In particular, “Shanks Workshops” — smaller gatherings organized by Vanderbilt faculty and held at Vanderbilt to foster collaboration and research — have been supported by the Shanks Endowment since 2003 and have become an important hallmark of the Department of Mathematics.

Four Shanks Workshops received support from the Shanks Endowment in the 2016-2017 academic year:

The __Shanks Workshop on The Topology of Real Algebraic Varieties__ was held March 10-11, 2017. The Vanderbilt organizers were Rares Rasdeaconu and Ioana Suvaina.

The __Shanks Workshop on Homotopy Theory__, held March 25-26, 2017, was organized by Anna Marie Bohmann and Jonathan Campbell.

The __2017 Shanks Workshop on Mathematical Aspects of Fluid Dynamics__ was held April 8-9, 2017. It was organized by Marcelo Disconzi, Giusy Mazzone, and Gieri Simonett.

In addition, the Shanks endowment is providing support for the upcoming __Shanks Workshop: 29 ^{th} Cumberland Conference on Combinatorics, Graph Theory, and Computing__, which will be held at Vanderbilt May 20-21, 2017. The Vanderbilt faculty organizers are Mark Ellingham and Songling Shan.

More than 40 Shanks Workshops have been organized by Vanderbilt Department of Mathematics faculty since 2003.

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The inherent connection between geometry and topology pervaded William Thurston’s revolutionary work in the 1980s that refocused the field of 3-manifold topology around a handful of bold geometric conjectures. By drawing on the work of many mathematicians and incorporating wide-ranging ideas from ergodic theory, combinatorial geometry, hyperbolic geometry, and group theory, this new paradigm in 3-manifold topology has recently culminated in the proof of Thurston’s virtual fibering conjecture.

The Vanderbilt conference will revisit some of the ideas that emerged from these developments and examine the tools and techniques that are now being refined and applied to broader contexts. Topics will include hyperbolic 3-manifolds, moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces, the geometry and topology of curves on surfaces, surface bundles, Gromov-hyperbolic simplicial complexes, CAT(0) cube complexes, and many others.

This year’s featured Shanks Lecturer is Professor Ian Agol of the University of California, Berkeley. Agol received the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics for his contributions to low-dimensional topology and geometric group theory, including work on the solutions of the tameness, virtual Haken, and virtual fibering conjectures. Agol is also the recipient of the 2013 Oswald Veblen Prize in Geometry and the 2009 Clay Research Award.

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 Conference on Low-Dimensional Topology and Geometry is available on the conference web site.

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Tea at 3:30 pm in SC 1425. (Contact Person: Bruce Hughes)

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