Forthcoming events in this series

Fri, 20 Jan 2023

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### Prime numbers: Techniques, results and questions

James Maynard
(Oxford University )
Abstract

The basic question in prime number theory is to try to understand the number of primes in some interesting set of integers. Unfortunately many of the most basic and natural examples are famous open problems which are over 100 years old!

We aim to give an accessible survey of (a selection of) the main results and techniques in prime number theory. In particular we highlight progress on some of these famous problems, as well as a selection of our favourite problems for future progress.

Fri, 02 Dec 2022

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### Strong cosmic censorship versus Λ

Mihalis Dafermos
(Cambridge)
Abstract
The strong cosmic censorship conjecture is a fundamental open problem in classical general relativity, first put forth by Roger Penrose in the early 70s. This is essentially the question of whether general relativity is a deterministic theory. Perhaps the most exciting arena where the validity of the conjecture is challenged is the interior of rotating black holes, and there has been a lot of work in the past 50 years in identifying mechanisms ensuring that at least some formulation of the conjecture be true. It turns out that when a nonzero cosmological constant Λ is added to the Einstein equations, these underlying mechanisms change in an unexpected way, and the validity of the conjecture depends on a detailed understanding of subtle aspects of black hole scattering theory, surprisingly involving, in the case of negative Λ, some number theory. Does strong cosmic censorship survive the challenge of non-zero Λ? This talk will try to address this Question!
Fri, 18 Nov 2022
16:00
L1

### Fluid-boundary interaction: confinement effects, stratification and transport

Roberto Camassa
(University of North Carolina)
Further Information

Roberto Camassa is the Kenan Professor of Mathematics in the College of Arts & Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll. This year he earned the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics’ Kruskal Prize for his work to advance the understanding of nonlinear wave evolution.

The colloquium is followed by a drinks reception in the common room.

Abstract

Arguably some of the most interesting phenomena in fluid dynamics, both from a mathematical and a physical perspective, stem from the interplay between a fluid and its boundaries. This talk will present some examples of how boundary effects lead to remarkable outcomes.  Singularities can form in finite time as a consequence of the continuum assumption when material surfaces are in smooth contact with horizontal boundaries of a fluid under gravity. For fluids with chemical solutes, the presence of boundaries impermeable to diffusion adds further dynamics which can give rise to self-induced flows and the formation of coherent structures out of scattered assemblies of immersed bodies. These effects can be analytically and numerically predicted by simple mathematical models and observed in “simple” experimental setups.

Fri, 27 May 2022

15:00 - 16:00
L2

### The nonlinear stability of Kerr for small angular momentum

Sergiu Klainerman
(Princeton)
Abstract

I will report on my most recent results  with Jeremie Szeftel and Elena Giorgi which conclude the proof of the nonlinear, unconditional, stability of slowly rotating Kerr metrics. The main part of the proof, announced last year, was conditional on results concerning boundedness and decay estimates for nonlinear wave equations. I will review the old results and discuss how the conditional results can now be fully established.

Fri, 20 May 2022

16:00 - 17:00
L2

### New perspectives for higher-order methods in convex optimisation

Yurii Nesterov
(Universite catholique de louvain)
Further Information

This colloquium is the annual Maths-Stats colloquium, held jointly with the Statistics department.

Abstract
In the recent years, the most important developments in Optimization were related to clarification of abilities of the higher-order methods. These schemes have potentially much higher rate of convergence as compared to the lower-order methods. However, the possibility of their implementation in the form of practically efficient algorithms was questionable during decades. In this talk, we discuss different possibilities for advancing in this direction, which avoid all standard fears on tensor methods (memory requirements, complexity of computing the tensor components, etc.). Moreover, in this way we get the new second-order methods with memory, which converge provably faster than the conventional upper limits provided by the Complexity Theory.
Fri, 24 Jan 2020

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### Nonlinear Waves in Granular Crystals: From Modeling and Analysis to Computations and Experiments

Panos Kevrekidis
(University of Massachusetts)
Further Information

The Mathematical Institute Colloquia are funded in part by the generosity of Oxford University Press.

This Colloquium is supported by a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship award.

