Optimal transport and cell differentiation
Optimal transport is a rich theory for comparing distributions, with both deep mathematics and application ranging from 18th century fortification planning to computer graphics. I will tie its mathematical story to a biological one, on the differentiation of cells from pluripotency to specialized functional types. First the mathematics can support the biology: optimal transport is an apt tool for linking experimental samples across a developmental time course. Then the biology can inspire new mathematics: based on the branching structure expected in differentiation pathways, we can find a regularization method that dramatically improves the statistical performance of optimal transport.
Geometry and Arithmetic
For a family of polynomials in several variables with integral coefficients, the Weil conjectures give a surprising relationship between the geometry of the complex-valued roots of these polynomials and the number of roots of these polynomials "modulo p". I will give an introduction to this circle of results and try to explain how they are used in modern research.