When numbers and groups meet

A new theme-based term is being offered at the EPFL Bernoulli Interfaculty Center. Its goal is to create links between number theorists and group theorists.

Instead of expensive machines, the department of mathematics has acquired a rather special “piece of equipment” – the Bernoulli Interfaculty Center (BIC). This infrastructure is a really valuable tool that will enable scientists from various backgrounds to work together for six months on a specific theme. On January 1, 2011, a new theme-based term, centered on number theory and group actions (GANT: Group Actions in Number Theory) will begin.

“The goal of this six-month long seminar will of course be to develop research and to study certain topics in depth, but also to encourage a sense of vocation in the students,” explains Philippe Michel, Professor at the EPFL Institute of Mathematics, and co-organizer, with Emmanuel Kowalski (ETHZ), of the GANT seminar. In fact, the workshops, lessons, presentations, courses, conferences, symposiums and other trainings are open to any interested parties who have registered their interest with the BIC.

The objective for the coming term is to create links between number theorists and group theorists. To reach their goal, Philippe Michel and Emmanuel Kowalski are taking no chances. No fewer than 60 people external to EPFL will be invited, among whom are famous names in the area of mathematics, such as Jean-Pierre Serre (youngest Fields medal-winner – aged 27, in 1954 – and winner of the Abel Prize in 2003) or Elon Lindenstrauss (Fields medal-winner in 2010).

The BIC offers a complete infrastructure for the running of these seminars, with meeting places, conference rooms and a back-office for managing the logistics. “We are looking to invite people from the whole world and to get them to work together”, concludes Philippe Michel. The BIC concept is not very prevalent throughout the world, with only a few universities making use of a similar tool. The center is financed by EPFL and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF).

Link : http://bernoulli.epfl.ch/

Author: Bastien Confino

Source: EPFL