Cutting Edge Lecture in Science: Tunnels, bridges and scaffolds
By Jacques Hurtubise (Mathematics and Statistics Department, McGill).
One of the exciting aspects of mathematics is the occurrence of deep and surprising links between two seemingly unrelated areas. Sometimes, the link is such that one subject provides a way for showing that a result holds in another subject, providing a scaffold for the construction which one removes after it is done. Dr. Hurtubise will discuss this through two examples, one being the Weil conjectures, a dominant subject of 20th century mathematics, and the other being the recent proof of the Poincaré conjecture. The aim of the talk is to give some sense of what is surprising and exciting about these results; very little mathematical knowledge will be assumed, compensated by a small amount of hand-waving in its stead.
Jacques Hurtubise is a professor in the Mathematics and Statistics Department of McGill University, where he is currently the Chair. After completing his doctorate at Oxford University in 1982, he moved back to Montreal, teaching at UQAM for 6 years before moving to McGill. He was Director of the Centre de Recherches Mathématiques from 1999 to 2003, and served as McGill’s Vice-Principal Research, then as Deputy Provost in an interim capacity from 2004 to 2006. He has just finished a stint as the President of the Canadian Mathematical Society.