Math News July 20th, 2009
Patrick Stein

An aggregation of some of the math blogs that I follow.

Math News (1 - 25 of about 3051) (xml) (Feedlist)


Bagchi’s thesisKowalski
(15.09.2014 18:24h)

Despite everything, there is something to be said for the internet. Just a few days ago, I wanted to reference the work of Bagchi, who provided the probabilistic interpretation of Voronin’s Universality Theorem for the Riemann zeta function. However, the original was unpublished, and one of the few papers of Bagchi on this topic pointedly indicated that he had removed most probabilistic considerations why? if it was at the request of a referee, I can only sigh . But fortunately, lo and behold, the original thesis from 1981 can be found in a very decent scan from the Indian Statistical ... [Link]

Mathematical GymnasticsGil Kalai
(15.09.2014 12:15h)

For the long days of ICM 2014 lectures, and long flights to and from Seoul, some mathematical gymnastics is needed. And this is precisely what Omer Angel taught us in his recent visit. Combining gymnastic with a demonstration of parallel transport and deep insights on human physiology! You want to move from this position to this position without simply rotating your hand. Here are two video-demonstrations by some HUJI top people Click on the picture to see the video. The drill is a sequence of five moves and the video skipped the first. Some other mathematical gymnastics is demonstrated in ... [Link]

“For the first time ever…”Media Item from “Haaretz” Today
(15.09.2014 12:15h)

Maryam Mirzakhani received the medal from South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye. Here is an article from today’s Israeli newspaper Haaretz. It is based on this article by the Guardian Thanks, Manor! . See also this post on Laba’s accidental mathematician and John Baez’ Google+ post. The ICM 2014 started today in Seoul. The International congress taking place once every four years is an exciting event, celebrated by thousands of mathematicians in Seoul and many others all over the world. The opening ceremonies came with the announcement of Artur Avila, Manjul Bhargava, Martin Hairer, and Maryam Mirzakhani as 2014 Fields medalist, ... [Link]

Jim Geelen, Bert Gerards, and Geoff Whittle Solved Rota’s Conjecture on MatroidsGil Kalai
(15.09.2014 12:15h)

Gian Carlo Rota Rota’s conjecture I just saw in the Notices of the AMS a paper by Geelen, Gerards, and Whittle where they announce and give a high level description of their recent proof of Rota’s conjecture. The 1970 conjecture asserts that for every finite field, the class of matroids representable over the field can be described by a finite list of forbidden minors. This was proved by William Tutte in 1938 for binary matroids namely those representable over the field of two elements . For binary matroids Tutte found a single forbidden minor. The ternary case was settled by ... [Link]

Media items on David, Amnon, and NathanGil Kalai
(15.09.2014 12:15h)

David Kazhdan, a very famous mathematician from my department with a super-human understanding of mathematics and more is recovering from a terrible bike accident. Here is an article about him from “Maariv.” In Hebrew Amnon Shashua, a computer science professor at the Hebrew University founded Mobileye fifteen years ago. Here is one of many articles about Mobileye. Mobileye helps eliminate car accidents and her sister company Orcam that Amnon also founded develops aids for the visually impaired. Nathan Keller, now at Bar-Ilan University, is a former Ph D student of mine working in probabilistic combinatorics and he has a parallel ... [Link]

Editorial board of “Journal of K-Theory” on strike, demanding Tony Bak hands over the journal to the K-Theory foundation.Scott Morrison
(15.09.2014 03:43h)

Text of the announcement below: Dear Colleagues, We the undersigned announce that, as of today 15 September 2014, we’re starting an indefinite strike. We will decline all papers submitted to us at the Journal of K-Theory. Our demand is that, as promised in 2007-08, Bak’s family company ISOPP hand over the ownership of the journal to the K-Theory Foundation KTF . The handover must be unconditional, free of charge and cover all the back issues. The remaining editors are cordially invited to join us. Yours Sincerely, Paul Balmer, Spencer Bloch, Gunnar Carlsson, Guillermo Cortinas, Eric Friedlander, Max Karoubi, Gennadi Kasparov, ... [Link]

universities should prioritize academicsSteven Pinker’s inflammatory proposal
(11.09.2014 22:14h)

If you haven’t yet, I urge you to read Steven Pinker’s brilliant piece in The New Republic about what’s broken with America’s “elite” colleges and how to fix it. The piece starts out as an evisceration of an earlier New Republic article on the same subject by William Deresiewicz. Pinker agrees with Deresiewicz that something is wrong, but finds Deresiewicz’s diagnosis of what to be lacking. The rest of Pinker’s article sets out his own vision, which involves America’s top universities taking the radical step of focusing on academics, and returning extracurricular activities like sports to their rightful place as ... [Link]

Quasistrict Symmetric Monoidal 2-Categories via Wire DiagramsThe n-Category Café
(10.09.2014 21:43h)

