Following the lecture, there will be a reception in Buttrick Hall Lobby.

]]>Kähler geometry is an area of mathematics that has seen a number of recent advances in diverse directions. The purpose of the conference is to bring together leading experts in the separate but related fields of differential geometry, geometric analysis, and algebraic geometry to present recent results and explore future directions of research in the field.

Among the many topics to be covered are Kähler-Einstein manifolds, Calabi-Yau manifolds with prescribed asymptotic behavior, extremal Kähler metrics, moduli space of Kähler metrics, and Hermitian manifolds.

The prestigious Shanks Lecture Series is organized annually by the Department of Mathematics of Vanderbilt University, honoring Baylis and Olivia Shanks. The late Professor Baylis Shanks was chairman of the Department from 1955 through 1969. A list of previous Shanks Conferences and Lecturers can be found here.

More information on the Recent Advances in Kähler Geometry Conference is available on the conference web site.

]]>This year’s graduate honors went to Yuanzhen Shao for outstanding research and to Michael Northington for excellence in teaching. Mathematics senior Paul Ponmattam was recognized for undergraduate achievement.

The Bjarni Jónsson Prize for Research was awarded to Yuanzhen Shao, whose research interests are in partial differential equations.

According to his advisor, Professor Gieri Simonett, Shao’s research contributions have been in the study of geometric evolution equations on uniformly regular and singular Riemannian manifolds, and in the regularity of free boundary problems. The approach he has been using is based on the theory of maximal regularity.

Shao has published three papers and has four papers currently under review. He has presented his research at 15 conferences and academic institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

“Yuanzhen is among the most promising young researchers that I have interacted with during my whole career,” said Simonett. “He is technically very strong, learns and absorbs material at warp speed, is ambitious, creative, and incredibly hard-working. Most importantly, he is very independent.”

Shao will receive his Ph.D. in May 2015. He has accepted a postdoc position at Purdue University starting in the fall.

The 2015 B.F. Bryant Prize for Excellence in Teaching was awarded to Michael Northington. In announcing the award, Associate Director of Graduate Studies Doug Hardin cited Northington’s outstanding ratings on student evaluations. Several students remarked on his ability to explain concepts clearly. They also commented that his materials were always well organized and that it was clear that he spent considerable time in preparing them carefully.

Northington is a fourth-year graduate student and is expected to receive his Ph.D. in May 2016.

Paul Ponmattam received the Richard J. Larsen Award for Achievement in Undergraduate Mathematics. The Larsen Award is given each spring to the senior math major judged by the faculty to have excelled in all aspects of undergraduate mathematics.

Director of Undergraduate Studies John Rafter noted that Ponmattam has taken 18 courses beyond the required core mathematics courses, 17 of which were graduate courses. Ponmattam has participated in three Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs. In one of them, Paul proved several results relating to the L2-norm and the operator norm on group algebras. He has also attended the UCLA Logic Summer School.

In addition to the Larsen Award, Ponmattam is also the recipient of the Waldemar Trjitzinsky Memorial Award and the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. At the time of this posting, he had not made a decision among several graduate study options.

The Department of Mathematics is proud to honor these excellent students.

]]>*MBE* is an international research journal focusing on new developments in the fast-growing fields of mathematical biosciences and engineering. According to the preface, the topics of the 12 articles appearing in the special issue honoring Webb “partially represent the broad areas of Glenn’s research interest.” They include

evolutionary dynamics of population growth, spatio-temporal dynamics in reaction-diﬀusion biological models, transmission dynamics of infectious diseases, modeling of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals, analysis of prion models, age-structured models in ecology and epidemiology, modeling of immune response to infections, and modeling of cancer growth.

The issue opens with two essays: “The Work of Glenn F. Webb,” by William E. Fitzgibbon (Dean, College of Technology, University of Houston and Vanderbilt University PhD in Mathematics) and “Studying Microbiology with Glenn F. Webb,” by Martin J. Blaser (Professor of Microbiology, New York University School of Medicine).

Webb, who joined the Vanderbilt Mathematics department in 1968, distinguished himself first as a pioneer in the area of nonlinear accretive operator theory and nonlinear semigroups and evolution operators. His research then turned to mathematical biology, with special interest in the spread of infectious disease and nonlinear population models.

From mathematical biology, which involves the development of general models, Webb moved to research that is more accurately described as biomedical mathematics, which is concerned with specific systems or maladies and is data driven. His continuing biomedical mathematics work is directed towards specific diseases such as HIV, influenza, drug-resistant bacteria, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and, most recently, the Ebola epidemics in West Africa.

The full special issue is available here.

]]>It was Popa who showed the first concrete examples of maximal amenable abelian subalgebras inside a II_1 factor. Subsequent work on maximal amenable subalgebras all revolves around a property due to Popa, called the asymptotic orthogonal property (AOP). Only recently, a new approach via the study of centralizers was developed by Boutonnet and Carderi. We show a stronger version of AOP for the Laplacian masa inside the free group factor, and confirm partially a conjecture of Jesse Peterson. ]]>

The B. F. Bryant Prize for Excellence in Teaching is awarded annually to a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematics. The B.F. Bryant award was established in 1987 in honor of Billy F. Bryant, Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus, who taught at Vanderbilt from 1948 to 1986. The award is given each spring to a graduate teaching assistant who has demonstrated concern for and accomplishments in teaching, qualities that characterized the career of Professor Bryant.

Bjarni Jónsson Prize for Research

The Bjarni Jónsson Prize for Research is awarded each year to a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematics for exceptional research in mathematics, as well as for outstanding research potential. The Bjarni Jónsson Prize was established in honor of Bjarni Jónsson, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus, who taught at Vanderbilt from 1966 to 1992.

Richard J. Larsen Award for Achievement in Undergraduate Mathematics

Richard Larsen was a member of the faculty of the Department of Mathematics from 1970 to 2005. Richard’s primary focus in the Department of Mathematics was undergraduate education and administration. He served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for seventeen years, from 1985 to 2002. When Professor Larsen retired in the spring of 2005, the Department established the Richard J. Larsen Award for Achievement in Undergraduate Mathematics in his honor. The award, along with a check for $500, is presented each spring to the senior math major judged by the faculty to have excelled in all aspects of undergraduate mathematics.