Colloquia

The Colloquia are followed by a reception designed to give people the opportunity to have more informal contact with the speaker. A book display will be available at this time in the common room. The series is funded, in part, through the generous support of Oxford University Press.

The colloquia are aimed towards a general mathematical audience.

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
2 November 2018
16:00
Jon Keating
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.

16 November 2018
15:00
Alan Sokal
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.

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