Postgraduate Seminars Summer 2016

These seminars (unless otherwise stated) will take place on Thursdays at 5pm in Maths Room 500 on an (almost) weekly basis - see the link to the 'How To Find Us' webpage for further details. Talks are being given by 2nd and 3rd year Mathematics PhD students for PhD students. They are generally followed by tea and biscuits in the Mathematics Department Staff Room (Room 606, 25 Gordon Street) - see how to find us for further details.

28th April 2016

Speaker: Yupeng Jiang

Title: A Glance at Computational Finance

Financial mathematics is a subject on stochastic analysis, probability, statistics and computational methods. In this talk, I will focus on its computational methods, giving an outline of the computational finance techniques used in both academia and the industry. I will start from the standard PDE approach to the popular Monte Carlo method. The variance reduction techniques and least square Monte Carlo algorithm, which are both heavily used in banks, will also be discussed. At the same time, I will also give some current hot topics as examples, which may be useful for those who are interested in it.

5th May 2016

Speaker: Matthew Wright

Title: Do the laws of gravity need modifying?

In this talk, I will give a brief history of gravity, and discuss the recent gravitational wave discovery. Then I will discuss why we may need to move on from Einstein's general theory of relativity, and look at some of the possible alternatives.

12th May 2016

Speaker: Rudolf Kohulak

Title: Freeze-Drying, Stefan Problems and Level Set Methods

Freeze-drying is a process widely used in the pharmaceutical industry as a simple solution on how to reduce the water content of temperature sensitive materials and increase their stability and shelf life. However, at the moment freeze-drying remains the most expensive stage of pharmaceutical manufacturing, and hence further modelling is needed. To model the process we consider Stefan Problems. A Stefan Problem is a particular boundary value problem that arises in modelling heat transfer with phase change (water freezing, ice melting...). Hence the challenge is to capture the progression of the interface separating different phases of the material. We conclude the talk by considering different numerical methods for solving the model; in particular we focus on the level set method.

19th May 2016

Speaker: Hugo Castillo Sanchez

Title: A brief introduction to Transport Phenomena

Conservation laws are fundamental to our understanding of the physical world.  Each conservation law states that the total value of the quantity governed by that law, (e.g., energy) remains unchanged during physical processes. Although momentum, energy and mass transfer were developed independently as branches of classical physics long ago, Byron Bird (1960) unified their study through the publication of the textbook called Transport Phenomena, which gives an integrated view of the transport of three physical quantities (momentum, energy and mass). With many important daily-life applications, and in new areas such as biotechnology and polymer science, transport phenomena has found its place  as one of the fundamental engineering sciences. 

In this talk, I will mention some historical aspects about transport phenomena and explain basic concepts of the laws of conservation, but most importantly, I will focus on showing the mathematical similarity among the three transport processes (diffusion and governing equations, dimensionless numbers, etc). Time permitting, I will mention some daily-life applications.

26th May 2016

Speaker: Sam Brown

Title: Pringles, pretzels and robots

Negative curvature is a very common property of all sorts of things within maths, such as the three mathematical objects above. I will try to give an idea of where it comes up (for example in geometry, group theory and robotics) and why it is interesting.

2rd June 2016

Speaker: Davide Bella

Title: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Quantum Gravity

The XX century brought along two major scientific revolutions: quantum mechanics and general relativity. If we start with the assumptions that quantum mechanics and general relativity are both correct theories in their regimes, then we have necessarily to expect some sort of synthesis of the two theories: a quantum theory of gravity. How do we search for a quantum theory of gravity? Hopefully I will shed some light on the characteristics we expect such a theory to have.

9th June 2016 in Malet Place room 1.02

Speaker: Atheeta Ching

Title: Sex ratios and conflict

Haplodiploid insects are where males (haploids) hatch from unfertilised eggs and females (diploids) from fertilised eggs. In a colony, the majority of workers are female and these sisters are more related to each other than any other relative, even possible offspring! Thus, in agreement with Hamilton's rule, the workers sacrifice their fecundity to help raise new sisters produced be the Queen. However, such sacrifice does not go without its conflicts...

We'll also cover the origins of evolutionary game theory!!