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2009 Kemeny Lecture Series

Georgia Benkart

President - Association for Women in Mathematics
Professor Emerita - University of Wisonsin - Madison

Representations of Groups of Matrices

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4-5:00 PM

007 Kemeny Hall

Abstract: Issai Schur's 1901 Ph.D. dissertation on the representations of the general linear group of invertible n by n matrices was the thesis that launched a thousand papers. It has influenced work on symmetric functions, diagram algebras, knot and link invariants, combinatorics, and much more. This talk will survey results (old and new) which have their origins in Schur's amazing thesis.

Note: This talk will be accessible to graduate students.

Determinants in Wonderland

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

7-8:00 PM

008 Kemeny Hall

Abstract: Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, made noteworthy contributions to mathematics including methods for computing determinants. Even though Dodgson had a wonderful imagination, he never could have envisioned how many conjectures and how much mathematics his determinantal work would inspire. This talk will "begin at the beginning and go on" from there starting from Dodgson's view of determinants as condensed matter.

Note: This talk is for a general audience and will be accessible to undergraduates.

NB: A PDF version of this announcement (suitable for posting) is also available.

Travels to Hyperbolic Space Starting from an sl(2) Base

Thursday, April 23, 2009

4-5:00 PM

007 Kemeny Hall

Abstract: This talk will focus on the Lie algebra sl(2) of 2 x 2 matrices of trace zero and a choice of basis for it that makes transparent connections with the modular group, the braid group on 3 strands, hyperbolic space, automorphisms of the Poincare disk, Tits buildings, a geometry over the field of one element, and more.

Note: This talk will be accessible to graduate students.