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Marden Lecture: The Mathematics of Déjà Vu

April 22, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm


The Marden Lecture brings a distinguished guest to campus each year. The lecture is for a general audience and advanced math knowledge is not required – it is designed to explore a fascinating aspect of math.

The lecture portion of the event is from 2 to 3 followed by a reception in EMS E495.

Professor Amie Wilkinson from the University of Chicago will address the mathematics of déjà vu. Dynamics is an area of mathematics concerned with the motion of spaces (“dynamical systems”) over time. Dynamics has its roots in the late nineteenth century, when it was developed as a tool to understand physical phenomena, such as the motion of gas molecules in a box and planets around the sun. A simple and yet powerful concept in dynamics is that of recurrence. In everyday language, recurrence is the mathematical version of déjà vu: a motion of a space is recurrent if, given enough time, it eventually returns to its original configuration (allowing for a small amount of error). In this talk, I will describe how mathematical results about recurrence can be used to answer surprisingly disparate questions, from the mixing and unmixing of two ideal gases in a box, to deep properties of the prime numbers, to the discovery of exoplanets in nearby solar systems.

The Marden Lecture honors Morris Marden (1905 – 1991), who founded UWM’s graduate math program and made the department a research department.



April 22, 2022
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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UWM Lubar Hall, Room N140
3202 N. Maryland Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53211 United States
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Mathematical Sciences Department
Miriam and Morris Marden Fund