Department of


Seminar Calendar
for events the day of Monday, April 21, 2014.

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Questions regarding events or the calendar should be directed to Tori Corkery.
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Monday, April 21, 2014

12:00 pm in 280 MRL, 104 S. Goodwin,Monday, April 21, 2014

On Quantum Tunneling

Neil Turok (Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics)

Abstract: One of the most basic but intriguing properties of quantum systems is their ability to `tunnel' between configurations which are classically disconnected. That is, processes which are classically not just slow, but impossible, become allowed. In this talk I will outline a new, elementary approach which combines the semiclassical approximation with the concepts of post-selection and weak measurement, to obtain a real-time description within which sharp answers can be given to questions such as 'how long did the tunneling take' and 'where was the particle while it was tunneling?' Applications of this formalism span a vast range, from laboratory tests using quantum dots to understanding the Hawking process of black hole evaporation, to making sense of de Sitter spacetime and even the "inflationary multiverse." I will also comment briefly on the BICEP2 experiment's claimed detection of gravitational waves from inflation.

2:00 pm in 1005 Beckman Institute,Monday, April 21, 2014

Computational Connectomics: Mapping and Modeling Human Brain Networks

Olaf Sporns (Indiana University)

Abstract: Recent advances in network science have greatly increased our understanding of the structure and function of many networked systems, ranging from transportation networks, to social networks, the internet, ecosystems, and biochemical and gene transcription pathways. Network approaches are also increasingly applied to the brain, at several levels of scale from cells to entire nervous systems. Early studies in this emerging field of brain connectomics have focused on mapping brain network topology and identifying some of its characteristic features, including small world attributes, modularity and hubs. More recently, the emphasis has shifted towards linking brain network topology to brain dynamics, the patterns of functional interactions that emerge from spontaneous and evoked neuronal activity. I will give an overview of recent work characterizing the structure of complex brain networks, with particular emphasis on studies demonstrating how the network topology of the connectome constrains and shapes its capacity to process and integrate information.

3:00 pm in 341 Altgeld Hall (NOTE SPECIAL TIME AND PLACE),Monday, April 21, 2014

Cutting sequences on Bouw-Möller surfaces

Diana Davis (Northwestern)

Abstract: We will investigate a dynamical system that comes from geodesic trajectories on flat surfaces. We will start with known results for the square torus and the double pentagon surface, and then discuss new results for Bouw-Möller surfaces, made from many polygons.

3:00 pm in 145 Altgeld Hall,Monday, April 21, 2014

Lagrangian correspondences - a toric case study

Ana Cannas da Silva (ETH)

Abstract: What lagrangians in a symplectic reduced space admit a (one-to-one transverse) lifting to the original symplectic manifold? I will discuss this question (going back to work of Werheim and Woodward) through examples and counterexamples (joint work with Meike Akveld).

4:00 pm in Spurlock Museum,Monday, April 21, 2014

Expanding Opportunity in Africa: the Next Einstein Initiative

Neil Turok (Founder of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics)

Abstract: Neil Turok earned his PhD at Imperial College. After a postdoc in Santa Barbara, he was appointed Associate Scientist at Fermilab before moving to Princeton, where he became Professor of Physics in 1994. In 1997 he was appointed to the Chair of Mathematical Physics in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) at Cambridge. In October 2008, he moved to the Perimeter Institute as its new Director. He has made major contributions to cosmology, in particular to our understanding of the Big Bang and the very early universe. Born in South Africa in 1958, Neil left the country at a young age when his family was forced to flee as a result of his parents’ involvement in anti-apartheid politics. He founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), which opened in 2003, and launched its Next Einstein Initiative (NEI) in 2008. For his work in Africa and for his scientific contributions he received a 2008 TED Prize and a “Most InnovativePeople” award at the 2008 World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WSIE). Neil is a highly acclaimed expositor of science, with a recently published book on ``Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang’’ and a series of radio lectures (the 2012 Massey Lectures on the CBC). He is an inspirational speaker on the promise and challenges of Africa (see his 2008 TED prize talk at

5:00 pm in 241 Altgeld Hall,Monday, April 21, 2014

Applications of local reflexivity

Marius Junge (UIUC)

Abstract: We will solve a problem on conditional expectations