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Colloquium, Academic Year 18-19

Thursdays 4:10 pm in 5211 Stevenson Center, unless otherwise noted
Tea at 3:33 pm in 1425 Stevenson Center
Colloquium Chair (2018-2019): Dechao Zheng



September 27, 2018 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

K-groups and Rings of Integers

Adebisi Agboola, UC Santa Barbara
Location: Stevenson 5211

Suppose that F is a number field and that G is a finite group. The inverse Galois problem asks whether or not there exists an extension of F whose Galois group is isomorphic to G. This question is known to have an affirmative answer in many cases, but is unsolved in general. I shall discuss a conjecture in relative algebraic K-theory (in essence, a conjectural Hasse or local-global principle applied to certain relative algebraic K-groups) that implies an affirmative answer to both the inverse Galois problem and to an analogous problem concerning the Galois module structure of rings of integers in tame extensions of F. The K-theoretic conjecture can be proved in many cases (subject to mild technical conditions) e.g. for groups of odd order, giving an analogue of a classical theorem of Shafarevich in this setting. While this approach does not, as yet, resolve any new cases of the inverse Galois problem, it does yield a quite substantial advance in our knowledge concerning the Galois module structure of rings of integers. Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Dietmar Bisch)

October 11, 2018 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

The Combinatorics of RNA Branching

Christine Heitsch, Georgia Tech
Location: Stevenson 5211

Understanding the folding of RNA sequences into three-dimensional structures is one of the fundamental challenges in molecular biology. For example, the branching of an RNA secondary structure is an important molecular characteristic yet difficult to predict correctly, especially for sequences on the scale of viral genomes. However, results from enumerative, probabilistic, analytic, and geometric combinatorics yield insights into RNA structure formation, and suggest new directions in viral capsid assembly. Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Mark Ellingham)

October 25, 2018 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

Counting Closed Geodesics: Classical and Non-Classical Behavior

Ilya Kapovich, CUNY Hunter College
Location: Stevenson 5211

The problem of counting closed geodesics of bounded length, originally in the setting of negatively curved manifolds, goes back to the classic work of Margulis in 1960s about the dynamics of the geodesic flow. Since then Margulis’ results have been generalized to many other contexts where some whiff of hyperbolicity is present. Thus a 2011 result of Eskin and Mirzakhani shows that for a closed hyperbolic surface S of genus $g\ge 2$, the number $N(L)$ of closed Teichmuller geodesics of length $\le L$ in the moduli space of $S$ grows as $e^{hL}/(hL)$ where $h=6g-6$. The number $N(L)$ is also equal to the number of conjugacy classes of pseudo-Anosov elements $\phi$ in the mapping class group $MCG(S)$ with $\log\lambda(\phi)\le L$, where $\lambda(\phi)>1$ is the “dilatation” or “stretch factor” of $\phi$. We consider an analogous problem in the $Out(F_r)$ setting, for the action of $Out(F_r)$ on a “cousin” of Teichmuller space, called the Culler-Vogtmann outer space $X_r$. In this context being a “fully irreducible” element of $Out(F_r)$ serves as a natural counterpart of being pseudo-Anosov. Every fully irreducible $\phi\in Out(F_r)$ acts on $X_r$ as a loxodromic isometry with translation length $\log\lambda(\phi)$, where again $\lambda(\phi)$ is the stretch factor of $\phi$. We estimate the number $N_r(L)$ of fully irreducible elements $\phi\in Out(F_r)$ with $\log\lambda(\phi)\le L$. We prove, for $r\ge 3$, that $N_r(L)$ grows \emph{doubly exponentially} in $L$ as $L\to\infty$, in terms of both lower and upper bounds. These bounds reveal new behavior not present in classic hyperbolic dynamical systems. The talk is based on a joint paper with Catherine Pfaff. Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Denis Osin)

November 1, 2018 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

Catching Monodromy

Andrei Okounkov, Columbia University
Location: Stevenson 5211

Monodromy of linear differential and difference equations is a very old and classical object, which may be seen as a far-reaching generalization of the exponential map of a Lie group. While general properties of this map may studied abstractly, for certain very special equations of interest in enumerative geometry, representation theory, and also mathematical physics, it is possible to describe the monodromy “explicitly”, in certain geometric and algebraic terms. I will explain one such recent set of ideas, following joint work with M. Aganagic and R. Bezrukavnikov. The talk will be aimed at a broad audience and omit the discussion of advanced topics such as the categorification of these monodromy groups. Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Vaughan Jones)

