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Department of Mathematical Sciences

Pascal Lecture

The Blaise Pascal Lecture series has been established following a generous bequest by Mrs Marjorie Roberts in 2006. Each year, the Board of Studies elects a Pascal Fellow from a list of nominees, whose research interests are either in Pure Mathematics or Natural Philosophy (Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics).

The 2018 Pascal Lecture

Professor Peter Sarnak (Princeton University and IAS)

" Integer points on affine cubic surfaces"

15 May 2018, 2:00pm, CM101

Abstract: A cubic polynomial equation in four or more variables tends to have many integer solutions, while one in two variables has a limited number of such solutions. There is a body of work establishing results along these lines. On the other hand very little is known in the critical case of three variables. For special such cubics, which we call Markoff surfaces, a theory can be developed. We will review some of the tools used to deal with these and related problems. Joint works with Bourgain/Gamburd and with Ghosh


Peter Sarnak is a South African-born mathematician who has been Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University since 2002, succeeding Andrew Wiles, and is also on the permanent faculty at the School of Mathematics of the Institute for Advanced Study. He is known for his work in analytic number theory. Peter is the recipient of many prestigious prizes, such as the George Pólya Prize (1998), the Ostrowski Prize (2001), the Levi L. Conant Prize (2003), the Cole Prize (2005) and the Wolf Prize (2014).