Atiyah Lecture

The Atiyah Lecture is an annual lecture to commemorate Sir Michael Atiyah (1929-2019), delivered by a distinguished mathematician who has provided a significant service to the international mathematical community.

The first Atiyah Lecture was given by Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon on 11 January 2021.

Professor Bourguignon is a distinguished differential geometer who served as director of the IHES and as  president of the French Mathematical Society, of the European Mathematical Society and most recently of the  European Research Council.

What  is a Spinor?

This was the title of the lecture Sir Michael gave in September 2013  at IHES on the occasion of the farewell conference for my retirement as Director.

This was most appropriate as I learned a lot from him about this subject. It is true that mathematicians struggled for a long  time to get acquainted with spinors. It is in sharp contrast with  the fact that physicists adopted them without hesitation as soon as Paul-Adrien Maurice Dirac showed they were essential to formulate a quantum equation invariant under the Poincaré group.

Indeed spinors have a number of features that make them both subtle and powerful to deal with mathematical problems. Of great importance are of course the natural differential operators universally  defined on spinor fields, namely the Dirac and the Penrose operators.

The purpose of the lecture is to revisit historical steps taken to master these objects, explore their remarkable geometric content and present some mathematical problems on which they shed light. 

Watch the lecture online or read the slides.

Finney Lecture

The Finney Lecture  is an annual lecture  to commemorate Professor David Finney (1917-2018). The lecture  aims to highlight exceptional research in the field of applied statistics.

The 5th David Finney Lecture was given online by Professor Kerrie Mengersen on 18 March 2021.

Professor Kerrie Mengersen is a Distinguished Professor in Statistics at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. She is the Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Mathematical Frontiers and the Director of the QUT Centre for Data Science. Kerrie is also an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and a member of the Statistical Society of Australia and the IMS, ASA, RSS, ISBA and ISI. Her research interests are in mathematical statistics and its application to substantive challenges in health, environment and industry, with particular focus on Bayesian methods.

`Crikey – it’s  a Bayesian!’

Bayesian statistics is now an established tool of trade for an applied statistician or data scientist. However, there are many open challenges in Bayesian modelling and analysis, which are often inspired by challenging real-world problems. In this presentation, Kerrie Mengersen will discuss a suite of environmental and biological problems that have required us to build better Bayesian tools to address increasingly sophisticated insights. The applied challenges range from the Antarctic to the Amazon, and from water to wellness. The tools include spatio-temporal models, nonparametrics, latent variable constructs and Bayesian network analyses. The work is based on research with a range of collaborators who will be acknowledged in the presentation.

Fitch Lecture

The Fitch Lecture is an  annual lecture to commemorate Davey Fitch  (1978-2019). It  aims to  highlight the impact of Mathematical Sciences.

The first Fitch lecture will be given by Professor  John Aston on 5th May 2021 (Wednesday) at 2:00pm

John Aston, Harding Professor of Statistics in Public Life, is based in the Statistical Laboratory, Department of Pure Maths and Mathematical Statistics at the University of Cambridge. From 2017-2020 he was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Home Office. He is an applied statistician who works in areas including medical imaging and official statistics, and was a founding director of the Alan Turing Institute

Statistics, Science and Government: A Statistician as a CSA

Statistics and data have always had a role in government, and censuses, for example, have been carried out for thousands of years to allow governments to make decisions. As a departmental chief scientific adviser, it was always important to me to make sure that the evidence was well considered in the policy-making process.  In this talk, I’ll give some examples of how statistics was combined with other science in the policy process, and how hopefully the current appetite for science in government will continue to lead to better and better policy decisions. I very much hope this will encourage other mathematicians and statisticians to consider getting involved in science advice for themselves.

Whittaker Lecture

The Whittaker Lecture is an  annual  lecture to commemorate Sir Edmund Whittaker (1873-1956), delivered  by a distinguished mathematician.

The first Whittaker lecture was given by Professor Yuri Tschinkel on 19 November 2020.

Professor Tschinkel graduated from Moscow State University in 1990 and received his PhD in 1992 from the MIT under the supervision of Yuri Manin and Michael Artin. Now he is a professor at the Courant Institute (NYU). Prior NYU, he worked at Harvard, UIC and University of Goettingen. Since 2012, Tschinkel is director of the Simons Foundation’s Department of Mathematics and Physics. Tschinkel does research on arithmetic geometry. He is the author of over 110 research publications. Tschinkel was an Invited Speaker at the ICM 2006 in Madrid. He is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

Rational points, rational curves, and rational varieties.

I will discuss recent results and constructions in the study of rationality of algebraic varieties, and their applications to arithmetic questions.

Watch the lecture online.