Abstract

In this talk, we will provide an overview of results in the setting of granular crystals, consisting of spherical beads interacting through nonlinear elastic spring-like forces. These crystals are used in numerous engineering applications including, e.g., for the production of "sound bullets'' or the examination of bone quality. In one dimension we show that there exist three prototypical types of coherent nonlinear waveforms: shock waves, traveling solitary waves and discrete breathers. The latter are time-periodic, spatially localized structures. For each one, we will analyze the existence theory, presenting connections to prototypical models of nonlinear wave theory, such as the Burgers equation, the Korteweg-de Vries equation and the nonlinear Schrodinger (NLS) equation, respectively. We will also explore the stability of such structures, presenting some explicit stability criteria for traveling waves in lattices. Finally, for each one of these structures, we will complement the mathematical theory and numerical computations with state-of-the-art experiments, allowing their quantitative identification and visualization. Finally, time permitting, ongoing extensions of these themes will be briefly touched upon, most notably in higher dimensions, in heterogeneous or disordered chains and in the presence of damping and driving; associated open questions will also be outlined.

Fri, 15 Nov 2019

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### Wave localization and its landscape

Doug Arnold
(University of Minnesota)
Further Information

The Oxford Mathematics Colloquia are generously sponsored by Oxford University Press.

Abstract

The puzzling phenonenon of wave localization refers to unexpected confinement of waves triggered by disorder in the propagating medium. Localization arises in many physical and mathematical systems and has many important implications and applications. A particularly important case is the Schrödinger equation of quantum mechanics, for which the localization behavior is crucial to the electrical properties of materials. Mathematically it is tied to exponential decay of eigenfunctions of operators instead of their expected extension throughout the domain. Although localization has been studied by physicists and mathematicians for the better part of a century, many aspects remain mysterious. In particular, the sort of deterministic quantitative results needed to predict, control, and exploit localization have remained elusive. This talk will focus on major strides made in recent years based on the introduction of the landscape function and its partner, the effective potential. We will describe these developments from the viewpoint of a computational mathematician who sees the landscape theory as a completely unorthodox sort of a numerical method for computing spectra.

Fri, 25 Oct 2019

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### The Four Dimensional Light Bulb Theorem

David Gabai
(Princeton)
Further Information

The Oxford Mathematics Colloquia are generously sponsored by Oxford University Press.

Abstract

We discuss a recent generalization of the classical 3-dimensional light bulb theorem to 4-dimensions. We connect this with fundamental questions about knotting of surfaces in 4-dimensional manifolds as well as new directions regarding knotting of 3-balls in 4-manifolds.

Fri, 18 Oct 2019

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### Geometry as a key to the virosphere: Mathematics as a driver of discovery in virology and anti-viral therapy

Reidun Twarock
(University of York)
Further Information

The Oxford Mathematics Colloquia are generously sponsored by Oxford University Press.

Abstract

Viruses encapsulate their genetic material into protein containers that act akin to molecular Trojan horses, protecting viral genomes between rounds of infection and facilitating their release into the host cell environment. In the majority of viruses, including major human pathogens, these containers have icosahedral symmetry. Mathematical techniques from group, graph and tiling theory can therefore be used to better understand how viruses form, evolve and infect their hosts, and point the way to novel antiviral solutions.

In this talk, I will present an overarching theory of virus architecture, that contains the seminal Caspar Klug theory as a special case and solves long-standing open problems in structural virology. Combining insights into virus structure with a range of different mathematical modelling techniques, such as Gillespie algorithms, I will show how viral life cycles can be better understood through the lens of viral geometry. In particular, I will discuss a recent model for genome release from the viral capsid. I will also demonstrate the instrumental role of the Hamiltonian path concept in the discovery of a virus assembly mechanism that occurs in many human pathogens, such as Picornaviruses – a family that includes the common cold virus– and Hepatitis B and C virus. I will use multi-scale models of a viral infection and implicit fitness landscapes in order to demonstrate that therapeutic interventions directed against this mechanism have advantages over conventional forms of anti-viral therapy. The talk will finish with a discussion of how the new mathematical and mechanistic insights can be exploited in bio-nanotechnology for applications in vaccination and gene therapy.

Thu, 17 Oct 2019

16:00 - 17:00

### Simplicity and Complexity of Belief-Propagation

Elchanan Mossel
(MIT)
Further Information

This Colloquium is taking place in the Department of Statistics on St Giles'.

Abstract

There is a very simple algorithm for the inference of posteriors for probability models on trees. This algorithm, known as "Belief Propagation" is widely used in coding theory, in machine learning, in evolutionary inference, among many other areas. The talk will be devoted to the analysis of Belief Propagation in some of the simplest probability models. We will highlight the interplay between Belief Propagation, linear estimators (statistics), the Kesten-Stigum bound (probability) and Replica Symmetry Breaking (statistical physics). We will show how the analysis of Belief Propagation allowed proof phase transitions for phylogenetic reconstruction in evolutionary biology and developed optimal algorithms for inference of block models. Finally, we will discuss the computational complexity of this 'simple' algorithm.

