GAMES -- General Audience Maths Edinburgh Seminar

Dates: October 19,   November 2,   November 16,   November 30;
Time: 12.05 -- 1.00pm;
Room: JCMB 5215.

In this seminar, speakers from Edinburgh explain their research to a general mathematical audience including final year undergraduate students, PhD students, postdocs and faculty from the School of Mathematics. We'll try to have a good mix of speakers coming from all the different research areas within the school.


  • Learn about the diverse research interests and projects within the school.
  • Learn/improve to give a understandable research talk to a general (mathematical) audience.

    Please contact the organisers if you are interested in giving a talk in the seminar. Julia Collins kindly offered support in preparing the talks (until end of October).


    Monday October 19, 2015.

    12.05 - 12.30:   Tom Leinster,   Situating objects in the mathematical landscape.
    12.35 - 13.00:   Ben Goddard,   Complex Multiscale Modelling.

    Monday November 2, 2015

    12.05 - 12.30:   Johan Martens,   Symmetry and what it can buy: from Archimedes to the LHC
    12.35 - 13.00:   Lyuba Chumakova,   Interdisciplinary research: the joys, pains and pleasant surprises of starting in mathematical biology.

    Monday November 16, 2015

    12.05 - 12.30:   Martin Kalck,   Matrix factorisations: Knörrer's periodicity and beyond.
    12.35 - 13.00:   Anna Lisa Varri,   Standing at the crossroads of Mathematics, Astronomy, and Physics -- Stellar Dynamics.

    Monday November 30, 2015

    12.05 - 12.30:   David Jordan,   Topological field theory: from Feynman to Atiyah-Segal, and beyond. (Video)

                            Abstract: Richard Feynman's theory of the path integrals is
                            staggeringly elegant, simple, and beautiful. It gives incredibly
                            precise numerical and theoretical predictions about quantum mechanics,
                            despite the fact that the integral itself is deeply, achingly,
                            confoudingly, perhaps irreparably, ill-defined.

                            Topological field theory is mathematics doing what mathematics does
                            best: abstracting away all the pathologies of Feynman's integrals, and
                            keeping the best parts for ourselves. Topological field theory tells us
                            that all the algebra we know is one-dimensional: every equation in
                            every textbook we ever read is a string of symbols written from left to
                            right. Even if these equations *describe* high-dimensional spaces, the
                            equations themselves are still one-dimensional in this sense.

                            Topological field theory challenges us with the question: what does it
                            look like to do algebra in the plane? On a torus? In
                            three-dimensional space? The answers to these questions are the best
                            hope for mathematicians and physicists to converse, and to converge.

    Organisers: Martin Kalck, Martina Lanini, Špela Špenko.