Mahler Lectures — Wollongong

Name:Mahler Lectures — Wollongong
Calendar:1-day meetings & lectures
When:Tue, October 8, 2013, 12:30 am - 5:30 am

photo of Akshay Venkatesh This year's Mahler Lecturer is Akshay Venkatesh, of Stanford University. He will be visiting various Australian universities throughout September and October 2013. (lecture tour)


Akshay Venkatesh received his PhD in 2002 from Princeton University and his undergraduate degree from The University of Western Australia. His research is in pure mathematics — specifically, in number theory and related areas. His research interests are in the fields of counting, equidistribution problems in automorphic forms and number theory, in particular representation theory, locally symmetric spaces and ergodic theory. In 2008 he won the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize. This annual prize is for outstanding contributions to areas of mathematics influenced by the genius Srinivasa Ramanujan.

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  • Colloquium: Monday 11 Oct, 13:30 EST;
    AGR room, University of Wollongong.
    Torsion in the homology of arithmetic groups

Abstract: Take a Bianchi group — e.g, invertible 2\times 2 matrices with entries in the Gaussian integers — and abelianize it. The result is often a very large torsion group. I will discuss this phenomenon and how it relates to number theory.

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  • Public Lecture: Monday 11 Oct, 17:00 EST;
    venue TBA, University of Wollongong.
    How to stack oranges in three dimensions, 24 dimensions, and beyond

Abstract: How can we pack balls as tightly as possible? In other words: to squeeze as many balls as possible into a limited space, what's the best way of arranging the balls? It’s not hard to guess what the answer should be — but it’s very hard to be sure that it really is the answer! I'll tell the interesting story of this problem, going back to the astronomer Kepler, and ending almost four hundred years later with Thomas Hales. I will then talk about stacking 24-dimensional oranges: what this means, how it relates to the Voyager spacecraft, and the many things we don’t know beyond this.

Location:University of Wollongong Map
Created:12 Jul 2013 10:07 am UTC
Modified:23 Aug 2013 10:16 pm UTC
Updated: 23 Aug 2013