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 www.catster.com.

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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.

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Summer blockbuster: Manhole Cover!


Making last-minute preparations for my visit to Brazil, to give a short course on algebraic cycles and birational geometry, I decided to visit the US State Department website for any travel advisories. Almost everything there was as expected. Almost.

Visitors should also remain alert to the possibility of manhole cover explosions. There have been multiple manhole cover explosions in Rio de Janeiro in the past few years, with a higher incidence in the Centro and Copacabana neighborhoods.

On further investigation, I see that these menaces do their best to lure you in:

street-art-cookie street-art-watch

Take a tour from the safety of your home at 6EMEIA and oijozi.com.

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IAS Finale 14 April 2015 — UPDATE: Villani

cat-taxesTake a break from doing your taxes and attend the finale day of the yearlong program on the Topology of Algebraic Varieties at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). This is a joint event organized with the Princeton University Mathematics Department.

The schedule for the triple-header is:

12:00–1:15 Lunch, IAS
1:15–2:15 Alexander Kuznetsov, Moscow
2:30–3:30 Dan Abramovich, Brown
3:30–4:00 Tea
4:00–5:00 Robert Lazarsfeld, Stony Brook

Talks are in Simonyi 101 at IAS.

UPDATE: Then, at 5:30, Cedric Villani will give a public lecture in Wolfenson Hall.

Photo from reddit via fluffingtonpost

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A short film about mysterious difficulties

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