SoCalAGS @ UCLA, 5 December 2015

eno-cat-28Don’t displease Brian Eno’s cat. Come to the four excellent talks at December’s Southern California Algebraic Geometry Seminar at UCLA.

Talks are in Mathematical Sciences Building 6627.

Speakers are:
Jim Bryan, University of British Columbia
Dragos Oprea, University of California, San Diego
Giulia Sacca, SUNY Stony Brook
Xinwen Zhu, Caltech

For information on parking, please register.

Photo is a still from The British Guide to Showing Off via Hero Culte.

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WAGS @ UW, 17–18 October 2015


The Fall 2015 Western Algebraic Geometry Symposium will be held at the University of Washington, Seattle, on the weekend of 17–18 October in Savery Hall 260 (on the Quad — not the math department building).

Speakers are:
Valery Alexeev, Georgia
Aravind Asok, USC
Brian Osserman, Davis
Alena Pirutka, NYU
Yiwei She, Columbia
Rekha Thomas, Washington
Nikolaos Tziolas, Cyprus & Princeton

Photo from imagur. Todd Marinovich: “I just saw purple. That’s all. No numbers, no faces, just purple.”

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New paper: Rationality does not specialize among terminal varieties

IMG-20150805-00382I’ve posted a new paper on the arXiv. A limit of rational varieties need not be rational, even if all varieties in the family are projective and have at most terminal singularities. This shows that a result of de Fernex and Fusi’s does not extend to higher dimensions.

Photo: Susie the cat in Westwood.

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Drama by math department standards

    He eschews job offers from prestigious East Coast institutions in favor of a relaxed, no-drama department in a place where he can enjoy the weather. — NYT on Terry Tao

Number theorist questions algebraist’s notation.
French mathematician writes paper in French.
Seminar speaker has not stated theorem with 5 minutes remaining.
Geometer attends statistics talk.
Blackboard erasers disappear. Reappear after cleaning.
Colloquium speaker is a vegetarian.
Probabilist volunteers to teach analysis.

— Guest post

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Ornette Coleman, 1930–2015

OrnetteThe great alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman died on June 11. He had a uniquely emotional style, partly from his background in rhythm and blues, and partly from his willingness to play notes away from any fixed scale. His 1982 album Of Human Feelings is a rich combination of jazz and pop/funk. But the piece to remember him by has to be his magnificent 1959 dirge Lonely Woman.

Photo ©William Claxton.

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Algebraic Geometry 2015: schedule details


Timetables are now available for the afternoon invited talks at the AMS Summer Institute in Algebraic Geometry, taking place in Utah from July 12 to August 1.

The seminar I’m organizing is in Week 3: July 27–31. Speakers are:
Aravind Asok
Joseph Ayoub
Nicolas Bergeron
Patrick Brosnan
Aise Johan de Jong
Moritz Kerz
Bruno Klingler
Max Lieblich
Alena Pirutka
Shuji Saito
Stefan Schreieder
Zhiyu Tian

Photo from

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New paper: The integral cohomology of the Hilbert scheme of two points

IMG-20140924-00178I’ve posted a new paper on the arXiv. (I haven’t found an apt cat picture, so have just used a photo of Susie the cat, who supervised the writing of the paper closely.)

The Hilbert scheme X^{[a]} of points on a complex manifold X is a compactification of the configuration space of a-element subsets of X. The integral cohomology of X^{[a]} is more subtle than the rational cohomology. In this paper, we compute the mod 2 cohomology of X^{[2]} for any complex manifold X, and the integral cohomology of X^{[2]} when X has torsion-free cohomology.

The results of this paper are used in Voisin’s work on the universal CH_0 group of cubic hypersurfaces, because the crucial point there is to study the 2-torsion in the Chow group.

Photo: Susie the cat in Princeton.

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