## Unusual areas of university research according to the BBC

November 27th, 2013 by ajb
 Laurence Cawley (BBC News) wrote a piece for the BBC website called Seven of the more unusual areas of university research. It makes for some interesting reading and does provoke the question about financially sustaining research in UK universities.

However there is one clear mistake here. The work of Dr Barry Denholm at Cambridge is good science clearly motivated by medicine. Denholm studies cells called nephrocytes found in the excrement of flies and these cells are very similar to podocyte cells found in our kidneys.

Drosophila melanogaster, or common fruit fly.

Fruit flies have been used for a while now as a model organism as they are easy to care for and breed quickly. They give us way to preform experiments when it would be unfeasible or unethical to preform the experiment on a human.

The hope is, that due to the similarities of the certain cells found in flies and humans, kidney research could be conducted much quicker and cheaper than today. In particular studying the roles of genes in kidney disease becomes much easier.

The potential benefits to mankind are clear.

I will let other people defend the remaining six…

## LMS 2014 Prizes – call for nominations

November 24th, 2013 by ajb

The London Mathematical Society welcomes nominations for the 2014 prizes, to recognise and celebrate achievements in and contributions to mathematics.

In 2014, the LMS Council expects to award:

The Polya Prize - in recognition of outstanding creativity in, imaginative exposition of, or distinguished contribution to, mathematics within the United Kingdom.

The Fröhlich Prize – for original and extremely innovative work in any branch of mathematics.

The Senior Berwick Prize – awarded in recognition of an outstanding piece of mathematical research actually published by the Society during the eight years ending on 31 December 2013.

The Senior Anne Bennett Prize – for work in, influence on or service to mathematics, particularly in relation to advancing the careers of women in mathematics.

The Whitehead Prizes for work in and influence on mathematics.

For further information and nomination forms, please visit the LMS website.

Or contact Duncan Turton, Secretary to the Prizes Committee at the Society (tel: 020 7927 0801, email: prizes@lms.ac.uk).

The Prizes Committee is keen to increase the number of nominations it receives and, in particular, the number of nominations for women, which are disproportionately low each year. The prize regulations refer to the concept of ‘academic age’—rather than date of birth—in order to take account more fully of broken career patterns.

Closing Date for Nominations: Monday 20th January 2014

The original message is from Duncan Turton

## Fundamental Physics Prize Finalists and Winners of the New Horizons Prize

November 6th, 2013 by ajb
 The Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation announced the 2014 winners of the Physics Frontiers Prizes and New Horizons in Physics Prizes on the 5th of November 2013.

2014 Physics Frontiers Prize
The laureates of the 2014 Physics Frontiers Prize are:

• Joseph Polchinski, KITP/University of California, Santa Barbara, for his contributions in many areas of quantum field theory and string theory. His discovery of D-branes has given new insights into string theory and quantum gravity, with consequences including the AdS/CFT correspondence.
• Michael B. Green, University of Cambridge, and John H. Schwarz, California Institute of Technology, for opening new perspectives on quantum gravity and the unification of forces.
• Andrew Strominger and Cumrun Vafa, Harvard University, for numerous deep and groundbreaking contributions to quantum field theory, quantum gravity, string theory and geometry. Their joint statistical derivation of the Bekenstein-Hawking area-entropy relation unified the laws of thermodynamics with the laws of black hole dynamics and revealed the holographic nature of quantum spacetime.

Laureates of the 2014 Frontiers Prize now become nominees for the 2014 Fundamental Physics Prize. Those who do not win it will each receive $300,000 and will automatically be re-nominated for the next 5 years. 2014 New Horizons in Physics Prize The laureates of 2014 New Horizons in Physics Prize are: • Freddy Cachazo, Perimeter Institute, for uncovering numerous structures underlying scattering amplitudes in gauge theories and gravity. • Shiraz Naval Minwalla, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, for his pioneering contributions to the study of string theory and quantum field theory; and in particular his work on the connection between the equations of fluid dynamics and Albert Einstein’s equations of general relativity. • Vyacheslav Rychkov, CERN/Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University, for developing new techniques in conformal field theory, reviving the conformal bootstrap program for constraining the spectrum of operators and the structure constants in 3D and 4D CFT’s. The New Horizons Prize is awarded to up to three promising researchers, each of whom will receive$100,000.

2014 Fundamental Physics Prize
The winner of the 2014 Fundamental Physics Prize will be announced on December 12, 2013 in San Francisco, along with the winners of the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.

## Einstein for Halloween

October 31st, 2013 by ajb

It is too late for this halloween, but I know what I am wearing to the party next year…

## French mathematician to lead the European Research Council

October 29th, 2013 by ajb
 Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, a mathematician working in the field of differential geometry, has been named as the next president of the European Research Council. Bourguignon was for almost two decades the director of the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques just outside Paris. Bourguignon will commence his presidency at the end of December.

Launched in 2007, the ERC funds frontier research across all fields of research.

ERC website

news.sciencemag.org

## Four academics in Poland arrested for fraud

October 10th, 2013 by ajb
 A professor at the Institute of Maths and Computer Science at the Wroclaw University of Technology, has been arrested for fraud. According to the public prosecutor’s office in Legnica, south west Poland, the sum of money involved could be as high as 1.8 million zloty (429,300 euro).

