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Public Lectures

The IMA Public Lectures are free and open to the public.

The IMA Public Lecture Series features distinguished mathematicians and scientists who illuminate the role of mathematics in understanding our world and shaping our lives. The purpose of these talks is to give the public a better understanding about how contemporary mathematical ideas are applied to important technological and scientific problems, conveying the significance and excitement of these applications. These engaging and informative lectures are designed for a broad audience, appropriate for middle-school students and older. This well-established series regularly draws diverse audiences of several hundred people.

  2013-2014 Public Lectures
Arnold Family Lecture - Mathematics in Modern Architecture
7:00 P.M., Tuesday, April 29, 2014
2-650 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St SE
East Bank, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Helmut Pottmann, Vienna University of Technology and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Many of today’s most striking buildings are nontraditional freeform shapes. While using current modeling tools to digitally design freeform geometry is well understood, fabrication on the architectural scale is a big challenge, providing a rich source of research topics in geometry and geometric computing. Pottmann will provide an overview of recent progress in the emerging field of architectural geometry, discuss its relation to contemporary research in geometry and computer graphics, and illustrate the shift of mathematical research into architectural practice. Helmut Pottmann is a professor of applied mathematics at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and a professor of geometry at Vienna University of Technology. His research interests are in applied geometry and visual computing with a recent focus on geometric computing for architecture and manufacturing.

Keeping Track of the Web
7:00 P.M., Wednesday, February 12, 2014
2-650 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St SE
East Bank, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Carrie Grimes, Google

The content of the internet has grown rapidly to fill many information niches and forms a critical—and entertaining—resource for the public. Unlike a library, however, there is no complete catalog of pages on the web and no central registry of updates. Pages on the web are born, updated, languish, and disappear independently. A web resource, such as a search engine that wants to capture a significant part of the web, has to keep up. In this lecture, Carrie Grimes will explore how to apply models developed for biological and physical systems to a new context in order to understand information creation and updates on the web.

The Evolution of Cooperation: Why We Need Each Other to Succeed
7:00 P.M., Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Coffman Theater (Coffman Union)
300 Washington Ave. SE
East Bank, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Lecture Video
Martin Nowak, Harvard University

During his upcoming Public Lecture, evolutionary biologist Martin Nowak, author of the best-selling book SuperCooperators, will share his cutting-edge research on the mysteries of cooperation. According to Nowak, many problems that challenge us today can be traced back to a tension between what is good and desirable for society as a whole and what is good and desirable for an individual. This conflict is illustrated by global problems such as climate change, pollution, hunger, and overpopulation. Nowak argues that cooperation—not competition—is the key to the evolution of complexity.

From Rubik to Escher to Security: Symmetry from Scratch
7:00 P.M., Thursday, September 19, 2013
2-650 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St SE
East Bank, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Lecture Video
Brian Conrad, Stanford University

Symmetry is evident in many forms from ancient architecture to classical art; however, not as obvious is the mathematical theory of symmetry behind modern applications, such as Rubik's Cube, the art of M.C. Escher, and the security of financial transactions on the Internet. These three topics are not as unrelated as they may initially seem to be. During the lecture, the mathematical ideas behind symmetry will be developed from scratch and illustrated with pictures and numerical examples.

  2012-2013 Public Lectures
  2011-2012 Public Lectures
  2010-2011 Public Lectures
  2009-2010 Public Lectures
  2008-2009 Public Lectures
  2007-2008 Public Lectures
  2006-2007 Public Lectures
  2005-2006 Public Lectures
  More Public Lectures
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