Forthcoming Seminars

Please note that the list below only shows forthcoming events, which may not include regular events that have not yet been entered for the forthcoming term. Please see the past events page for a list of all seminar series that the department has on offer.

Past events in this series
25 January 2018
Mark McCartney

James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879) was, by any measure, a natural philosopher of the first rank who made wide-ranging contributions to science. He also, however, wrote poetry.

In this talk examples of Maxwell’s poetry will be discussed in the context of a biographical sketch. It will be  argued that not only was Maxwell a good poet, but that his poetry enriches our view of his life and its intellectual context.

  • History of Mathematics
26 January 2018

In the 12 months from the middle of June 2016 to the middle of June 2017, a number of events occurred in a relatively short period of time, all of which either had, or had the potential to have,  a considerably volatile impact upon financial markets. The events referred to here are the Brexit  referendum (23 June 2016), the US election (8 November 2016), the 2017 French elections (23 April and 7 May 2017) and the surprise 2017 UK parliamentary election (8 June 2017). 
All of these events - the Brexit referendum and the Trump election in particular - were notable both for their impact upon financial markets after the event and the degree to which the markets failed to anticipate these events. A natural question to ask is whether these could have been predicted, given information freely available in the financial markets beforehand. In this talk, we focus on market expectations for price action around Brexit and the Trump election, based on information available in the traded foreign exchange options market. We also investigate the horizon date of 30 March 2019, when the two year time window that started with the Article 50 notification on 29 March 2017 will terminate.
Mathematically, we construct a mixture model corresponding to two scenarios for the GBPUSD exchange rate after the referendum vote, one scenario for “remain” and one for “leave”. Calibrating this model to four months of market data, from 24 February to 22 June 2016, we find that a “leave” vote was associated with a predicted devaluation of the British pound to approximately 1.37 USD per GBP, a 4.5% devaluation, and quite consistent with the observed post-referendum exchange rate move down from 1.4877 to 1.3622. We find similar predictive power for USDMXN in the case of the 2016 US presidential election. We argue that we can apply the same bimodal mixture model technique to construct two states of the world corresponding to soft Brexit (continued access to the single market) and hard Brexit (failure of negotiations in this regard).

  • Mathematical Finance Internal Seminar
26 January 2018

I will discuss a new theoretical approach to information and decisions in signalling systems and relate this to new experimental results about the NF-kappaB signalling system. NF-kappaB is an exemplar system that controls inflammation and in different contexts has varying effects on cell death and cell division. It is commonly claimed that it is information processing hub, taking in signals about the infection and stress status of the tissue environment and as a consequence of the oscillations, transmitting higher amounts of information to the hundreds of genes it controls. My aim is to develop a conceptual and mathematical framework to enable a rigorous quantifiable discussion of information in this context in order to follow Francis Crick's counsel that it is better in biology to follow the flow of information than those of matter or energy. In my approach the value of the information in the signalling system is defined by how well it can be used to make the "correct decisions" when those "decisions" are made by molecular networks. As part of this I will introduce a new mathematical method for the analysis and simulation of large stochastic non-linear oscillating systems. This allows an analytic analysis of the stochastic relationship between input and response and shows that for tightly-coupled systems like those based on current models for signalling systems, clocks, and the cell cycle this relationship is highly constrained and non-generic.

  • Mathematical Biology and Ecology Seminar
26 January 2018

In contemporary ecology and mathematical biology undergraduate courses, textbooks focus on competition and predation models despite it being accepted that most species on Earth are involved in mutualist relationships. Mutualism is usually discussed more briefly in texts, often from an observational perspective, and obligate mutualism mostly not at all. Part of the reason for this is the lack of a simple math model to successfully explain the observations. Traditionally, particular nonlinearities  are used, which produce a variety of apparently disparate models.

The failure of the traditional linear model to describe coexisting mutualists has been documented from May (1973) through Murray (2001) to Bronstein (2015). Here we argue that this could be because of the use of carrying capacity, and propose the use of a nutrient pool instead, which implies the need for an autotroph (e.g. a plant) that converts nutrients into living resources for higher trophic levels. We show that such a linear model can successfully explain the major features of obligate mutualism when simple expressions for obligated growth are included.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar
26 January 2018

A panel discussion and Q&A, looking at some of the challenges and opportunities available for mathematicians outside universities. Featuring:

Madeleine Copin – North London Collegiate School
Josephine French – Health Data Insight, working in partnership with Public Health England
Martin Gould – Spotify
Dan Jones – Quadrature Capital
Adam Sardar – e-therapeutics

29 January 2018
Andreas Braun

M-theory on K3 surfaces and Heterotic Strings on T^3 give rise to dual theories in 7 dimensions. Applying this duality fibre-wise is expected to connect G2 manifolds with Calabi-Yau threefolds (together with vector bundles). We make these ideas explicit for a class of G2 manifolds realized as twisted connected sums and prove the equivalence of the spectra of the dual theories. This naturally gives us examples of singular TCS G2 manifolds realizing non-abelian gauge theories with non-chiral matter.

  • String Theory Seminar
29 January 2018

First, we will discuss sequences of closed minimal hypersurfaces (in closed Riemannian manifolds of dimension up to 7) that have uniformly bounded index and area. In particular, we explain a bubbling result which yields a bound on the total curvature along the sequence and, as a consequence, topological control in terms of index and area. We then specialise to minimal surfaces in ambient manifolds of dimension 3, where we use the bubbling analysis to obtain smooth multiplicity-one convergence under bounds on the index and genus. This is joint work with Lucas Ambrozio, Alessandro Carlotto, and Ben Sharp

  • Geometry and Analysis Seminar


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