Professor Adam J (full name withheld due to Polish law) and three colleagues received money from the university and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for research in the field of computer science. The claim is that this research was not conducted and that they simply pocketed the money.

Four academics arrested for fraud (thenews.pl)

## Math-talk-fu

October 9th, 2013 by ajb
 Prof Matilde Marcolli from Caltec has written some rather interesting and useful notes on how to defend yourself while giving a mathematics talk. Great advice and rather entertaining also. We are introduced to several bad-guys that one must defeat in the arena of mathematics seminars…

The game is now to identify each of the bad-guys found in your department and use the “moves” Marcolli suggests to defend against their attack when giving a talk.

Good luck if you are giving a talk soon.

The (Martial) Art of Giving Talks (opens pdf)

## François Englert and Peter W. Higgs win the Nobel prize

October 9th, 2013 by ajb
 François Englert and Peter W. Higgs were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 for the theory of how fundamental particles acquire mass on the 8th october. Both Englert (with the deceased Robert Brout) and Higgs independently in 1964 proposed a mechanism for the elementary particles in to acquire mass; the so called Higgs mechanism.

On 4th July 2012, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider announced they have observed a new particle in the mass region around 126 GeV. This fits well with the predicted Higgs particle. However further work is needed to determine if this particle is exactly the Higgs as proposed in the standard model or something a little more exotic.

 Peter Higgs. Photo by G-M Greuel François Englert. Photo by Pnicolet

I am overwhelmed to receive this award… I would also like to congratulate all those who have contributed to the discovery of this new particle.

Peter Higgs talking to the BBC.

The standard model
Today the standard model, with the Higgs sector, is one of the key stones in our understanding of the fundamental forces of nature. The standard model describes electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. The other key stone of fundamental physics is Einstein’s general relativity which describes the gravitational force.

Peter Higgs-facts

François Englert – Facts

## There is something on your shoe…

September 24th, 2013 by ajb

It is all in the name…

## Natural Operations in Differential Geometry by Kolar, Michor and Slovak

September 19th, 2013 by ajb
 Natural Operations in Differential Geometry by Kolar, Michor and Slovak is a monograph that covers the modern way of thinking in differential geometry in terms of natural bundles and natural operators. The book stresses the role of naturality and functoriality in differential geometry. The book covers a lot of material including fibered manifolds, connections, Jet bundles and Weil bundles.

I have found the book to be continually useful for a number of years now as it covers a lot of important modern material, especially jets and Weil bundles. It is a must for any serious differential geometer, but it is probably not the book to introduce you to the subject.

Chapter 1 “MANIFOLDS AND LIE GROUPS” covers manifolds, submersion & immersions, vector fields & flows, Lie groups and homogeneous spaces. This forms a general introduction to the “bread and butter” of differential geometry.

Chapter 2 “DIFFERENTIAL FORMS” introduces vector bundles, differential forms, derivations on the algebra of differential forms and the Frolicher-Nijenhuis bracket.

Chapter 3 “BUNDLES AND CONNECTIONS” deals with general fibre bundles and their connections. The definition of a general connection on a fibre bundle is given in terms of a one-form with values in the vertical vector bundle of the fibre bundle. In this chapter they discuss curvature and the special case of principal fibre bundles.

Chapter 4 “JETS AND NATURAL BUNDLES” introduces us to the notion of jets of functions between manifolds. Jets play an important and fundamental role in the theory of natural bundles which are defined as functors from the category of smooth manifolds to fibre bundles such that local diffeomorphisms of the manifold become bundle automorphisms.

Chapter 5 “FINITE ORDER THEOREMS” the authors develop a general framework for the theory of geometric objects and operators and to reduce local geometric considerations to fi nite order problems. A generalisation of the Peetre theorem is given for nonlinear operators.

Chapter 6 “METHODS FOR FINDING NATURAL OPERATORS” the authors present some general procedures useful for finding some equivariant maps and use these to solve concrete geometric problems.

Chapter 7 “FURTHER APPLICATIONS” discusses the Frolicher-Nijenhuis bracket, Jet functors and some topics from Riemannian geometry.

Chapter 8 “PRODUCT PRESERVING FUNCTORS” introduces us to the notion of a Weil algebra and a Weil functor. An important result here is that all product preserving natural functors are Weil functors.

Chapter 9 “BUNDLE FUNCTORS ON MANIFOLDS” here the authors discuss more general bundle functors, that is the ones that do not preserve products.

Chapter 10 “PROLONGATION OF VECTOR FIELDS AND CONNECTIONS” covers the prolongation of vector fields and connections to Weil bundles.

Chapter 11 “GENERAL THEORY OF LIE DERIVATIVES” discusses the notion of a generalised Lie derivative of a function between two manifolds. A major advantage advantage of this approach is that it enables one to study the Lie derivatives of the morphisms of fibered manifolds.

Chapter 12 “GAUGE NATURAL BUNDLES AND OPERATORS” the authors generalise some of the earlier presented notions to fiber bundles associated with and abstract principal bundle with an arbitrary structure group G.

You can find the book and some more details about the chapters here.

Hardcover: 434 pages
Publisher: Springer; 1993 edition (February 4, 1993)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 3540562354
ISBN-13: 978-3540562351