Hopkins giving talk on invariants on Nov. 14

Mike Hopkins (courtesy photo)
Mike Hopkins (courtesy photo)

Mike Hopkins, Professor at Harvard University and Member of the National Academy of Sciences, will be giving a free, public talk on Thursday, Nov. 14, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Auditorium on UNL City Campus. Hopkins is a Visiting Research Professor in the UNL Department of Mathematics.

Hopkins’ presentation, "Mathematical Invariants: How to Know the Answer in Advance," discusses how an "invariant" of a system is a quantity, such as total energy, that does not change as the system evolves. The discovery and understanding of invariants is one of the engines that drives the development of mathematics. Hopkins will describe some simple mathematical invariants and the deep mathematics that has evolved from trying to understand them.

Live streaming video of the lecture will be available at: http://go.unl.edu/Hopkins.

Hopkins grew up in Omaha, and attended Westside High School. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1984 and also received his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. He has been professor of mathematics at Harvard University since 2005, after 15 years at MIT, a few years of teaching at Princeton University, a one-year position with the University of Chicago, and a visiting lecturer position at Lehigh University.

Recently, Mike Hill, Hopkins, and Doug Ravenel settled (nearly) all the remaining cases of the Kervaire invariant problem. Partly due to this role, Hopkins was awarded the National Academy of Sciences Award in Mathematics in 2012. He also was awarded the Oswald Veblen Prize in Geometry in 2001. Some of his major previous research accomplishments include proving the Ravenel Conjectures, along with collaborators Ethan Devinatz and Jeff Smith, and proving what is now called the Hopkins-Miller Theorem, with collaborator Haynes Miller.