Jin-Beom Bae

Quantum field theory (QFT) is a natural language for describing quantum physics that obeys special relativity. A modern perspective on QFT is provided by the renormalization group (RG) flow, which is a path defined on the coupling constant space and evolves from the ultraviolet (UV) to the infrared (IR) fixed point. In particular, the theories on the IR fixed point are scale-invariant and most of them are known to be promoted to a conformal field theory (CFT).

Sam photo

The study of finitely generated groups usually proceeds in two steps. Firstly, a class of spaces with some intrinsic geometric property is defined and understood, for example hyperbolic spaces or CAT(0) spaces. Secondly, we try to relate the geometry of the space to algebraic properties of groups acting properly discontinuously cocompactly (i.e. geometrically) on the space. For example, this gives rise to the well studied classes of hyperbolic groups and CAT(0) groups.

Ian Griffiths

The virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, is transmitted through virus-carrying respiratory droplets, which are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or breathes. Most of these droplets will fall to the ground within two metres, hence the guidelines to maintain social distancing. However, some droplets are small enough to float in the air. These droplets may remain airborne for hours and be carried throughout a room, leading to airborne transmission.

A map of the world with incidence circles

The first months of 2020 brought the world to an almost complete standstill due to the occurrence and outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes the highly contagious COVID-19 disease. Despite the hopes that rapidly developing medical sciences would quickly find an effective remedy, the last two years have made it quite clear that, despite vaccines, this is not very likely.

Curvature is a way of measuring the distortion of a space from being flat, and it is ubiquitous in Science. Ricci Curvature, in particular, appears in Einstein’s equations of General Relativity. It controls the heat diffusion in general ambient spaces and it plays a fundamental role in Hamilton-Perelman’s solution of the Poincaré conjecture and of Thurston’s geometrisation conjecture.

Silicon is produced industrially in a submerged arc furnace (illustrated in Figure 1, left), with the heat required for the endothermic chemical reaction provided by an electric current. The high temperatures within the furnace (up to around 2000 K) prohibit observation of the internal conditions, so that mathematical modelling is a valuable tool to understand the furnace processes.

The 7m length by 2m diameter cylindrical Søderberg electrode is the secret behind a yearly production capacity of 215,000 tonnes of silicon for Elkem ASA, the third largest silicon producer in the world. This electrode operates continuously thanks to its raw material: carbon paste, whose viscosity depends very sensitively on the temperature.

Alois Alzheimer called Alzheimer's disease (AD) the disease of forgetfulness in a 1906 lecture that would later mark its discovery. Alzheimer noticed the presence of aggregated protein plaques, made up of misfolded variants of amyloid-beta (A$\beta$) and tau ($\tau$P) proteins, in the brain of one of his patients. These plaques are thought to be the drivers of the overall cognitive decline that is observed in AD. AD is now one of the leading causes of death in many developed countries, including the United Kingdom.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, French mathematician and engineer Gaspard Monge considered a problem. If you have a lot of rubble, you would like to have a fort, and you do not like carrying rocks very far, how do you best rearrange your disorganised materials into organised walls? Over the two centuries since then, his work has been developed into the rich mathematical theory of optimal transport.

In quantum many body physics, we look for universal features that allow us to classify complex quantum systems. This classification leads to phase diagrams of quantum systems. These are analogous to the familiar phase diagram of water at different temperatures and pressures, with ice and vapour constituting two phases. Quantum phase diagrams correspond to the different phases of matter at zero temperature, where the system is in its lowest energy state (usually called the ground state).

One of the main themes of geometry in recent years has been the appearance of unexpected dualities between different geometric spaces arising from ideas in mathematical physics. One famous such example is mirror symmetry. Another kind of duality, which I am currently investigating with collaborators from Oxford and Imperial College, is symplectic duality.

Knot theory studies embeddings of the circle into the three dimensional space and the first knot invariant was the Alexander polynomial. The world of quantum invariants started with the milestone discovery of the Jones polynomial and was expanded by Reshetikhin and Turaev’s algebraic construction which starts from a quantum group and leads to link invariants.

Oxford Mathematician Connor Behan discusses the ways in which a free quantum field can be coupled to a spatial boundary. His recent work with Lorenzo di Pietro, Edoardo Lauria and Balt van Rees sheds light on this question using the non-perturbative bootstrap technique.

What takes a mathematician to the Arctic? In short, context. The ice of the Arctic Ocean has been a rich source of mathematical problems since the late 19$^{th}$ century, when Josef Stefan, aided by data from expeditions that went in search of the Northwest Passage, developed the classical Stefan problem. This describes the evolution of a moving boundary at which a material undergoes a phase change. In recent years, interest in the Arctic has only increased, due to the rapid changes occurring there due to climate change.

Deep learning has become an important topic across many domains of science due to its recent success in image recognition, speech recognition, and drug discovery. Deep learning techniques are based on neural networks, which contain a certain number of layers to perform several mathematical transformations on the input.

Oxford Mathematician Ben Green on a tale of conjectures, mistaken assumptions and eventual solutions: a tale of mathematics.

"The famous discrete mathematician Ron Graham sadly passed away last year. I did not know him well, but I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times. On the first such occasion, in Vancouver in 2004, he mentioned one of his favourite open questions over lunch. This concerns the size of certain "van der Waerden numbers", a kind of arithmetic variant of graph Ramsey numbers.

During the early growth of the brain, an extraordinary process takes place where axons, neurons, and nerves extend, grow, and connect to form an intricate network that will be used for all brain activities and cognitive processes. A fundamental scientific question is to understand the laws that these growing cells follow to find their correct target.

By pooling resources between cells, colonies of bacteria can exhibit behaviours far beyond the capabilities of an individual bacterium. For example, bacterial populations can encase themselves in a self-generated polymer matrix that shelters cells in the core of the population from the external environment. Such communities are termed “bacterial biofilms”, and show increased tolerance to antimicrobial treatments such as antibiotics.

How to deal with resistance? This is the headline question these days with regards to COVID vaccines. But it is an important question also in cancer therapy. Over the past century, oncology has come a long way, but all too often cancers still recur due to the emergence of drug-resistant tumour cells. How to tackle these cells is one of the key questions in cancer research. The main strategy so far has been the development of new drugs to which the resistant cells are still sensitive.