The Archimedeans - Cambridge University Mathematical Society


Unless otherwise stated, the talks are held at 7pm in MR2 at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences (the CMS), Wilberforce Road.

To view past events, please visit the Past Events page.

Lent 2017

28th JanuaryBezout's theorem as a pathway to algebraic geometry, Dr. Julian Holstein (Lancaster)

In how many points do two curves in the plane intersect? This question has a very nice answer that is unfortunately not entirely true. But sometimes in mathematics the answer to a question is so good that it is worth keeping, even if it is not correct. The new challenge is then to ask the question in a better way.

To find the right question in this case we will take a brief tour of algebraic geometry, meeting both classical and modern ideals. If time permits we will even catch a brief glimpse of the cutting edge of theory in algebraic geometry.
24th January
Board Games and Pizza Night

Traditionally well attended and popular with members, this event is a great way to relax for a couple of hours and get some tasty pizza!
3rd FebruaryManifolds, Prof. Ciprian Manolescu (UCLA)

Manifolds (spaces that look locally like R^n), are the basic objects of study in topology. In this talk I will describe what is known about their classification. I will mention the different versions of Poincare conjecture, and also strange phenomena that appear in high dimensions: exotic smooth structures on the same manifold, and manifolds that cannot be triangulated.
7th February
NCR, Pembroke College
Movie night

The film will probably have some (possibly tenuous) link to maths...
24th FebruaryUniversal Properties: a categorical look at undergraduate algebra and topology, Dr. Julia Godecke (DPMMS)

Mostly without knowing, you have all already met lots of objects with universal properties throughout your undergraduate courses. Working with the universal property of an object rather than its concrete implementation can have huge benefits: it gives an implementation-independent definition, which can therefore be used in many different mathematical areas at once. It also gives much greater conceptual clarity about the object in question and what role it plays within its area. In general, the concept of universal property is a very important one and crops up in nearly all areas of pure mathematics. My own field of category theory is the natural setting to investigate this concept. After a short introduction to the ideas of category theory I will spend most of the talk highlighting the universal properties of objects you are very familiar with, such as cartesian products and quotients, as well as giving you insight into a few you may not yet have met.

Slides of the presentation can be found here.
3rd MarchTo shake or to stir: The Mathematics of Mixing, Prof. Colm-cille P. Caulfield (DAMTP)

Understanding the mixing of fluids of different properties is a fundamentally important challenge with applications from making of the perfect cocktail to describing the transport of heat and pollutants in the atmosphere and oceans. The underlying mathematics has a beauty all its own, due not least to a subtle and non-intuitive interplay and between a wide range of physical processes and the inherently nonlinear dynamics of fluid motion. In this talk, I both review some of the key successes in the mathematical description of mixing, and also introduce some facinating open questions.
5th March
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel
Annual Dinner
7th MarchBraids, surfaces, and homology-type invariants, Elisenda Girgsby (Boston College)

It has long been known that closed braids arise naturally when studying the vanishing sets of complex 2-variable polynomials. On the other hand, it should come as no surprise that not every closed braid arises in this way. Indeed, Lee Rudolph has given us a clean topological characterization of those that do: they are precisely the braids whose associated mapping classes satisfy a condition he calls quasipositivity. I'll remind you what this all means, then--time permitting--how the algebraic structure of some braid and link invariants coming from ideas in physics can say things about quasipositivity and other related notions.
10th MarchAggregation and coalescence, Prof. James Norris (Statslab)

I will show how a simple model for random planar aggregation leads via some complex analysis to a continuum of coalescing random walks.

Jane Street Cantab Capital Metaswitch