3/29 – Filip Dul: The Poincaré Recurrence Theorem

Please join us this Wednesday, March 29, from 5-6 pm in LGRT 1528. We will hear from graduate student Filip Dul, who will speak about the Poincaré Recurrence Theorem. His abstract is below. Pizza and soda will be provided, as usual.

The Poincaré Recurrence Theorem

When air molecules are zooming around a room, can they all return to the locations they were in earlier? Can they all wind up in one corner of the room? In this talk we’ll learn about the Poincare Recurrence Theorem and its interesting implications for those two questions, which generated a big controversy in the late 19th century between physicists and mathematicians about the meaning of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

3/8 – Professor Tom Braden: Geometry of Machines

Wednesday, March 8th, 5-6pm in LGRT 1528 we hear from Professor Tom Braden about the “Geometry of machines”:

Configuration spaces are one way to construct very interesting geometric
spaces. A configuration space is a space whose points represent
possible states in a mechanism or other physical system. Navigating
along a path inside the space is then represented by a motion of the
mechanism. Some quite complicated and high dimensional spaces which
cannot be visualized directly can be explored very concretely in this way.

I will focus mainly on configuration spaces of planar bar-and-joint
machines, which are machines in the plane made from rigid bars, hinges,
and anchors. Amazingly, a theorem of Kapovich and Milson says roughly
that any manifold can appear as (part of) the configuration space of
such a machine.

As always, there will be pizza and soda!