Marker Lectures in the Mathematical Sciences set for Aug. 29 - Sept. 1

Manjul Bhargava, a professor of mathematics at Princeton University, will present the Russell Marker Lectures in the Mathematical Sciences from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, on Penn State's University Park campus. The lecture series includes a presentation intended for a general audience titled "Sums of Squares and the 290-Theorem," which will be held at 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 29.

Bhargava also will give three specialized lectures: "Gauss Composition and Generalizations" at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30; "Coregular Spaces and Algebraic Curves" at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31; and "The Average Rank of Elliptic Curves" at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1. The first lecture will be held in 100 Thomas Building and the following lectures will be held in 114 McAllister Building. The free public lectures are sponsored by the Penn State Eberly College of Science.

Bhargava's research interests include algebraic number theory, combinatorics and representation theory. His breakthrough doctoral thesis surprised the mathematical community by shedding entirely new light on a mathematical field known as quadratic-form theory -- a subject that begins with the work of Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1801. Bhargava's contribution is the discovery of new composition laws on mathematical concepts known as higher-degree forms. He has written about these results in a series of papers published in the prestigious journal Annals of Mathematics. Bhargava's approach overcomes very serious analytic obstacles that had completely blocked all previous work on this problem.

Bhargava has won numerous awards and honors, including a Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize; a Packard and a Clay Research Fellowship; a Clay Research Award; a Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology and Research Academy (SASTRA) Ramanujan Prize; a Leonard M. and Eleanor B. Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics; and a Cole Prize of the American Mathematical Society, which is awarded for "a notable research memoir in number theory." In addition, he has received the Derek Bok Award for Excellence in Teaching three times, and he was named one of Popular Science magazine's "Brilliant 10" in 2002. Bhargava also was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid in 2006.

Bhargava earned a bachelor's degree at Harvard University in 1996 and a doctoral degree at Princeton University in 2001. In 2003, he became a full professor at Princeton University. Before joining the faculty at Princeton, he held visiting positions at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, the Institute for Advanced Study, and Harvard University. In addition to being a mathematician, Manjul is an accomplished tabla player, having studied under virtuoso percussionist Zakir Hussain. He also studies Sanskrit, an ancient language of India.

The Marker Lectures were established in 1984 through a gift from Russell Earl Marker, professor emeritus of chemistry at Penn State, whose pioneering synthetic methods revolutionized the steroid-hormone industry and opened the door to the current era of hormone therapies, including the birth-control pill. The Marker endowment allows the Penn State Eberly College of Science to present annual Marker Lectures in astronomy and astrophysics, the chemical sciences, evolutionary biology, genetic engineering, the mathematical sciences and physics. For more information about the lectures, contact Kelli Wilkinson at 814-863-8730.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015