Seminars, Colloquia, and Conferences
2014 Norbert Wiener Lectures
Skip Garibaldi
Associate Director, Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics, UCLA
Professor, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Emory University
EXPECT THE EXPECTED
(April 2325, 2014)
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Undergraduate Seminar
Topological and Generic Methods in Algebra
Wednesday, April 23, 4:00pm; Cabot Intercultural Center 205
Reception: 3:30pm; Cabot Intercultural Center Lounge
Abstract:
In calculus we take limits and think about graphs all the time, and it would
be nice to be able to use the same sorts of techniques in courses like abstract
linear algebra (Math 72) and abstract algebra (Math 145 & 146), even when you
aren't working with real or complex numbers. I'll explain how these techniques
can be used and give some examples of their application.
Public Lecture
Some People Have All the Luck
Thursday, April 24, 4:30pm; Pearson 104
Reception: 5:30pm; Aidekman Arts Center, Remis Sculpture Court
Abstract:
Winning a prize of at least $600 in the lottery is a remarkable thing  for
a scratcher ticket the odds are worse than 1in1200 and 1in9000 is a more
typical figure. Some people have won many of these large prizes, and clearly
they are very lucky or they buy a ton of lottery tickets. When we investigated
records of all claimed lottery prizes, we discovered that some people had won
hundreds of these prizes! Such people seem to be not just lucky, but suspiciously
lucky. I will explain what we thought they might have been up to, what mathematics
says about it, and what further investigations revealed. This talk is about
joint work with Lawrence Mower, an investigative reporter for the Palm Beach Post,
and Philip B. Stark, professor and chair of the UC Berkeley Department of Statistics.
Colloquium
Groups Stabilizing Polynomials
Friday, April 25, 1:00pm; BromfieldPearson 101
Reception: 12:30pm; BromfieldPearson, Clarkson Conference Room
Abstract:
The classical "linear preserver problem" asks: Given a polynomial in
finitely many variables, what is the group of linear transformations that
preserve it? This problem has been solved for many interesting polynomials,
usually by means that are special to the particular polynomial under
consideration. We turn this problem on its head by starting with a polynomial
that is preserved by a simple algebraic group and observe that the full
preserver can be described by a general theorem. The results are new even in
the case where the field is the complex numbers, and as an application we shed
some light on a 125+ year old problem. This is joint work with Bob Guralnick.
The Norbert Wiener Lectures were initially funded by an anonymous gift
to the Department of Mathematics. All talks are free and open to the
public.
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