Past Special Lecture

27 October 2015
17:30
Professor Peter McCullagh, FRS,
Abstract

In 1943 Fisher, together with Corbet and Williams, published a study on the relation between the number of species and the number of individuals, which has since been recognized as one of the most influential papers in 20th century ecology. It was a combination of empirical work backed up by a simple theoretical argument, which describes a sort of universal law governing random partitions, such as the celebrated Ewens partition whose original derivation flows from the Fisher-Wright model. This talk will discuss several empirical studies of a similar sort, including Taylor's law and recent work related to Fairfield-Smith's work on the variance of spatial averages.

15 May 2015
14:30
Lukasz Grabowski
Abstract

Two subsets A and B of R^n are equidecomposable if it is possible to partition A into pieces and rearrange them via isometries to form a partition of B. Motivated by what is nowadays known as Banach-Tarski paradox, Tarski asked if the unit square and the disc of unit area in R^2 are equidecomposable. 65 years later Laczkovich showed that they are, at least when the pieces are allowed to be non-measurable sets. I will talk about a joint work with A. Mathe and O. Pikhurko which implies in particular the existence of a measurable equidecomposition of circle and square in R^2.

15 May 2015
13:15
Jason Behrstock
Abstract

Divergence, thickness, and relative hyperbolicity are three geometric properties which determine aspects of the quasi-isometric geometry of a finitely generated group. We will discuss the basic properties of these notions and some of the relations between them. We will then then survey how these properties manifest in right-angled Coxeter groups and detail various ways to classify Coxeter groups using them.

This is joint work with Hagen and Sisto.

20 January 2015
17:00
to
18:30
Marcus du Sautoy, Ben Okri, Roger Penrose, Laura Marcus, and Elleke Boehmer
Abstract

“Narrative and Proof”, is an interdisciplinary discussion where one of the UK's leading scientists, Marcus du Sautoy, will argue that mathematical proofs are not just number-based, but also rely on narrative. He will be joined by author Ben Okri, mathematician Roger Penrose, and literature expert Laura Marcus, to consider how narrative shapes the sciences as well as the arts.

The discussion will be chaired by Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford, and will be followed by audience questions and a drinks reception.

The event will take place from 5 to 6:30 pm on Tuesday 20 January 2015 at the Mathematical Institute, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford. The event is free and open to all, but registration is recommended. 

Please click here to register.

This event is co-hosted by the Mathematical Institute and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), and celebrates the launch of TORCH’s Annual Headline Series 2014-15, Humanities and Science.
 

10 November 2014
17:00
Abstract

In highly concentrated surfactant solutions the surfactant molecules self-assemble into long flexible "wormy" structures. Properties of these wormlike micellar solutions make them ideal for use in oil recovery and in body care products (shampoo). These properties depend strongly on temperature and concentration conditions.   In solution the "worms" entangle, forming a network, but also continuously break and reform, thus earning the name ‘living polymers’. In flow these fluids exhibit spatial inhomogeneities,  shear-banding, and dynamic elastic recoil. In this talk a rheological equation of state that is capable of describing these fluids is described   The resultant governing  macroscale equations consist of a coupled nonlinear partial differential equation system.  Model predictions are presented, contrasted with experimental results, and contrasted with predictions of other existing models.  Generalizations of the model to allow the capturing of  behaviors under changing concentration or temperature conditions, namely power law and stretched exponential relaxation as opposed to exponential relaxation, will be discussed and  particularly a mesoscale stochastic simulation network model will be presented.  

9 May 2014
14:30
Montserrat Casals-Ruiz
Abstract

In this talk we will discuss when one right-angled Artin group is a subgroup of another one and explain how this basic algebraic problem may provide answers to questions in geometric group theory and model theory such as classification of right-angled Artin groups up to quasi-isometries and universal equivalence.

9 May 2014
13:15
Nicolas Monod
Abstract
We know since almost a century that a ball can be decomposed into five pieces and these pieces rearranged so as to produce two balls of the same size as the original. This apparent paradox has led von Neumann to the notion of amenability which is now much studied in many areas of mathematics. However, the initial paradox has remained tied down to an elementary property of free groups of rotations for most of the 20th century. I will describe recent progress leading to new paradoxical groups.

Pages