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Seminars, Colloquia, and Conferences

Norbert Wiener Lectures

The annual Norbert Wiener Lectures feature a series of three talks by a distinguished mathematician. The first talk is a public lecture that should be accessible to anyone with a modest mathematical background; then there is typically one talk at the level of an undergraduate colloquium and one for a specialized audience. The Wiener lecturer is invited to visit for a full week in order to interact with faculty and students.

2016 Lecture Series

April 2016
Noam Elkies (Professor, Department of Mathematics, Harvard University)
"Canonical Forms"
  1. Canonical forms – the mathematical structure of musical canons

  2. Poisson summation and packing problems

More info >


Canonical Forms

Past Norbert Wiener Lecturers

April 2014
Skip Garibaldi (Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics, UCLA;  Professor, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Emory University)
"Expect the Expected"
  1. Topological and generic methods in algebra
  2. Some people have all the luck
  3. Groups stabilizing polynomials

More info >


Expect the Expected
March 2013
Peter Winkler (Dartmouth College)
"Probability and Intuition"

  1. "Probability Puzzles that Boggle the Mind"
  2. "New Directions in Random Walk on a Graph"
  3. "Random Walk and the Gittins Index"

More info >


Probability and Intuition
March 2012
Jordan S. Ellenberg (Madison)
"How To Count"

  1. "There is No Such Thing as Public Opinion: Polls, Hanging Chads, and Slime Molds"
  2. "Polynomials as Numbers"
  3. "Arithmetic Counting Problems: The Topology of Numbers"

More info >

How To Count
March 2011
Diane Prost O'Leary (Maryland)
"Searching for Certainty: Words, Images, Location"
  1. "Mathematics in Words and Images: The role mathematics plays in searching the web and in restoring blurred images."
  2. "Uncertainty Quantification for Ill-posed Problems"
  3. "Where Am I?: Position from incomplete distance information, from Gauss's geodesy problems to protein structures"
Searching for Certainty
April 2010
Robert Ghrist (UPenn)
"Form and Function: Topology as a Tool"
  1. "Sensor Sensibility: the Mathematics of Sensor Networks"  
  2. "Sheaves and Data"
  3. "Current Trends in Applied Algebraic Topology"

Form and Function
September 2008
Jeff Weeks (independent)
  1. "The Shape of Space"
  2. "Visualizing Four Dimensions"
  3. "Where Do Spherical Spaces Come From?"
February 2008
Margaret Wright (Courant, NYU)
  1. "How Hard Can It Be?"
  2. "A Tale of Three Complexities: the Worst of Times, the Best of Times, the Spring of Hope"
  3. "The Nelder-Mead optimization method: dead or alive?"       
October 2006
James Yorke (Maryland)
  1. "Chaos"
  2. "The HIV/AIDS Epidemic: When is HIV most infectious?"
  3. "Determining the DNA sequence: A billion-dollar logic puzzle"
October 2005
Nicholas Lloyd Trefethen (Oxford)
"Confessions of a Number Cruncher"
  1. "The trapezoid rule, rational approximation, and functions of matrices"
  2. "Computed eigenmodes of planar regions"
  3.  "Polynomial interpolation and the Chebfun system in Matlab"
Persi Diaconis (Stanford)
"Mathematics and Magic Tricks"


October 2004
Sigurdur Helgason (MIT)
  1. "Geometry and the Real World"
  2. "Fourier and Radon transforms on symmetric spaces"
  3. "The geometry of the wave equation"