2015 Winter School: Wrap Up

The 2015 Winter School on Algebra, Geometry and Physics was hosted by the University of Queensland. Forty graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from Australia and around the world came together at the university for the intensive two-week school. The exciting program gave participants the opportunity to learn from leaders in the field, expand their skills and build networks.

COURSES

GEOMETRIC REPRESENTATION THEORY

  • Assoc. Prof Anthony Henderson, University of Sydney
  • Dr Masoud Kamgarpour, University of Queensland
  • Dr Tony Licata, Australian National University

MODUI SPACES IN SYMPLECTIC GEOMETRY

  • Dr Joan Licata, Australian National University
  • Dr Brett Parker, Australian National University

MOONSHINE CONJECTURES AND VERTEX OPERATOR ALGEBRAS

  • Prof Terry Gannon, University of Alberta
  • Dr Nora Ganter, University of Melbourne
  • Prof Geoffrey Mason, University of California Santa Cruz

K-THEORY AND ITS APPLICATIONS

  • Dr Vigleik Angeltveit, Australian National University
  • Dr Pedram Hekmati, University of Adelaide

INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS

PROFESSOR GEOFFREY MASON
Geoffrey is Distinguished Professor of mathematics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has worked in many areas of mathematics and became interested in modular functions when the Monstrous Moonshine conjectures were announced in 1979. Geoffrey then spent the first half of the 1980s initiating a systematic study of modular functions associated with finite groups. These works eventually led him to study the theory of vertex operator algebras which was the focus of his talk.

PROFESSOR TERRY GANNON
Terry is currently Professor of Mathematics at the University of Alberta, Canada, where he has been since 1998. He is an eminent mathematician with research interests in a wide range of mathematics, in particular the interactions of algebra, number theory, complex analysis, geometry and mathematical physics, with a focus on conformal field theory. He is the author of a popular monograph on Moonshine beyond the Monster (Cambridge University Press, 2006) which, together with more recent developments, formed the basis for his lectures on the Moonshine Conjectures and Vertex Operator Algebras course.

PROGRAM EXTRAS

THE GLASS BEAD GAME: PUBLIC LECTURE

Professor Arun Ram, The University of Melbourne, took the audience on a virtual tour of a toy store with friends Maria Callas, Alexander Grothendieck and Hermann Hesse. Showing the audience pleasant games with glass beads, athletic games skiing the moguls, and violent games where everything gets smashed. The talk told stories related to current research in symmetry.

The AMSI Winter School Public Lecture is run annually in conjunction with BrisScience and engages a broad audience with the topic of the school.

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A networking event was held in conjunction with the AustMS Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group, the event supports the network and raises awareness about issues for women in mathematics.This year female mathematicians from The Australian National University, SilverRail, National Australia Bank and The University of Melbourne opened the event by talking about their experiences. The presentations were followed by lively discussion among attendees.

WHAT ATTENDEES HAD TO SAY

“The lectures were at the same time fast paced and packed with knowledge, but at the same time comprehensible and pulled you along.”

– Ross Ogilvie, The University of Sydney

“I enjoyed the variety of lecturers and topics that were presented. We were also given ample time to spend with the lecturers to ask questions and chat.”

– Jeremy Nugent, The University of New South Wales

MEDIA COVERAGE

dcppflhodm29zOPINION PIECE: AMSI Winter School speakers Joan and Anthony Licata explained the importance of fundamental research to ABC Science:

“Mathematicians certainly weren’t thinking about computer graphics in the 1890s. They were studying abstract questions about two-dimensional geometry and developing beautiful mathematics. Nevertheless, the techniques they invented in order to state this question precisely and then answer it have turned out to be extremely useful. In fact, this theme recurs throughout human history: mathematics developed to solve abstract problems turns out to be useful. Maybe not always and definitely not quickly, but it happens over and over again. Read more…

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

The AMSI Winter School is funded jointly by the Department of Education and Training, the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, with support from The University of Queensland, Australian National University, Biarri, the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, AMSI Intern & QCIF.

  • It was a very intense two weeks. The students were consistently engaged by the courses

    Dr Phil Isaac Winter School Director