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Department of Mathematical Sciences



John Parker at Trieste Advance School and Workshop

John Parker has just returned from organising (together with Pepe Seade, Todd Drumm and Bertrand Deroin) a summer school and workshop at ICTP in Trieste, on the geometry of discrete actions . The mission of ICTP is to promote science and mathematics in the developing world. We were given funding by UNESCO to invite
mathematicians from developing countries. The two largest groups came from Mexico and India. In addition we had participants from Benin, Cameroon, China, Congo, Ghana, Iran, Pakistan as well as England, Italy, Japan and Korea. We also received funding
from the NSF (USA) and CONACYT (Mexico).

During the first week there were mini-courses to provide the necessary background. In the second week research talks, whose speakers were also from a wide range of countries: Canada, England, France, Germany, India, Luxembourg, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland and the USA. A particular highlight for John was meeting his student Richard Boadi from Ghana for the second time. During the five years Richard was working on his PhD, he and John only talked by email. The first time they met was before Richard was a graduate student.

ICTP Summer School 2015

(15 Sep 2015)

Ruth Gregory on Emmy Noether

During the Convergence conference at the Perimeter Institute, Canada, on June 21 2015, Peter Olver (Minnesota) and Ruth Gregory (Durham) explored the mathematical legacy of Emmy Noether. You can watch the dual public lecture here. One slide featuring six photographs stood as the ultimate testament to the ongoing legacy of pioneer mathematician Emmy Noether. Indeed, at the end of two talks that described Noether’s career, her groundbreaking theorems, and her work’s ongoing impact, Ruth showed a slide featuring the six women who are mathematical physics faculty at the University of Durham. “That is Noether’s legacy, and I think she would have been jazzed to see this slide,” Ruth said. The public lecture about Emmy Noether ended the first day of Convergence.

(22 Jun 2015)

Durham Maths to host ESGI in April 2016

The European Study Group with Industry (ESGI) comes to Durham for the first time in the week starting Sunday 10 April 2016. ESGI are week-long problem-solving workshops which provide a unique opportunity for interaction between mathematicians, scientists and industry. They bring together leading mathematicians from a wide range of backgrounds to work intensively on real-world problems. We expect to be able to accommodate around 8 industry problems, which will be tackled by 50-100 academics ranging from PhD students to senior academics. Originating in Oxford in 1968, ESGI have since been held several times a year across Europe. This year, the UK based ESGI is in Manchester.

(26 Mar 2015)

BP Achievement Awards 2014-15

Congratulations to the Maths undergraduates who have been awarded BP prizes by the Faculty of Science this year.

BP Stem Scholar: Natasha Roberts (1H, G103)

STEM+ Achievement Awards: Thomas Lamport and Amy Stevenson (2H, G103)

(18 Feb 2015)

Jens Funke and the 150 years of the London Mathematical Society

Cambridge Journals have compiled a selection of popular articles featured in Compositio Mathematica, LMS Journal of Computation and Mathematics and Mathematika to celebrate 150 years of the London Mathematical Society. Congratulations to our colleague, the number theorist Jens Funke, whose article on Heegner Divisors and Nonholomorphic Modular Forms (Compositio Mathematica / Volume 133 / Issue 03 / September 2002, pp 289- 321) is one of fifteen articles selected for the occasion. Visit the LMS website for more detail on the 150 years planned events.

(15 Jan 2015)

Equality, Diversity & Unconscious Bias Session

Michelle Taylor, who is Durham University's Equality & Diversity Officer/Trainer delivered a one-hour session on the thought-provoking topic of unconscious bias within the broader framework of Equality and Diversity. This staff development session on Wednesday 26 November 2014 was well-received by the 52 participants, a mix of academic and administrative staff as well as postgraduate students from our department.

Presentation slides.

(26 Nov 2014)

HoD to join the LMS Women in Mathematics Committee

The LMS Council has recently approved the nomination of Anne Taormina as member of the LMS Women in Mathematics Committee. This is excellent news for the Department, as this will reinforce our links with the LMS and provide a new channel of communication between Durham and the UK Mathematics community that should facilitate the dissemination of good practice in the context of the Athena Swan programme.

(25 Nov 2014)

Collingwood Lecture 2013 a big hit

Peter Higgs

Professor Peter Higgs, Nobel Prize in Physics 2013, came to Durham University on Tuesday 5th November to deliver the Collingwood Lecture 2013, only weeks after the announcement of his Nobel Prize. This was THE event of the Michaelmas term and more than 500 people attended the event. The largest lecture theatre on the Science site was bursting at its seams, and the lecture was relayed using audio-visual equipment. In the days preceding the event, there was a tangible sense of excitement across the campus and the atmosphere at the lecture was electric.

The lecture, entitled `The electroweak symmetry breaking and the Higgs boson', was delivered in two parts. The first was an excellent introduction to the Higgs mechanism that gives mass to elementary particles given by Professor Steve Abel from Durham. It put in context Peter Higgs's own account of the chronology of scientific ideas in the early sixties that culminated in 1964 with publications by two Belgian physicists, Professors Robert Brout and Francois Englert, and Peter's own work, on the symmetry breaking mechanism and the prediction of a scalar particle, now known as the Higgs boson. The discovery at CERN in 2012 of a particle `consistent with the Higgs boson of the Standard Model' led to the Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 being shared between Francois Englert and Peter Higgs, Robert Brout having passed away in 2011.
Peter also reminded the audience of the important subsequent results obtained by Professor Tom Kibble of Imperial College London, and Professors Gerald Guralnik and Carl Hagen, which are highly relevant in the explanation of the origin of mass.

The audience, ranging from the Vice Chancellor to undergraduates to local sixth formers and members of the general public alike, was captivated by the talks, which offered a glimpse of the dynamics of theoretical physics research processes, and of the awesome experimental effort and ingenuity deployed to confirm theoretical predictions. The younger students in particular, mostly taking A-level Mathematics, Further Mathematics and/or Physics responded enthusiastically to the lectures and were inspired by the energy of the event and, of course, by meeting one of the more unlikely heroes of contemporary culture.

The Collingwood Lecture is an annual event organised by the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Durham. It is organised in memory of Sir Edward Collingwood F.R.S., a mathematician probably known best for his work on the theory of Cluster Sets. He was Chairman of the Council of Durham University from 1955 to his death in 1970. He was knighted in 1962, elected to the Royal Society in 1965 and became President of the London Mathematical Society in 1969. The lectures are given by mathematicians of international renown and are suitable for a general audience.

Some memorable moments of the day have been captured on camera, and we invite you to visit our photo gallery.

(18 Nov 2013)