November 8, 2018 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

Kolmogorov, Onsager and a Stochastic Model for Turbulence

Susan Friedlander, University of Southern California
Location: Stevenson 5211

We will briefly review Kolmogorov’s (41) theory of homogeneous turbulence and Onsager’s ( 49) conjecture that in 3-dimensional turbulent flows energy dissipation might exist even in the limit of vanishing viscosity. Although over the past 60 years there is a vast body of literature related to this subject, at present there is no rigorous mathematical proof that the solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations yield Kolmogorov’s laws. For this reason various models have been introduced that are more tractable but capture some of the essential features of the Navier-Stokes equations themselves. We will discuss one such stochastically driven dyadic model for turbulent energy cascades. We will describe how results for stochastic PDEs can be used to prove that this dyadic model is consistent with Kolmogorov’s theory and Onsager’s conjecture. Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Giusy Mazzone)

November 29, 2018 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

Gabor Systems and Wilson Bases

Kasso Okoudjou, University of Maryland
Location: Stevenson 5211

The Balian-Low Theorem (BLT) is an uncertainty principle-type result that precludes the existence of a Gabor orthonormal basis (ONB) of the form $\{e^{2\pi i kx/a }g(x-an) \}_{k, n=-\infty}^{\infty},$ where $a>0$, and $g$ is well-localized in phase space. A related ONB with a well-localized generator (hence does not obey the BLT) was numerically introduced by K. Wilson in the 80s and formalized by Daubechies, Jaffard, and Journ\’e. The latter system is called a Wilson basis and was recently featured in the detection of the gravitational waves.
In the first part of the talk, I will review some basic structures as well as the relationship between these two systems. I will then present some recent and ongoing work on constructing Wilson-type systems from more general Gabor families. (This is a joint work with D. Bhimani, M. Bownik, M. Jakobsen, and J. Lemvig).Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Akram Aldroubi)

January 21, 2019 (Monday), 3:10 pm

Special Colloquium

Location: Stevenson 5211

Tea at 2:30 pm in Stevenson 1425.

January 24, 2019 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

On Isoperimetric Functions of Finitely Presented Groups

Alexander Olshanskiy, Vanderbilt University
Location: Stevenson 5211

The results recently obtained by Olshanskiy and Sapir solve two well-known problems about isoperimetric functions (or Dehn functions) of finitely presented groups. We have completed the description of the isoperimetric spectrum of finitely presented groups modulo $\bf NP=P$ hypothesis (a problem first proposed by M. Bridson in 1996), and we constructed a finitely presented group with quadratic isoperimetric functions and undecidable conjugacy problem (this problem was first proposed by Rips in 1994). The basic concepts and examples will be provided, no specific knowledge will be assumed. Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Dechao Zheng)

January 25, 2019 (Friday), 3:10 pm

Special Colloquium

Location: Stevenson 1206

Tea at 2:30 pm in Stevenson 1425.

January 31, 2019 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

Refined Invariants of Algebraic Knots and Number Theory

Ivan Cherednik,University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Location: Stevenson 5211

The (uncolored) HOMFLY-PT polynomials H(q,a), are relatively simple to define for any links. We will consider only algebraic knots: intersections of connected plane curve singularities with small 3-dimensional sphere centered at the singularity. Their t-refinements, the Khovanov-Rozansky stable reduced polynomials KhR(q,t,a) attract a lot of attention. This is the most powerful numerical invariant of knots we have, though difficult to calculate. The connection is H(q,a)=KhR(q,q,-a). This talk will be about the motivic superpolynomials which will be defined from scratch; very little knowledge of rings and modules is needed (and finite fields). Conjecturally, they coincide with stable, reduced Khovanov-Rozansky polynomials. Moreover, and this will be explained in full, they are conjectured to coincide with the L-function of the ring of plane curve singularity over the finite field of cardinality “q” (a two-line definition); “t” becomes simply “T” from the theory of local zeta-functions. The implications of this interplay between knot theory (with almost infinite list of applications) and number theory will take time to digest, but this is obviously of fundamental nature. For instance, the Riemann Hypothesis for t-zeros of the motivic superpolynomials holds for sufficiently small “q” (a theorem); presumably for “q” smaller than 1/2 at a=0. Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Larry Rolen)

February 7, 2019 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

Talk Title TBA

Dennis Sullivan, Suny at Stony Brook
Location: Stevenson 5211

Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Marcelo Disconzi)

February 14, 2019 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

Talk Title TBA

Alex Furman, University of Illinois at Chicago
Location: Stevenson 5211

Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Spencer Dowdall)

March 21, 2019 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

Talk Title TBA

Steven Lalley, University of Chicago
Location: Stevenson 5211

Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Mark Sapir)

April 11, 2019 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

Talk Title TBA

Sergei Tabachnikov, Pennsylvania State University
Location: Stevenson 5211

Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Mark Sapir)

April 18, 2019 (Thursday), 4:10 pm

Talk Title TBA

Vladimir Sverak, University of Minnesota
Location: Stevenson 5211

Tea at 3:33 pm in Stevenson 1425. (Contact Person: Gieri SImonett)

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