Guest post by Bruce Bartlett I recently put an article on the arXiv: Bruce Bartlett, Quasistrict symmetric monoidal 2-categories via wire diagrams. It’s about Chris Schommer-Pries’s recent strictification result from his updated thesis, that every symmetric monoidal bicategory is equivalent to a quasistrict one. Since symmetric monoidal bicategories can be viewed as the syntax for ‘stable 3-dimensional algebra’, one aim of the paper is to write out this stuff out in a diagrammatic notation, like this: The other aim is to try to strip down the definition of a ‘quasistrict symmetric monoidal bicategory’, emphasizing the central role played by the ... [Link]

Narrow progressions in the primesTerence Tao
(09.09.2014 23:54h)

Tamar Ziegler and I have just uploaded to the arXiv our paper “Narrow progressions in the primes“, submitted to the special issue “Analytic Number Theory” in honor of the 60th birthday of Helmut Maier. The results here are vaguely reminiscent of the recent progress on bounded gaps in the primes, but use different methods. About a decade ago, Ben Green and I showed that the primes contained arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions: given any , one could find a progression with 0}' title='{r>0}' class='latex' /> consisting entirely of primes. In fact we showed the same statement was true if the primes ... [Link]

ICM2014 — Bhargava, Gentry, Sandersgowers
(07.09.2014 14:44h)

On my last day at the ICM I ended up going to fewer talks. As on the previous two days the first plenary lecture was not to be missed — it was Maryam Mirzakhani — so despite my mounting tiredness I set my alarm appropriately. I was a little surprised when I got there by just how empty it was, until eventually I saw that on the screens at the front it said that the lecture was cancelled because of her Fields medallist’s lecture the following Tuesday. I belonged to the small minority that had not noticed this, partly because ... [Link]

Raise a martini glass for Google and Martinis!Scott
(06.09.2014 17:20h)

We’ve already been discussing this in the comments section of my previous post, but a few people emailed me to ask when I’d devote a separate blog post to the news. OK, so for those who haven’t yet heard: this week Google’s Quantum AI Lab announced that it’s teaming up with John Martinis, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, to accelerate the Martinis group‘s already-amazing efforts in superconducting quantum computing. See here for the MIT Tech‘s article, here for Wired‘s, and here for the WSJ‘s. Besides building some of the best if not the best superconducting qubits in the ... [Link]

Ronnie Brown in ParisThe n-Category Café
(06.09.2014 11:47h)

Ronnie Brown has brought to my attention a talk he gave recently at the Workshop Constructive Mathematics and Models of Type Theory, IHP Paris, 02 June 2014 - 06 June 2014. Title: Intuitions for cubical methods in nonabelian algebraic topology Abstract: The talk will start from the 1-dimensional Seifert-van Kampen Theorem for the fundamental group, then groupoid, and so to a use of strict double groupoids for higher versions. These allow for some precise nonabelian calculations of some homotopy types, obtained by a gluing process. Cubical methods are involved because of the ease of writing multiple compositions, leading to “algebraic ... [Link]

Narrow progressions in the primesTerence Tao
(05.09.2014 11:35h)

Tamar Ziegler and I have just uploaded to the arXiv our paper “Narrow progressions in the primes“, submitted to the special issue “Analytic Number Theory” in honor of the 60th birthday of Helmut Maier. The results here are vaguely reminiscent of the recent progress on bounded gaps in the primes, but use different methods. About a decade ago, Ben Green and I showed that the primes contained arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions: given any , one could find a progression with 0}' title='{r>0}' class='latex' /> consisting entirely of primes. In fact we showed the same statement was true if the primes ... [Link]

Large gaps between consecutive prime numbersTerence Tao
(05.09.2014 11:35h)

Kevin Ford, Ben Green, Sergei Konyagin, and myself have just posted to the arXiv our preprint “Large gaps between consecutive prime numbers“. This paper concerns the “opposite” problem to that considered by the recently concluded Polymath8 project, which was concerned with very small values of the prime gap . Here, we wish to consider the largest prime gap that one can find in the interval as goes to infinity. Finding lower bounds on is more or less equivalent to locating long strings of consecutive composite numbers that are not too large compared to the length of the string. A classic ... [Link]

Matilde Lalin Attending conferences with small childrenmlalin
(05.09.2014 11:35h)

[This guest post is authored by Matilde Lalin, an Associate Professor in the Département de mathématiques et de statistique at the Université de Montréal. I have lightly edited the text, mostly by adding some HTML formatting. -T.] Mathematicians and likely other academics! with small children face some unique challenges when traveling to conferences and workshops. The goal of this post is to reflect on these, and to start a constructive discussion what institutions and event organizers could do to improve the experiences of such participants. The first necessary step is to recognize that different families have different needs. While it ... [Link]

Khot, Osher, GriffithsTerence Tao
(05.09.2014 11:35h)

In addition to the Fields medallists mentioned in the previous post, the IMU also awarded the Nevanlinna prize to Subhash Khot, the Gauss prize to Stan Osher my colleague here at UCLA! , and the Chern medal to Phillip Griffiths. Like I did in 2010, I’ll try to briefly discuss one result of each of the prize winners, though the fields of mathematics here are even further from my expertise than those discussed in the previous post and all the caveats from that post apply here also . Subhash Khot is best known for his Unique Games Conjecture, a problem ... [Link]

