Mahler Lectures — Melbourne

Name:Mahler Lectures — Melbourne
Calendar:1-day meetings & lectures
When:Thu, October 10, 2013, 11:30 pm - Fri, October 11, 2013, 6:30 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: Thursday 10 Oct, 12:30 EST;
    Russell Love Theatre, University of Melbourne.
    From spherical harmonics to spherical varieties: harmonic analysis on homogeneous spaces and the Langlands program

Abstract: Spherical harmonics are eigenfunctions of the Laplacian on the sphere; they are also closely related to understanding how the group of rotations decomposes the space of L2 functions on the sphere. We can ask similar questions replacing the sphere by other “highly symmetric” spaces — in particular, G/H where G and H are Lie groups. I will explain some of the work on this question and how it is related to the Langlands program.

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  • Public Lecture: Thursday 10 Oct, 18:00 EST;
    Michell Theatre, University of Melbourne.
    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 Melbourne Map
Created:12 Jul 2013 09:25 am UTC
Modified:14 Aug 2013 10:03 pm UTC
Updated: 14 Aug 2013