**Abstract:** A long standing problem in geometry, conjectured by Yau in 1982, is that any any $3$-manifold admits an infinite number of distinct minimal surfaces. The analogous problem for geodesics on surfaces led to the discovery of deep interactions between dynamics, topology, and analysis. The last couple of years brought dramatic developments to Yau’s conjecture, which has now been settled due to the work of Marques-Neves and Song. In the first talk I will survey the history of the problem and the several contributions made. In the second talk I will talk about the Weyl law for the volume spectrum (Marques-Neves-Liokumovich) and how it can be used to prove denseness and equidistribution of minimal surfaces in the generic case (Irie-Marques-Neves and Marques-Neves-Song). In the third talk I will survey the recent breakthroughs due to Song, Zhou, and Mantoulidis-Chodosh.

Bio Note: André Neves is a leading figure in geometric analysis with important contributions ranging from the Yamabe problem to geometric flows. Jointly with Fernando Marques, he transformed the field by introducing new ideas and techniques that led to the solution of several open problems which were previously out of reach. Together or with coauthors, they solved the Willmore conjecture, the Freedman-He-Wang conjecture in knot theory and Yau’s conjecture on the existence of minimal surfaces in the generic case.

Neves received his PhD from Stanford University in 2005 under the supervision of Richard Schoen. He was a postdoctoral fellow and assistant professor at Princeton University, before joining the Imperial College of London in 2011, where he became a full professor. He joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 2016. Among his many awards and recognitions, Neves was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2012, the LMS Whitehead Prize in 2013, he was invited speaker at ICM in Seoul in 2014, received a New Horizons in Mathematics Prize in 2015, and the 2016 Oswald Veblen Prize in Geometry. In 2018, he received a Simons Investigator Award.