Fri, 14 Jun 2019

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### Old and new on crystalline cohomology and the de Rham-Witt complex

Luc Illusie
(Université de Paris-Sud, Orsay)
Abstract

The subject of $p$-adic cohomologies is over fifty years old. Many new developments have recently occurred. I will mostly limit myself to discussing some pertaining to the de Rham-Witt complex. After recalling the historical background and the basic results, I will give an overview of the new approach of Bhatt, Lurie and Mathew.

Fri, 07 Jun 2019
16:00
L1

### Optimal control of multiphase fluids and droplets

Michael Hintermueller
(Humboldt)
Abstract

Solidification processes of liquid metal alloys,  bubble dynamics (as in Taylor flows), pinch-offs of liquid-liquid jets, the formation of polymeric membranes, or the structure of high concentration photovoltaic cells are described by the dynamics of multiphase fluids. On the other hand, in applications such as mass spectrometry, lab-on-a-chip, and electro-fluidic displays, fluids on the micro-scale associated with a dielectric medium are of interest. Moreover, in many of these applications one is interested in influencing (or controlling) the underlying phenomenon in order to reach a desired goal. Examples for the latter could be the porosity structure of a polymeric membrane to achieve certain desired filtration properties of the membrane, or to optimize a microfluidic device for the transport of pharmaceutical agents.

A promising mathematical model for the behavior of multiphase flows associated with the applications mentioned above is given by a phase-field model of Cahn-Hilliard / Navier-Stokes (CHNS) type. Some strengths of phase field (or diffuse interface) approaches are due to their ability to overcome both, analytical difficulties of topological changes, such as, e.g., droplet break-ups or the coalescence of interfaces, and numerical challenges in capturing the interface dynamics between the fluid phases. Deep quenches in solidification processes of liquid alloys or rapid wall hardening in the formation of polymer membranes ask for non-smooth energies in connection with Cahn-Hilliard models. Analytically, this gives rise to a variational inequality coupled to the equations of hydrodynamics, thus yielding a non-smooth system (in the sense that the map associated with the underlying operator equation is not necessarily Frechet differentiable). In contrast to phase-field approaches,
one may consider sharp interface models. In view of this, our microfluidic applications alluded to above are formulated in terms of  sharp interface models and Hele-Shaw flows. In this context, we are particularly interested in applications of electrowetting on dielectric (EWOD) with contact line pinning. The latter phenomenon resembles friction, yields a variational inequality of the second kind, and – once again – it results in an overall nonsmooth mathematical model of the physical process.

In both settings described above, optimal control problems are relevant in order to influence the underlying physical process to approach a desired system state.  The associated optimization problems are delicate as the respective constraints involve non-smooth structures which render the problems degenerate and prevent a direct application of sophisticated tools for the characterization of solutions. Such characterizations are, however, of paramount importance in the design of numerical solution schemes.

This talk addresses some of the analytical challenges associated with optimal control problems involving non-smooth structures, offers pathways to solutions, and it reports on numerical results for both problem classes introduced above.

Fri, 08 Mar 2019

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### False theta functions and their modular properties CANCELLED

Kathrin Bringmann
(University of Cologne)
Further Information

THIS TALK HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Abstract

In my talk I will discuss modular properties of false theta functions. Due to a wrong sign factor these are not directly seen to be modular, however there are ways to repair this. I will report about this in my talk.

Fri, 16 Nov 2018

15:00 - 16:00
L1

### Total positivity: a concept at the interface between algebra, analysis and combinatorics

Alan Sokal
(UCL & NYU)
Abstract

A matrix M of real numbers is called totally positive if every minor of M is nonnegative. This somewhat bizarre concept from linear algebra has surprising connections with analysis - notably polynomials and entire functions with real zeros, and the classical moment problem and continued fractions - as well as combinatorics. I will explain briefly some of these connections, and then introduce a generalization: a matrix M of polynomials (in some set of indeterminates) will be called coefficientwise totally positive if every minor of M is a polynomial with nonnegative coefficients. Also, a sequence (an)n≥0  of real numbers (or polynomials) will be called (coefficientwise) Hankel-totally positive if the Hankel matrix H = (ai+j)i,j ≥= 0 associated to (an) is (coefficientwise) totally positive. It turns out that many sequences of polynomials arising in enumerative combinatorics are (empirically) coefficientwise Hankel-totally positive; in some cases this can be proven using continued fractions, while in other cases it remains a conjecture.