Avila, Bhargava, Hairer, MirzakhaniTerence Tao
(05.09.2014 11:35h)

The 2014 Fields medallists have just been announced as in alphabetical order of surname Artur Avila, Manjul Bhargava, Martin Hairer, and Maryam Mirzakhani see also these nice video profiles for the winners, which is a new initiative of the IMU and the Simons foundation . This time four years ago, I wrote a blog post discussing one result from each of the 2010 medallists; I thought I would try to repeat the exercise here, although the work of the medallists this time around is a little bit further away from my own direct area of expertise than last time, and ... [Link]

Sharks and SnakesKowalski
(04.09.2014 16:53h)

The Swiss stereotypes do not usually suggest a great sense of humor. But since I’ve been in Zürich, I’ve noticed a certain style of quiet understated humor, in particular in advertising. Here’s one ad for the most famous vegetarian restaurant in Zürich probably the best in the world : Snakes Here’s an ad for the Zürich public transportation system; the left-hand man is a right-wing politician, and the right-hand one a socialist I had to look this up; I’m not really up to date on local politics , and the ad says that fortunately there is a tram stop on ... [Link]

ICM2014 — Kollár, Conlon, Katz, Krivelevich, Milnorgowers
(03.09.2014 18:38h)

As the ICM recedes further into the past, these posts start to feel less and less fresh. I’ve had an enforced break from them as over the course of three days I drove my family from the south of France back to Cambridge. So I think I’ll try to do what I originally intended to do with all these posts, and be quite a lot briefer about each talk. As I’ve already mentioned, Day 3 started with Jim Arthur’s excellent lecture on the Langlands programme. In a comment on that post, somebody questioned my use of “Jim” rather than “James”. ... [Link]

Uncountably Categorical TheoriesThe n-Category Café
(31.08.2014 05:43h)

Right now I’d love to understand something a logician at Oxford tried to explain to me over lunch a while back. His name is Boris Zilber. He’s studying what he informally calls ‘logically perfect’ theories — that is, lists of axioms that almost completely determine the structure they’re trying to describe. He thinks that we could understand physics better if we thought harder about these logically perfect theories: Boris Zilber, Perfect infinities and finite approximation. Boris Zilber, On model theory, noncommutative geometry and physics. His ways of thinking, rooted in model theory, are quite different from anything I’m used to. ... [Link]

no, that’s crazy Do theoretical computer scientists despise practitioners? Answer
(28.08.2014 17:42h)

A roboticist and Shtetl-Optimized fan named Jon Groff recently emailed me the following suggestion for a blog entry: I think a great idea for an entry would be the way that in fields like particle physics the theoreticians and experimentalists get along quite well but in computer science and robotics in particular there seems to be a great disdain for the people that actually do things from the people that like to think about them. Just thought I’d toss that out there in case you are looking for some subject matter. After I replied among other things, raising my virtual ... [Link]

ICM2014 — Jim Arthur plenary lecturegowers
(27.08.2014 20:01h)

The main other thing I did on day two of the congress was go to a reception in the evening hosted by the French Embassy. It was less formal than that makes it sound, and as I circulated I met a number of people I hadn’t seen for quite a while, as well as others I had got to know at the congress itself. The French ambassador, who was disconcertingly young looking, gave a speech, as did Artur Avila as you know, Avila, like Ngo four years ago, is French , and one other person, whose name I’ve annoyingly forgotten. ... [Link]

ICM2014 — Barak, Guralnick, Browngowers
(26.08.2014 19:29h)

Here’s a little puzzle to get this post started. Of the fourteen 21st-century Fields medallists if you count Perelman , seven — Lafforgue, Voevodsky, Tao, Werner, Smirnov, Avila and Mirzakhani — have something interesting in common that the others lack. What is this property? That’s a fairly easy question, so let’s follow it up with another one: how surprised should we be about this? Is there unconscious bias towards mathematicians with this property? Of this year’s 21 plenary lecturers, the only one with the property was Mirzakhani, and out of the 20 plenary lecturers in 2010, the only one with ... [Link]

“Could a Quantum Computer Have Subjective Experience?”Scott
(25.08.2014 20:09h)

Author’s Note: Below is the prepared version of a talk that I gave two weeks ago at the workshop Quantum Foundations of a Classical Universe, which was held at IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY. My talk is for entertainment purposes only; it should not be taken seriously by anyone. If you reply in a way that makes clear you did take it seriously “I’m shocked and outraged that someone who dares to call himself a scientist would … [blah blah]“ , I will log your IP address, hunt you down at night, and force you to ... [Link]

ICM2014 — Emmanuel Candès plenary lecturegowers
(25.08.2014 14:38h)

If you are a mathematical researcher, do you ever stop to ask yourself what the point is of all your research? Do you worry that the world could get along just fine without it? One person who doesn’t lose any sleep over doubts like this is Emmanuel Candès, who gave the second plenary lecture I went to. He began by talking a little about the motivation for the kinds of problems he was going to discuss, which one could summarize as follows: his research is worthwhile because it helps save the lives of children. More precisely, it used to be ... [Link]

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