The Frank G. and Jean M. Chesley Lectureship: Lillian Pierce
Speaker: Lillian Pierce
Bio: Lillian Pierce is the Nicholas J. and Theresa M. Leonardy Professor of Mathematics at Duke University. Pierce began her study of mathematics as an undergraduate at Princeton. After studying in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, she returned to Princeton for her PhD, and then took up fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study, the University of Oxford, and the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics in Bonn. Her work has received a Sloan Research Fellowship, an AWM-Sadosky Prize, a Joan and Joseph Birman Fellowship, and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Pierce is currently a Bonn Research Chair, a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and has been named a 2023 Simons Fellow. With a team of editors, she has recently founded the journal Essential Number Theory, which aims to broaden the impact of important ideas by publishing exceptionally clear and useful expositions that will become go-to references for researchers.
Title: What we talk about when we talk about math
Abstract: In 1864, the mathematician J. J. Sylvester wrote: "May not Music be described as the Mathematics of the sense, Mathematics as Music of the reason?...Music the dream, Mathematics the working life.”
What does it feel like to do mathematics? Can we share the feeling of the dream rather than the working life?
In fact, the experience of doing mathematics probably feels different to each of us. Mathematics is famous for being abstract. Each of us develops a way to represent those abstractions in our own head. Can we describe what we are doing? Can we see some universal patterns in how we feel as we do mathematics? We will share a wide array of mathematical stories, to study what mathematics does for us, and what we do when we engage with it.
Sponsored by The Frank G. and Jean M. Chesley Lectureship.