Fri, 02 Nov 2018

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### Characteristic Polynomials of Random Unitary Matrices, Partition Sums, and Painlevé V

Jon Keating
(University of Bristol)
Abstract

The moments of characteristic polynomials play a central role in Random Matrix Theory.  They appear in many applications, ranging from quantum mechanics to number theory.  The mixed moments of the characteristic polynomials of random unitary matrices, i.e. the joint moments of the polynomials and their derivatives, can be expressed recursively in terms of combinatorial sums involving partitions. However, these combinatorial sums are not easy to compute, and so this does not give an effective method for calculating the mixed moments in general. I shall describe an alternative evaluation of the mixed moments, in terms of solutions of the Painlevé V differential equation, that facilitates their computation and asymptotic analysis.

Fri, 12 Oct 2018

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### Francis Bach - Gossip of Statistical Observations using Orthogonal Polynomials

Francis Bach
(CNRS and Ecole Normale Superieure Paris)
Abstract

Consider a network of agents connected by communication links, where each agent holds a real value. The gossip problem consists in estimating the average of the values diffused in the network in a distributed manner. Current techniques for gossiping are designed to deal with worst-case scenarios, which is irrelevant in applications to distributed statistical learning and denoising in sensor networks. We design second-order gossip methods tailor-made for the case where the real values are i.i.d. samples from the same distribution. In some regular network structures, we are able to prove optimality of our methods, and simulations suggest that they are efficient in a wide range of random networks. Our approach of gossip stems from a new acceleration framework using the family of orthogonal polynomials with respect to the spectral measure of the network graph (joint work with Raphaël Berthier, and Pierre Gaillard).

Fri, 15 Jun 2018

16:00 - 17:00
L2

### Alfio Quarteroni - Mathematical and numerical models for heart function

Alfio Quarteroni
(EPFL Lausanne and Politecnico di Milano)
Abstract

Mathematical models based on first principles can describe the interaction between electrical, mechanical and fluid-dynamical processes occurring in the heart. This is a classical multi-physics problem. Appropriate numerical strategies need to be devised to allow for an effective description of the fluid in large and medium size arteries, the analysis of physiological and pathological conditions, and the simulation, control and shape optimisation of assisted devices or surgical prostheses. This presentation will address some of these issues and a few representative applications of clinical interest.

Fri, 08 Jun 2018

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### Sir John Ball - Minimization, constraints and defects

Sir John Ball
(University of Oxford)
Abstract

It is at first sight surprising that a minimizer of an integral of the calculus of variations may make the integrand infinite somewhere.

This talk will discuss some examples of this phenomenon, how it can be related to material defects, and related open questions from nonlinear elasticity and the theory of liquid crystals.

Fri, 18 May 2018

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### On the Birational Classification of Algebraic Varieties

Shigefumi Mori
(RIMS, Kyoto)
Abstract

Details to follow

Fri, 02 Mar 2018

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### What's new in moonshine? CANCELLED

Miranda Cheng
(University of Amsterdam.)
Abstract

The so-called moonshine phenomenon relates modular forms and finite group representations. After the celebrated monstrous moonshine, various new examples of moonshine connection have been discovered in recent years. The study of these new moonshine examples has revealed interesting connections to K3 surfaces, arithmetic geometry, and string theory.  In this colloquium I will give an overview of these recent developments.

Fri, 01 Dec 2017

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### New developments in the synthetic theory of metric measure spaces with Ricci curvature bounded from below

Luigi Ambrosio
(Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa)
Abstract

The theory of metric measure spaces with Ricci curvature from below is growing very quickly, both in the "Riemannian" class RCD and the general  CD one. I will review some of the most recent results, by illustrating the key identification results and technical tools (at the level of calculus in metric measure spaces) underlying these results.

Fri, 10 Nov 2017
16:00
L2

### QBIOX Colloquium

Professor Paul Riley, Professor Eleanor Stride
Abstract

The fourth QBIOX Colloquium will take place in the Mathematical Institute on Friday 10th November (5th week) and feature talks from Professor Paul Riley (Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Genetics / BHF Oxbridge Centre for Regenerative Medicine, https://www.dpag.ox.ac.uk/research/riley-group) and Professor Eleanor Stride (Institute of Biomedical Engineering, http://www.ibme.ox.ac.uk/research/non-invasive-therapy-drug-delivery/pe…).

