Smith College on 13 April, and gave a talk in their Math Lunch Talk Series titled "The linear algebra of non crossing spanning trees in a disk." During 26-30 April, he attended the Maurice Auslander Distinguished Lectures and International Conference at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where he lectured about "Combinatorial Fourier transform for Type A quiver representation varieties."

April 2017

Visiting Assistant Professor Stathis Charalampidis attended the Tenth IMACS International Conference on Nonlinear Evolution Equations and Wave Phenomena: Computation and Theory (29 March - 1 April). There he gave two invited talks, "Formation of rogue waves in nonlinear Schroedinger systems: Theory and Computation" and "Multi-component nonlinear waves in nonlinear Schroedinger systems," and he also organized a special session Nonlinear Waves: Mathematical Methods and Applications.

Between 24-28 March, VAP Jacob Matherne traveled to the University of Georgia, where he gave a talk in the Algebra Seminar titled "A Combinatorial Fourier transform for type A quiver representation varieties."

Sponsored by the JSPS Program Mathematical Science of Symmetry, Topology and Moduli, Professor Franz Pedit was invited to the 2nd OCAMI-KOBE-WASEDA Joint International Workshop on Differential Geometry and Integrable Systems in Japan during 9-19 March. He delivered two talks at Tokyo Metropolitan University on March 11 titled "Towards a constrained Willmore conjecture" and "Energy quantization of harmonic 2-spheres in non-compact (semi-Riemannian) symmetric spaces." On 14 and 17 March 14, Franz gave two more invited lectures at Osaka City University titled "Classification of Moebius homogeneous 2-spheres in the conformal n-sphere" and "Energy quantization of harmonic 2-spheres in non-compact (semi-Riemannian) symmetric spaces." He spoke again on the latter topic at the workshop Minimal surfaces: integrable systems and visualization held in Cork, Ireland, between 25-30 March.

VAP Yaping Yang attended the AMS Sectional Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, during 10-12 March. Based on joint work with Gufang Zhao, her talk "From homotopy theory to representation theory" was part of the special session Geometric Methods in Representation Theory.

Professor Hongkun Zhang was invited to give a colloquium talk 10 March at Tufts University on "Diffusion of Lorentz gas on scatterers with flat point." The same day, Visiting Assistant Professor Jianyu Chen spoke in the Tufts Dynamical Systems Seminar on "Statistical properties of one-dimensional expanding maps with singularities of low regularity."

In old news from last summer, grad students Rich Buckman and Andrew Havens attended two conferences:
Perspectives in topology and geometry of 4-manifolds (Inter University Center, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 6-10 June 2016), and
The 12th William Rowan Hamilton Geometry and Topology Workshop in Low-dimensional topology, complex and symplectic geometry (The Hamilton Mathematics Institute, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, 22-26 August 2016).

And in even older news, Professor Rob Kusner was invited to write the cover article "Willmore Bending Energy on the Space of Surfaces" for the Emissary about some of the topics at the MSRI Spring 2016 Program on Differential Geometry, where he was a semester-long Research Professor.

March 2017

Professor Erin Conlon delivered the keynote address "Parallel Markov Chain Monte Carlo Methods for Bayesian Analysis of Big Data" at the Heidelberg University Workshop on Monte Carlo Methods and Big Data in Heidelberg, Germany, 10-11 February 2017.

During 31 January - 1 February, Associate Professor Krista J Gile participated in a consultation on Population Size Estimation in Hard-to-Reach High-Risk Populations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Visiting Assistant Professor Robin Koytcheff gave two research-related talks last month: “From linking numbers to Taylor towers” (University at Albany, Monday 30 January) and “Knots, links, linking numbers, and generalizations” (West Chester University, Tuesday 21 February).

In January, Professor Ivan Mirkovic lectured in the Number Theory and the Representation Theory seminars at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. He also gave three talks during the 16-27 January workshop on Geometry and Representation Theory at the Schrödinger Institute in Vienna, Austria.

As part of its THEMATIC MONTH ON DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS AND INTERACTIONS, Professor HongKun Zhang was invited to participate in two workshops at CIRM Luminy (Centre International de Rencontres Mathématiques) in the environs of Marseille, France, between 13-24 February:

Teichmüller Space, Polygonal Billiards, Interval Exchanges

Non-Uniformly Hyperbolic Dynamical Systems, Coupling and Renewal Theory ;

in the latter, she delivered a talk on "Diffusion behavior of Lorentz gas with flat points" based on her two recent publications.

On 23 February, the faculty adopted by unanimous vote the following statement on equity, inclusion and diversity:

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics includes and serves faculty, staff, and students from a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds. It has long been a pillar of academic thought that diversity of perspectives fosters enhanced ability to advance science. We know that having a department of teachers, mentors, staff, researchers, and colleagues from a range of personal and professional backgrounds also enhances our ability to effectively serve our educational mission. We embrace the diversity of our department and community, including persons of varying age, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender, gender identity, geographic region, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.

February 2017

Professors Tom Braden and Eric Sommers, as well as Visiting Assistant Professor Jacob Matherne, attended the 2017 Joint Math Meetings which took place 5-8 January in Atlanta, Georgia. Each spoke in the special session on Representations and Related Geometry in Lie Theory. Tom's talk was titled "A sufficient condition for a category of perverse sheaves to be highest weight," while Eric's was "Functions on nilpotent orbit covers," and Jacob's was "A combinatorial Fourier transform for quiver representation varieties in type A." Matherne spoke on this topic earlier in a 2 January research seminar at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune, India, and later at the Erwin Schröedinger Institute in Vienna, Austria, where he attended the Geometry and Representation Theory workshop 16-27 January. While in Pune, Jacob also talked about countability and uncountability with 8th, 9th, and 10th graders at the New English School, and he discussed careers in mathematics with beginning undergraduates at Modern College.

Professor Franz Pedit gave an inaugural address at the vernissage for the University of Tuebingen's perpetual exhibition Mind and Shape on 19 January 2017. A trio of computer graphic images - "Dini Surface, Tetranoid, and Twizzled Torus" - produced by Dr. Nicholas Schmitt (who was Prof. Rob Kusner's first Ph.D. student at UMass) were permanently loaned to the exhibition. Franz also received funding (with Michael Wolf from Rice University) to co-organize a 5-day workshop for 42 prticipants on Higgs Bundles and Harmonic Maps of Riemann Surfaces at Casa Matematica Oaxaca, Mexico, scheduled for 1-6 July 2018.

On 2 December 2016, Professor HongKun Zhang delivered an invited Fields Dynamics Day talk on "Optimal bounds on correlation decay rates for nonuniformly hyperbolic systems" at the Fields Institute in Toronto, Canada. This event brings together experts in the field of dynamical systems to report on the their latest advances. The speakers reflect the broad influence of dynamical systems in all fields of mathematics, with a common theme being the relation between dynamical systems and probability theory. She also co-organized a Special Section on Stochastic Properties of Dynamical Systems with Jacopo De Simoi and Ke Zhang (both from U. Toronto) at the 2-4 December 2016 Canadian Mathematical Society winter meeting in Niagara Falls. Dmitry Dolgopyat, a leading expert in dynamical systems from U. Maryland, was among the 13 mathematicians who gave talks in this special section. Dmitry and HongKun (together with Mark Demers and Konstantin Khanin) received funding to hold a workshop on New Developments in Open Dynamical Systems and Their Applications at the Banff International Research Station, scheduled for 18-23 March 2018.

A group of faculty, staff, and students in the department has formed a Diversity Committee to celebrate our diverse population. For more information - or to join the group - please contact Professor Krista J Gile.

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