Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures

SF Lecture: The Study of Wave Interactions: Where Beautiful Mathematical Ideas Come Together

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium (160 Fifth Av.)

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium

160 Fifth Av.


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Phenomena involving wave interactions happen at different scales and media. For example, gravitational waves ripple through space-time, ocean waves move through water and quantum particles behave like wave packets. These phenomena are difficult to study in a rigorous mathematical manner, but maybe because of this challenge, mathematicians have developed interdisciplinary approaches that are powerful and beautiful.

In this lecture, Gigliola Staffilani will describe some of these approaches. She will show, for example, how the need to understand certain multilinear and periodic interactions provided the tools necessary to prove a famous conjecture in number theory and how classical tools in probability provided the framework for viable theories behind certain deterministic counterexamples.

Speaker Bio:

Staffilani has been the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2007. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Bologna in 1989 and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Following a Szegö assistant professorship at Stanford University, she had faculty appointments at Stanford, Princeton University and Brown University before joining the MIT mathematics faculty in 2002.

Staffilani is an analyst with a concentration on dispersive nonlinear partial differential equations. At Stanford, she received the Harold M. Bacon Memorial Teaching Award and the Frederick E. Terman Award for young faculty. She was a Sloan fellow from 2000 to 2002, a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1995 and 2003, and a member of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in 2009.

She is an elected member of the Massachusetts Academy of Science, a fellow of the American Mathematical Society, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2017, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Simons Fellowship in Mathematics. In 2018 she received the MIT Earll M. Murman Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.

Doors Open
: 4:30 PM
Lecture: 5:00 - 6:15 PM

Registration is required for this free, in-person event.

Further instructions will be sent to all registrants upon sign up.