All talks are to be held in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre, Trinity College, and will begin at 8.30pm with port and orange juice from 8.15pm. With the exception of the first talk, which is open to all, talks are for members only; non-members may join at the door.
Monday, 13th October: Dr. Piers Bursill-Hall (DPMMS):
Pythagoras Never Existed. You Have Been Lied to, and All School Maths is False.
Everyone in the Universe has heard of Pythagoras, and knows about the Theorem, and how the Pythagoreans discovered that root-two is irrational. And all of that is false: in fact, just about everything you have been told about ancient mathematics is wrong and rubbish. Hey: Welcome to Cambridge.
Monday, 20th October: Dr. Perla Sousi (Stats Lab):
A Lost Man Will Reach Home, but a Lost Bird Will be Lost Forever
Suppose you are lost while trying to get home. At every corner you decide to take a random direction independently of what you did previously. Will you ever get back home? The answer depends on which dimension you live in. What if you give a preference to roads you have used before. Does the answer change?
Monday, 27th October: Dr. Julia Gog (DAMTP):
The use of mathematical systems for modelling the spread of infectious disease has been around for quite a while now. Mathematical biologists have developed a world of intricate models including things like distribution of household sizes, population flows such as commute to work, airline transportation networks, seasonal and climate factors and what everyone had for breakfast. So we know in glorious detail how a decent pandemic ought to spread, right? Thing is, no one told influenza what it was supposed to do.
Monday, 3rd November: Dr. Daniel Baumann (DAMTP):
The Quantum Origin of Structure in the Universe
Quantum fluctuations in the vacuum play an important role in fundamental physics. In this talk, I will show that these fluctuations get stretched to cosmic scales if the early universe experienced a period of inflationary expansion. Using little more than the quantum mechanics of a simple harmonic oscillator, I will compute this effect and explain how it provides the primordial seeds for all structure in the universe. I will show how these predictions compare to recent observations of the cosmic microwave background. Finally, I will speculate about the physical cause for the inflationary expansion.
Monday, 10th November: Dr. James Cranch (University of Sheffield):
Which Real Numbers are Pleasant?
Every well-educated fresher has already been indoctrinated with the right answer to this question: reals are either algebraic or transcendental. Algebraic numbers are obviously fantastic. By contrast, the transcendental numbers are utterly hideous and deserve no attention whatsoever, with the two exceptions of pi and e (bless their little cotton socks). Contrary to this received opinion, I’ll explain why it should be a major goal of 21st-century mathematics to reclaim more of the reals for explicit use by mathematicians, and I’ll tell you about some difficult problems that need to be solved along the way.
Monday, 17th November: Prof. Benjamin Allanach (DAMTP):
Possible Hints for Supersymmetry at the Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider is about to start operation again at a higher energy at the beginning of 2015. I shall introduce the machine, particle physics and the discovery of the Higgs boson. Standard theory predicts that the quantum fluctuations should make the Higgs boson much heavier than it is observed to be, but a speculative theory of particle physics (supersymmetry) explains why the quantum fluctuations are small. This theory predicts a host of new particles for the LHC to find. There were a few small anomalies in LHC data already that can be interpreted as the production of certain supersymmetric particles. Such interpretations are ready for further experimental testing next year.
Monday, 24th November: Dr. Nathanaël Berestycki (Stats Lab):
Emergence of Symmetry in Planar Probability
I will describe several simple and natural random systems which exist on the two-dimensional infinite square grid. Often there is a “critical point” for these systems. At this point, it has been predicted for more than 30 years that these systems acquire an unexpected symmetry: invariance under conformal transformations of the complex plane.
I will explain what that means, discuss some examples, and try to convey a few ideas about remarkable progress which has taken place in the last 15 years to describe these objects rigorously, notably Schramm’s famous SLE random curves.
Monday, 1st December:
Mathmo Call My Bluff
Come and celebrate Christmas with the TMS’s annual Call My Bluff event. Watch a Freshers’ Team take on a team drawn from the combined might of the rest of the university in a competition in which mathematical knowledge takes a second place to the ability to hold a good poker face.