1600-1645 - Paul Riley, "Enroute to mending broken hearts".
1645-1730 - Eleanor Stride, "Reducing tissue hypoxia for cancer therapy".
1730-1800 - Networking and refreshments.

We very much hope to see you there. As ever, tickets are not necessary, but registering to attend will help us with numbers for catering.
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/qbiox-colloquium-michelmas-term-2017-tic…

Abstracts
Paul Riley - "En route to mending broken hearts".
We adopt the paradigm of understanding how the heart develops during pregnancy as a first principal to inform on adult heart repair and regeneration. Our target for cell-based repair is the epicardium and epicardium-derived cells (EPDCs) which line the outside of the forming heart and contribute vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells to the coronary vasculature, interstitial fibroblasts and cardiomyocytes. The epicardium can also act as a source of signals to condition the growth of the underlying embryonic heart muscle. In the adult heart, whilst the epicardium is retained, it is effectively quiescent. We have sought to extrapolate the developmental potential of the epicardium to the adult heart following injury by stimulating dormant epicardial cells to give rise to new muscle and vasculature. In parallel, we seek to modulate the local environment into which the new cells emerge: a cytotoxic mixture of inflammation and fibrosis which prevents cell engraftment and integration with survived heart tissue. To this end we manipulate the lymphatic vessels in the heart given that, elsewhere in the body, the lymphatics survey the immune system and modulate inflammation at peripheral injury sites. We recently described the development of the cardiac lymphatic vasculature and revealed in the adult heart that they undergo increased vessel sprouting (lymphangiogenesis) in response to injury, to improve function, remodelling and fibrosis. We are currently investigating whether increased lymphangiogenesis functions to clear immune cells and constrain the reparative response for optimal healing.

Eleanor Stride - "Reducing tissue hypoxia for cancer therapy"
Hypoxia, i.e. a reduction in dissolved oxygen concentration below physiologically normal levels, has been identified as playing a critical role in the progression of many types of disease and as a key determinant of the success of cancer treatment. It poses a particular challenge for treatments such as radiotherapy, photodynamic and sonodynamic therapy which rely on the production of reactive oxygen species. Strategies for treating hypoxia have included the development of hypoxia-selective drugs as well as methods for directly increasing blood oxygenation, e.g. hyperbaric oxygen therapy, pure oxygen or carbogen breathing, ozone therapy, hydrogen peroxide injections and administration of suspensions of oxygen carrier liquids. To date, however, these approaches have delivered limited success either due to lack of proven efficacy and/or unwanted side effects. Gas microbubbles, stabilised by a biocompatible shell have been used as ultrasound contrast agents for several decades and have also been widely investigated as a means of promoting drug delivery. This talk will present our recent research on the use of micro and nanobubbles to deliver both drug molecules and oxygen simultaneously to a tumour to facilitate treatment.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017

16:00 - 17:00

### Robert Calderbank - the Art of Signaling

Robert Calderbank
(Duke University)
Abstract

Coding theory revolves around the question of what can be accomplished with only memory and redundancy. When we ask what enables the things that transmit and store information, we discover codes at work, connecting the world of geometry to the world of algorithms.

This talk will focus on those connections that link the real world of Euclidean geometry to the world of binary geometry that we associate with Hamming.

Fri, 20 Oct 2017
14:30
L1

### Peter Sarnak - Integer points on affine cubic surfaces

Peter Sarnak
(Princeton University)
Abstract

A cubic polynomial equation in four or more variables tends to have many integer solutions, while one in two variables has a limited number of such solutions. There is a body of work establishing results along these lines. On the other hand very little is known in the critical case of three variables. For special such cubics, which we call Markoff surfaces, a theory can be developed. We will review some of the tools used to deal with these and related problems.

Joint works with Bourgain/Gamburd and with Ghosh

Fri, 09 Jun 2017

16:00 - 17:00
L1

### The cover of the December AMS Notices

Caroline Series
(University of Warwick)
Abstract

The cover of the December 2016 AMS Notices shows an eye-like region picked out by blue and red dots and surrounded by green rays. The picture, drawn by Yasushi Yamashita, illustrates Gaven Martin’s search for the smallest volume 3-dimensional hyperbolic orbifold. It represents a family of two generator groups of isometries of hyperbolic 3-space which was recently studied, for quite different reasons, by myself, Yamashita and Ser Peow Tan.

After explaining the coloured dots and their role in Martin’s search, we concentrate on the green rays. These are Keen-Series pleating rays which are used to locate spaces of discrete groups. The theory also suggests why groups represented by the red dots on the rays in the inner part of the eye display some interesting geometry.